One of the agents at the PNWA Conference declared that there were, effectively, only seven stories in the world, and what writers had to figure out was their particular twist on one of the seven. After giving this some thought, I would say there are probably more like five stories that we humans tell over and over.
Take, for instance, the story of the bereaved widow/er getting back into the swing of things. Months ago, my cousin pointed out that MBC's plotline sounded a lot like Lolly Winston's GOOD GRIEF. After some Amazon research, I discovered it really, really did. At the conference, one of the agents I pitched to also noted this and asked if I'd read it. Uh...nope.
Since I consider MOURNING BECOMES CASSANDRA a beach read, I decided to read GOOD GRIEF at the beach last week and discovered the following similarities:
1. Obviously, both have widows trying to figure out how to do life again.
2. Both have teenage kids that the widows mentor (!!!). Winston's is a 13-year-old with pyro and cutting tendencies.
3. Both have humorous parts and poignant parts (the latter going with widow territory). If I were a crier, I would have cried at parts in this book, but as it is I haven't cried since PEACE LIKE A RIVER or the end of GRAN TORINO.
4. Both mention Ashland and have a character who acts.
5. Both protagonists, at one point, make pies and celebrate Thanksgiving.
Of the list, I'd say only #2 caused me dismay. There were also many differences, the main ones being:
1. I didn't realize how "religious" my book was until I read one so similar with no religion. As with life, a little God changes everything.
2. Per #1, if you were irritated with my book for not having more sex, try GG. There isn't a ton and it isn't graphic, but it's there.
In any case, if you read MBC and now find yourself hooked on the widow genre, do give GG a go and tell me what you find. I see Kristen Billerbeck (Christian women's fiction author) has written one called BACK TO LIFE (THE TROPHY WIVES CLUB, BOOK 2). Anyone read it or another widow book you'd like to share?