As you probably know, the Willow Pattern (or Blue Willow) is a design for porcelain which was very popular in the 18th century in England. It was first designed by Thomas Minton and based on the type of patterns that were being imported from China at that time. In order to help market it, the factory producing the porcelain made up stories to go with the pattern. The one I like best is a very romantic (if somewhat tragic) one – that there was a rich Chinese nobleman whose daughter had fallen in love with a humble man of whom her father wouldn’t approve. When the father found out, he built a high fence around his house to separate the young couple and he planned to marry his daughter off to someone high-ranking instead. A wedding was scheduled for the day the blossom fell from the willow tree in the garden. But the night before, the daughter’s humble lover managed to sneak into the house and together they escaped. They lived happily on an island somewhere for years, but eventually the girl’s angry father found out where they were and sent men to kill them. The gods, however, felt sorry for the two lovers and turned them into a pair of doves so they could still be together. Great story, don’t you think? (There is a better version, complete with pictures, here -http://www.thepotteries.org/patterns/willow.html )
I have a passion for blue and white porcelain, so I have quite a lot with this pattern on it and I liked the fact that the two doves seemed to be really just a symbol for the lovers’ souls and that it meant they carried on being together for all time. In short, they were soul mates, a concept that naturally appeals to me as an author of romantic fiction. And I don’t know about you, but I would very much like to believe that our souls carry on living after we die. Not necessarily to go to heaven or Nirvana or wherever it is souls are meant to go, but just to continue to exist somewhere. Perhaps on some astral plane? Almost like when we save data on our computers and it disappears into a ‘cloud’ – we have no idea where that is, but it exists. So why shouldn’t souls do the same?
If they did carry on in some dimension, then it follows that maybe some of them could communicate with those who are still living. Perhaps if they had enough of a reason for doing so, a clear purpose from which they couldn’t or wouldn’t diverge. That was how I saw the soul of Jago Kerswell in my time slip story The Secret Kiss of Darkness.
He has unfinished business, so he can’t move on. But being nothing but a spirit (or whatever you want to call someone’s soul/essence), he obviously can’t do anything himself. He has no substance, no body to carry out his wishes. He needs an accomplice. Who better than a susceptible female? That’s where my heroine Kayla comes into the picture – or rather, she buys one, literally. A painting that is, of Jago. And that act of madness (which is how she sees it afterwards) totally disrupts her well-ordered life. Because Jago needs her help and Kayla reluctantly agrees, which sets her off on an adventure of her own.
Do you believe in soul mates being together for eternity? I’d love to know!
Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?
Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.
Jago Kerswell, inn-keeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.
Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a gypsy’s spell. Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.
Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?
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