Twisted Knickers Publications, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-9822145-0-3
Contemporary Fiction, 2006
The Kissing Room is a beautifully written story that is both an unexpected love story and a character study. We have Merle, our heroine, trying to move on with life after her husband Jonathan commits suicide. This story weaves to and fro from present to past and back again as Merle thinks of her life with Jonathan as well as her thoughts on her present. There are more to say about the plot, of course, but this is one of those stories that is best appreciated when the reader knows as little as possible about the story beforehand.
The only downside to this story is how short it is. As a result, this one feels more like a delicious appetizer that has me wanting more only to realize that this small helping is the only one I will ever get. I can’t help feeling… disappointed in some way. But still, reading this story is like a revelation as I have never read anything by Cheryl Anne Gardner before but now I want the T-shirt, so to speak. It is really a delight to read and reread this story because of Ms Gardner’s graceful prose and elegant character study. She manages to make grief come off as so lyrical without coming off as too pretentious.
I can’t say I am fond of the use of caps or fancy fonts to drive home a point because all that feel a little pretentious, if not unnecessarily indiscreet. It is as if the author doesn’t trust me to get the nuances of her story and therefore feels this need to use caps or fancy fonts.
Still, The Kissing Room is a most enchanting introduction to this author’s works.