By: Nadine C. Keels
There can be little doubt that the majority of people have experienced the many ups and downs of falling in love. It can be glorious one minute and utterly horrible the next. The joy of finally finding that elusive “soul-mate”, only to be unexpectedly and unceremoniously dumped out of the blue! In truth, there are simply no guarantees when it comes to love and finding that perfect relationship. It can be disheartening, and at times you may wonder if you should even bother with such an unpredictable and potentially heart-breaking business in the first place. If any of this seems remotely familiar, then The “She” Stands Alone by Nadine C. Keels may be the romance story you have been seeking. It is a tale which can bring hope and perspective back to the act of falling in love.
Essentially, The “She” Stands Alone is a short novelette which explores the main character’s (Sheridan Jones), romantic struggles after being rejected by her college sweetheart. Disillusioned with love she decides to date the one person she can love and trust…herself! She proceeds to take herself out for fancy dinners and even goes on a roller skating date with herself. However, everything does not seem quite right. Something is missing. Could it be her friendly neighbor, Eugene the mailman? For some reason he has shown an increasing interest in Sheridan lately and despite her unenthusiastic response, persists in pursuing her. After Sheridan delivers a rather abrasive rejection, Eugene proceeds to make himself scarce. Mission accomplished! Or is it? Much to her chagrin, Sheridan actually begins to miss her pesky neighbor. Will she actually finally find true love? Or perhaps it was there all along when she looked in the mirror?
While the story length is quite short, the author manages to very capably deliver her theme to the reading audience. The need to be comfortable in your own skin before you can truly develop a meaningful relationship comes through loud and clear. This theme is aptly supported as we travel with Sheridan through her journey which begins with her being dumped and ends with self-discovery. A lot to accomplish in such a short tale! However, the author makes it quite believable and engaging with her first-person perspective. By having full access to Sheridan’s thoughts and feelings we are able to accompany her on this often awkward and befuddling journey. At times it feels as if we are right there with her. The smooth flow of Nadine Keel’s writing is the key contributor to the success of the plot. The actual sentences can be a tad long in parts, but the flow of ideas and events is seamless.
In regards to character development, Sheridan and Eugene were the only real characters. I found Sheridan developed quite fully throughout the course of the story. She starts off as quite unsure of herself but ends up finding her way in a process of self-discovery. That is great growth in such a short tale. Eugene on the other hand is not developed in very depth. Nevertheless, his role in supporting the main character and her ongoing evolution is obvious and pivotal. I did find both to be very interesting characters who were easy to identify and empathize with.
Overall, this is a short and sweet romance novelette. There are no sexual scenes or explicit language. As such, it would be suitable for virtually any audience. A perfect tale for anyone looking for a quick and pleasant romantic tale.
3.5 out of 5 Tender Stars for this one! *****