Crossed Wires

I love telling the story of how my husband and I met.  And I always enjoy hearing stories of the way other lovers paths have crossed, bringing them together in the cosmic order of things.  The old story about split-aparts comes to mind – that each of us has a perfect “other half” waiting somewhere for us.  When circumstances collide to bring the two halves together, the resulting relationship is quite miraculous.

crossedwiresRosy Thornton’s new novel, Crossed Wires, is about people finding each other in all sorts of ways.  First, there’s Dr. Peter Kendrick, widower, and Fellow in Geography at Girton College, Cambridge.  A minor traffic accident leads him to contact his auto insurer’s call center, where one Mina Heppenstall, a single mother, answers his call.   During this brief conversation, that magical spark of interest is ignited ~ perhaps it was Peter’s hesitant embarrassment in describing his accident, or Mina’s “great Yorkshire accent” ~ whatever the reason, the two them are drawn toward each other.  And so the courtship dance begins, a dance which in this case involves a long series of Sunday night telephone conversations as the two come to learn more about each other “across the wires.”

The novel stands as a delightful love story, but also a story about families and friendships and the way they strengthen our lives.  Peter’s 10 year old twins, and Mina’s 11 year old daughter have distinct personalities of their own, weaving another level of relationship issues into the fabric of the story.  Mina’s younger sister Jess, estranged from their mother, is desperately seeking a sense of security and family relationship.  Peter’s friends, Jeremy and Martin, have a closeness in their relationship which Peter poignantly yearns to experience.  Thornton masterfully draws the strings of these relationships together in a tight circle of friendship and love.

Thornton has a way of creating characters with whom the reader instantly cares for and feels familiar.  Her novel Hearts and Minds (which was on my list of top 10 reads for 2008 ) catapulted me directly into ~ well, into the “hearts and minds” of  Dr. Martha Pearce and her family.  These are the kinds of novels I’ve always loved best.  Perhaps because I’m an only child (a “once-ler” as Peter’s twins would say), I enjoy having these vicarious friends and family (albeit fictional!) to fill out my social circle.

The jacket blurb describes Crossed Wires as an “old-fashioned fairy tale…about the things that separate us and the things that bring us together.”   It’s a novel that gives one faith in the power of  relationships, and the special attractions that draw us to one another, no matter what our age or stage of life.

Once again I’m certainly glad  to have crossed paths with Rosy Thornton and her latest group of characters. 

Oh…and I must tell you the story of how I met my beloved.  You see, we were just shy teenagers at the time, both of us studying piano with the same teacher, and each secretly confiding to her our attraction for the other.  Tender hearted soul that she was, she decided to pair us up as duet partners for the spring recital.  Of course, this necessitated much late night practicing in her studio after all the other lessons were finished.

And so we fell in love over Schumann and Mendelssohn and became duet partners for life. 

How’s that for a fairy tale? 

Now tell me, how did you meet your best beloved?  Would your tale of love make a good novel? 

15 thoughts on “Crossed Wires

  1. I still need to read Hearts and Minds and now she has another? I’ll add this to my list…

    The story of how I met my split-apart-back-together-again is fun for me to tell but not all that unusual. We had a class together, I needed help with an assignment and he seemed to know exactly what the instructor (Dean of our Dept!) wanted; but we had a HORRIBLE first date. So he asked me out again just to find out if we could try to be at least friends since we still had the rest of the semester to see each other and wa la! Engaged 8 weeks later.

  2. Your love story is so heartwarming.. it’s almost like it was plucked out of a novel. 🙂

    It’s a bit complicated how my husband and I met but it was through a common friend who set us up on a blind date (which we both didn’t agree to, but she forced us). She did it because I was depressed over a breakup with my ex and wanted to cheer me up with a “good” boy. It turned out he had been asking another friend of mine about me but I didn’t know it, and that he was planning to introduce himself to me but had never found the courage to do so yet. So was he ever surprised when I turned out to be his date. After that he never left my side. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit we met on a blind date, but yeah, that’s how it happened. Sshh. 🙂

  3. That’s so sweet! What a wonderful piano teacher!

    My husband and I spent time together when we were toddlers and our parents played in the same church basketball league. Then we went to school together from the 4th grade up through high school, and didn’t have a single conversation until the end of our senior year. He was teaching me how to improve my long jump (I joined track because of the cute boys). Then I saw him again after graduation on the day we picked up our yearbooks. A lifetime in the same community, nine years at the same schools and we only had two conversations in that whole time.

    We went to the same college, and he called all of the kids at the college from our hometown to chat that first week of school. I was the only one who called him back. Again and again. Soon we were chatting on the phone at the end of every day, and then we were eating all of our meals together. He became my best friend, but nothing more because I had a boyfried at another college. Then I broke up with the boyfriend and started another long distance relationship. I’m still amazed that he waited through two boyfriends (and my endless chatter about said boyfriends).

    One day I was walking across campus and stopped dead in my tracks realizing that I loved him, and I was pretty sure he felt the same way. I talked it over with him and broke up with my boyfriend that night.

    Then we just had to tell our parents. They all knew I was dating someone else, so it was an awkward call. Especially to my dad who had the previous week told me not to date my future husband. Evidently he could see it coming and didn’t want me to break his heart. My dad knew my track record with guys, and also knew that my husband was a great guy. (This is my attempt to say my dad thought my husband was too good for me.)

    Funny though, it’s the only time my dad ever tried to meddle in my love life and I wonder in retrospect if he knew I would do exactly what he told me not to do.

    Ok, I didn’t mean to write a book here. 🙂 My husband and I got married in our third year of college, and this year we will celebrate our 12th anniversary.

  4. I loved this book too, so I’m delighted you also enjoyed it, iliana. Lovely story about how you met your husband – terribly romantic. I met mine in college – he is 6’4″ and blonde and I could spot him in a crowd, even when I wasn’t wearing my glasses (and I often wasn’t wearning them in social situations). That’s what got us started.

  5. My husband and I met by a series of very happy coincidences. In the summer of 2001, I went to a weekend orientation session at my college (Loyola University Chicago) and really hit it off with a guy in my group. We stayed up late talking about philosophy and books (we were so deep, you know) and life, and I could tell he liked me. Trouble was, I had a boyfriend. A long-term boyfriend. A boyfriend who went to another college in the Chicago area and was excited to have me nearby….but things had been going stale for months, and I was waiting to get away to college to break up with him. Anyway….

    Orientation Boy and I kept in touch for the next month or so of summer and had a few long phone conversations. A few days after we moved into our dorms but before classes had begun, he invited me over to his dorm to watch a movie. He chose It’s A Wonderful Life (in the middle of August!), and we had to watch sitting on his bed b/c the room was so small (clever, right?) I could tell he still liked me, but something wasn’t quite right. He was dark and brooding, and while there was something attractive about that, I wasn’t ready to jump in.

    A couple days later, as my roommate and I continued unpacking and decorating our room, we got into a random conversation about young people who have old people names. A large part of this conversation hinged on things like, “Have you ever met a little boy named Bob? That’s such an old guy name.”

    Later that afternoon, Orientation Boy called and said that he was coming over to our dorm building (his was across campus) and that he was bringing some friends with him. You see, he was from St. Louis, and just about everyone from St. Louis who doesn’t stay in St. Louis for college goes to Chicago. So, he arrives in our room a few minutes later with two boys in tow, and I noticed that one of them was really cute.

    “This is my friend Bob,” he says….and I turn to my roommate and yell “We have a Bob!” And yes, he’s always gone by Bob, even when he was a toddler. So now he’s cute and he has a funny name, and I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy. That night, Orientation Boy invited me to accompany him and Bob to a party, where we ended up dancing and talking, but nothing happened.

    The next day, Orientation Boy leaves a message on my answering machine saying that he heard from another friend that Bob and I were “a thing.” Well, of course, we weren’t a thing yet—we barely knew each other—but this was funny. So I call Bob and tell him “hey, did you know that we’re a thing?”

    After a couple more nights of hanging around with our friends, I was figuring out that I thought this Bob guy was pretty hot, and if I was going to dump my boyfriend, it would be nice to have a fun fling lined up. And that’s what I intended for it to be.

    I saw something in the paper about how they show old movies on a big screen in Grant Park (like that scene in The Wedding Planner), and it just so happened that the film for the upcoming week was “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Thinking I was being really cute and clever, I invited Bob to come with me…but just as friends, since, of course, I still had that boyfriend.

    That night, we shared a picnic blanket and I hoped for two solid hours that he’d hold my hand or give me some sign….but, nothing. (turns out he’s kind of shy). We stopped at Buckingham Fountain and let a guy take a picture of us in our “stolen moment” (his words), for which we paid $7, and on the walk back to the L, I held his hand.

    The next night, August 28, 2001, we had our first kiss. A few months later, we admitted it was more than a fling, and the rest is history. We got married January 5, 2008, with Orientation Boy present to celebrate his bringing us together, and our “stolen moment” photo sits next to a wedding picture in our bedroom.

  6. I love hearing people’s ‘get together’ stories, as well. My husband and I met at church when I was 16 and he was 19. The first night he saw me (I hadn’t met him, yet), he told several people that he would marry me one day. Needless to say, this freaked me out just a bit. However, after four years of friendship only (on my part), he left to go to the Marine Corps. Before he left, he asked me one last time if there was ever any chance of us getting together, and I said no. At the time, I really thought I meant it. But, after just a month of him being gone, I was miserable and knew that I did indeed love him. He came home from boot camp on Jan. 26 (1987) and we were engaged just a couple weeks later on Feb. 13th. We married on May 23 and are living happily ever after.

  7. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories! It’s obviously something we all love to talk about, isn’t it? And sometimes, particularly after you’ve been together for years and years, it’s good to think back to those early, early days, and all the fun and excitement of finding that special someone.

  8. Thanks so much for reading the book, Becca, and for your kind words.

    My partner and I got together during one of the big CND demonstrations which were held annually in London in the early 1980s – October 22 1983. (Twenty-five years – eek!) We have the poster advertising the demo framed above our bed: an aerial photo of a mass crowd of demonstrators and the words ‘OCT 22 – WHERE WILL YOU BE?’ It always feels in retrospect as if the caption was meant especially for us.

  9. So exciting to hear about Rosy’s new book! I’m definitely adding that one to my TBR list – it sounds delightful.

    Love reading “how you met” stories. That is so sweet that you and your husband met over classical music.

    My husband and I were pen pals. We corresponded for a few years and were just friends. But things sort of changed to say the least when we met up in person. Then we started a long distance love affair (5,000 miles separated us) and after two years of that we got married!

    I think some people were probably skeptical that it would work out but we knew it would and so here we are 7 years and counting of married bliss.

  10. The day after Valentine’s Day I was supposed to go to the movies with a friend after work but my friend cancelled at the last minute. When I complained about it my manager said he’d take me instead. We saw a horrible movie (I won’t mention the title) that he’d already seen the night before with an ex-girlfriend. They had gone out to see if there was any spark left. There wasn’t with her but there was with me. We’ve now been married for 15 years.

    Yours is a sweet story. So romantic to get together over a piano duet. Do you two still play?

  11. The book sounds great, and I love the sweet story you share with your husband! The “romantic” tale of how I met my boyfriend isn’t quite so enthralling — we worked together! — but it makes me feel happy, just the same. 🙂 We met in the late summer of 2006 and have been (mostly) inseparable since.

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