Peeking Through Wooden Blinds by Jane Reinhart
Paige Henderson and Joey Novak are planning their wedding. But a devastating and mysterious phone call leads Paige onto a path of self-destruction and into the arms of the wrong man. Her ensuing marriage to Nick Bruska becomes a nightmare and she struggles to regain self-worth. Joey has never forgotten Paige. Will he ever see her again? Only then could they discover the terrible mistake that changed the course of their lives.
The invitation list included Bob and Maura, a couple who also grew up with Nick. While Paige was mingling with guests in the living room, Nick and Maura were in the basement playroom watching television. Bob walked downstairs to inform his wife it was time to go. All of a sudden, the irate husband came storming upstairs to confront Paige.
“Do you know what your husband is doing?” Bob screamed. Paige was dazed and uncertain. “He is lying on the couch with my wife, and he has his arms wrapped around her!” While Paige was trying to create a suitable excuse for Nick’s behavior, Maura ran upstairs to explain her innocence. After a brief scolding from her husband, she directed her comments to Paige.
“Don’t listen to Bob,” Maura said. “He has a bad temper. You know Nick and I have been close for a long time, and he wasn’t doing anything wrong.” Bob and Maura left while the other guests were still trying to close their mouths. Paige knew Maura spoke the truth. Nick took all aspects of his personality to the limit, especially his affectionate nature, but she gave him an impending warning.
“NIck,” she started, “one day your over-friendless is going to get you into a lot of trouble.” Nick agreed, but didn’t absorb her warning. Insisting that it was “nice to be nice,” the sociable husband assured his wife that he knew where to draw the line. For instance, Nick confessed that, once, when a young woman offered him her phone number after an evening of pinball challenge, he declined and told the girl he was married. With a gallant air, he shared the story now to prove his fidelity. Paige reminded him that if he spent hours cavorting with female competitors, he was already straddling the fence. Furthermore, she argued that women on the prowl always checked a man’s hand to see if he was sporting a wedding ring. That was something Nick refused to do; explaining that, since he was a tradesman, wearing one presented the dangerous risk of getting the ring caught in machinery. He added that when he retired, he would wear the band of gold with pride. Trust regained its stronghold, and another obvious wave of the red flag was ignored.
Jane did a great job of taking a serious issue and condensing it down for a short story. I tend to go for longer novels because I like the time it gives me to learn about the characters in the book and begin to care about them. Character development is very important to me when I am reading a book. Short stories don’t usually give me that opportunity so I tend to shy away from them but this author truly amazed me at how she was able to develop them in such a short amount of time. Jane did a great job writing about the topic of lost love and showing us how the main character tries to learn how to settle for the hand she was dealt. I really only have one complaint about this story, I wished it would have been longer because I have a feeling Jane could have really created a wonderful novel out of this story.
As for the story itself it was a good plot, the characters were developed to the point you could invest a piece of yourself in them. You wanted them to find their happiness and for some to reap their consequences for poor choices and actions. The story flowed well and kept my attention. Jane was able to create the atmosphere of sitting at a breakfast table with a close friend, allowing her to share the lessons she had learned in life. The feeling of passing well guarded knowledge on to another. It wasn’t intense, nor was there a roller coaster feel but Jane did welcome the reader and I felt like I could find my place in the story and relate to the characters.
I won’t say this was an easy summer beach read, but it is a worthwhile read and it was interesting. To see how choices made in youth affect you years later is something we all need to be aware of. The way she presented the events made it clear that we should be able to take something from this and use in our own lives, such as to follow your heart and not jump to assumptions regarding those you love. I did enjoy her story and her writing style. I think the thing that sticks with me most after reading her work is I felt like I had come home again. She spun a safe place for us readers to fall while showing us the reality of poor choices. She created an atmosphere that was safe for us to make mistakes and learn at the same time. I am amazed at the magic she created in such a few amount of pages. I hope to see more of her work in novels in the future.
Jane Reinhart, author and poet, resides in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and cooking.