♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
It’s your book. The next 5 seconds are the most important. What happens?
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
I’d have to engage this from the standpoint of the screen adaptations of my books. 5 seconds in a book is but a few words. Whereas, in a book 5 seconds can offer up a bevy of happenings. Time is such a funny thing. Let’s have a gander. Roll the dice, which book are we in?
My daughter picked Blue Honor. So, I hope you’re on the same page…
5 seconds in Blue Honor could be the difference between alive and dead. This historical novel deals with the very precarious life of a federal cavalry soldier during the US Civil War. 5 seconds in war changes lives–forever. It’s ironic in the light of the main protagonist, a dairy farm heiress, who feels that her life drags on and on painfully slow and in only one direction. She’s bored out of her mind to the point of despair. How many of us have been there? As the book goes on, Emily’s life changes within moments due to a barn fire. The painful dragging of time becomes agonizing for other reasons thereafter.
Having met and come to an attachment with a young army man, Emily spends the years of the war counting every second, not knowing what has become of her beloved. In the exchange of letters, through the newspapers her father reads, and rare events where they meet again–she tracks every second no longer bored, but terrorized by possibility. It is true that possibility terrorized her prior to the fire, but the idea of being married to a man she thought of more as a brother than a lover is far more tame than the death of all that could be.
Emily, likewise, is facing the reality of her privilege through the eyes of her friend Henrietta, an escaped slave. The counting of time in this case offers Emily a sense of security. The further the years run, the less likely anyone is to come for Hettie. Yet, there is the knowledge that those years could make insurmountable distance between her friend’s family and a safer future in Vermont. Both women assume that family is still enslaved on the farm in Mississippi that Hettie escaped, but Hettie also is aware of the violence that the slavers can act upon their prisoners. Her escape would have undeniably angered the slavers. Hettie bears the marks in her skin from the proof. 5 seconds is not nearly enough time to find safety and be sure of your allies.
Emily’s vantage, as a young white woman doesn’t give her the vantage to clearly understand these matters. Hettie fears making it clear to her, lest there be retaliation from the girl’s parents. Although they have been loving and provided as much as they know to provide in the way of care, healing, and space, they’re still white, and they could turn on a dime. Emily remains oblivious to these differences, creating tensions that could erupt in seconds, turning Hettie’s world upside down again.
Emily’s brother, who serves in the military at this time, is under the careful watch of the man that Emily loves and her dear friend. These men, Joseph and Evan respectively, do all that they can to make sure that her brother Michael is as safe as they can make him. But, Michael is as headstrong as his sister, if not more so. Their privilege and innocence has somehow created a sense of invincibility that endangers them. In 5 seconds, Michael could make a decision that not only bears him to the grave, but gouges a rift between his sister and those she loves.
In the heat of battle, the men could make the fateful decision to lean left or right into the path of an oncoming round. They could be charging too fast or too slow through a hail of bullets. Should their mounts be seconds too fast they could land right in the path of a cannon ball. The choices to hesitate or hasten meaning your life sounds all too stressful, to be honest. We get a glimpse into that with the pandemic: should I stay or go? Sending your child to daycare or keeping them home. Masking but applying the mask after passing by someone who might be infected. To vaccinate or not…
There are hundreds of thousands of individuals who die in war as well as pandemics, not to place blame upon their shoulders, but due to the roll of the dice in something as simple as looking out from behind cover at the wrong second. Everyday, you might say, there are folks making such choices, but those choices aren’t exponentially raised to dire consequences such as what war and rampant disease pose. It’s disingenuous to equate unequal matters.
Then, of course, there is the fact that our choices ripple outward to affect others, taking choice from them. And, then that becomes our karmic debt. Imagine being those cavalry men, and calling the charge–you’ve just asked a squads of your soldiers to follow you into the fray. A good number will not return. That weight must have been quite heavy to bear. War is suffering for so many reasons. 5 seconds could add so much to an already overburdened plate, or it could serve a final meal.
I do not envy military personnel, past or present. Their jobs are difficult and they carry terrible burdens. My dad was drafted during Vietnam, and I am forever grateful that he did not see the fields overseas. However, many of my uncles and my godfather did. I am proud of them (as they were really and truly good and great men), and thankful–grateful for their sacrifice. I don’t have to agree with the conflicts in which they served. Warriors will probably always have my heart. Somehow, I understand what it is that they give up in adhering to duty.
5 seconds is enough time to change your timeline forever, ask Maiel from Trailokya–speaking of warriors.
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Stevie Turner says
5 seconds can indeed be the difference between life and death. It is in my latest WIP, as I’ve read so many times to start a novel with a hook straight away.