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Sunday, March 06, 2005

cover of Promised Land

Promised Land is a variation on the standard plot of two people being forced to marry for some reason, and then gradually falling in love afterwards (usually because the man's unswerving and abiding love eventually wins the woman over). Just recently I've seen this plot in the TV movie "The Magic of Ordinary Days" and also in "Love Comes Softly" (based on Jeanette Oke's book of the same title). There are some fun quirks to Willis' and Felice's version of this familiar story, but I wonder if there is a draw to this basic plot itself? My pastor, in a recent series on love, claimed that none of us is capable of loving perfectly and unconditionally-- but in spite of our inability to love, we still all want to be loved perfectly, and we recognize real love when we see it. My suspicion is that this is the reason we are drawn to this familiar plot-- because, as unrealistic as it is, this story presents something that may be as close as humanly possible to the kind of love that all of us are longing for.

Despite the fact that the main plot of this book is familiar and predictable, I still enjoy it quite a bit-- as evidenced by the fact that I've read it three times now. It is a quick read, easy to breeze through and enjoy. The promised land of the title is a lanzye, or farm, named Millesflores on the colony planet Keramos, and this setting allows for some exotic scenery and fanciful creatures. In this case, the marriage is caused by planet laws relating to inheritance, and designed to keep lanzye's from being split up. The off-planet educated Delanna comes back to the back-water planet her mother hated and did her best to get her daughter away from-- and (of course) Delanna comes to see the beauty of the land and the people on this undeveloped planet. There are some points where the character development or dialogue isn't quite believable (including a line at the very end of the book-- it seems a detail the characters would be unlikely to forget). This is a bit disappointing (at times I found myself wondering which parts were written by which author-- I mean no offence to Felice, but I'm unfamiliar with her work and know a bit of Willis' brilliance); I suppose, as a reader, you put up with these inconsistencies because you know where the story is heading.

Title:Promised Land
Author:Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice
Date published:1997
Genre:Science Fiction
Number of pages:368
Notes:Third reading


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