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8. One of a Kind Story? Not Quite…

Let's pause to analyze for a moment, before pulling the lanyard on the cannon—before we reveal what's hidden beneath the sweet, light surface.

This is a very special story, and unique—we have not been able to find another one like it on the market. Even though its plot may seem simple, it is a unique and ground-breaking story in the context of our times. This is why we feel it has the potential for a smash hit. Proof will be in the reading, and more so in the word of mouth that we hope will send it viral. It is one of the oldest and most powerful stories on earth, as simple as it is gripping. The author interviewed women readers and store clerks, and listened to the strong preference of a majority of them for stories that get radically depart from what is currently offered. They voiced a desire for escape, feeling good after a hard day—engaging, suspenseful, yet leaving a clean, fulfilled taste to linger in memory. Many of them voiced a distaste for the vulgarity, cardboard character types, and cheap gimmicks in many current popular stories. They wanted escape and entertainment, but not at the price of losing solid characterization, believable plots, and—yes, this too—good taste rather than vulgarity in theme and language. <u>Stop By is the story that congealed in the author's deeply felt and carefully structured response. The points it makes are subtle and elegant, almost easy to miss, until we really think about them.

Where would we place this story among the best and most powerful of recent—or not so recent—romantic, sentimental tales? The answer, in my opinion, will surprise you.

It's a true love story, but not tragic as in <u>Romeo and Juliet or Erich Segal's 1974 <u>Love Story (or, for that matter, its knockoff with Richard Gere and Winona Ryder, Joan Chen's 2000 <u>Autumn in New York). The heroes each live happily ever after together, like Sleeping Beauty and her Shining Knight. There is not a tawdry, extra-marital affair as in <u>Bridges of Madison County, but there is no preaching, no smugness, nor prudishness. This is purely a secular story, without any faith-based prudery or smugness. The emotional roller coaster is mature, powerful, and true to life, and readers will identify with it.