Everyone has their favorite books, right, those books that make it to the vaunted keeper shelf, those books that make you smile every time you crack the cover to sit with a beloved friend. Those books are special to us in ways that non readers cannot understand.
But for me as a writer and a reader, there are often scenes that stick with me for some reason or another, haunting me and recurring for random, unknown reasons. These scenes are often something deeply emotional and powerful for me and are very often in my keeper books, but sometimes, they’re not. Usually if a scene sticks with me, the book finds its way to my keeper shelf, if only to give me the ability to reread that moment, to capture that emotional punch once more.
There’s a scene in Kresley Cole’s Dark Desires After Dusk where Cade views Holly and sees her frantically arranging her medication. The heart of the scene for me was when he thinks of her with such a vulnerability in her need. He saw what some could say is a weakness and found it endearing, touching and it made him see her in a new light.
In Laura Griffin’s Whisper of Warning, at the end of the book when Courtney has to decide to trust Will enough to let him love her and she jumps into his arms. It sounds like something corney but in reality, Laura pulls off the most beautiful ending I think I’ve ever read. Courtney having to make the choice at that moment, with no time to think or to weigh the consequences. In the end, she has to trust and for that character, it was a major moment. It sticks with me because the reader finds herself rooting for Courtney when in real life, they would probably be running away from her.
In Laura Kinsale’s Seize the Fire, at the end of the book when Sheridan finds Olympia after she has finally had the revolution she seeks. Sheridan’s admission to Olympia about what he faced and how he can’t think of getting through the days without her moved me to tears the first time I read it and every time after that. Sheridan is such a complex character that when he finally admits to Olympia that he needs her because she needed him, just him and not the hero, its him laying his heart out and hoping she’ll pick it up.
Roxanne St Claire’s Edge of Sight was an incredibly moving book for me because she took a physically and emotionally scarred man and made him whole. There was no miracle cure for his wounds, no stunning reveal that makes everything all right. But one night, Zach simply rested his wounded face against Sam’s hair and it cooled the burn. The scene was so beautiful in its simplicity and moved me to tears.
There’s a line in Skyler White‘s and Falling, Fly right at the beginning where Olivia says “Desire is an angel in Hell”. That single line has stuck with me since the moment I first read it and and Falling, Fly is one of the most challenging, most thought provoking books I’ve read recently. Olivia and Dominic’s sojourn in the Hotel of the Damned is one fascinating ride and I see knew things each time I’ve read it.
There are many more scenes out there that stick with me for some reason or another. Maybe they make me laugh, like Sarah Wendell’s comment in Beyond Heaving Bosoms about paranormal romances werewolf heros making shoulder hair an acceptable fashion statement or when in Julie Kenner’s demon hunting soccer mom series when, Kate is ready to kill over a bunny costume which had me in hysterics while I was deployed to Iraq or they’re something touching like some of the scenes mentioned above.
But these scenes or moments or beats in books stick with me. And when I’m looking to nail the landing, so to speak, these are the scenes I go back to, looking at what went right that caused them to stick in my mind.
So readers, what are the scenes that stick with you? And writers, what scenes resonate with you so strongly that you keep the book on your shelf, the page dog eared?