Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Christina Hollis: Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is traditionally supposed to be the day that birds choose their mates and begin building their nests. Our local birds are always well ahead of the game. Famously furious robins have started encroaching on each other’s territory in search of love, while dunnocks are flirting  shamelessly with each other. The dawn chorus is beginning to gain strength, with the local thrushes starting to sing before daybreak and continuing until the light fades in late afternoon. 
Did you get any Valentine cards today? If not, remember that this was the original Hallmark holiday—an excuse for big businesses to get richer still. The words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson; “Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” are as true today as they were when he wrote them in the Victorian era.  
Sometimes, Valentine’s Cards cause more trouble than happiness. I really envied a girl at school who showed off sheaves of Valentine’s Cards each year. Years later, I found out she was so desperate to be seen as popular, she’d sent them to herself. 
 First prize for the worst idea in the history of Valentine’s Day has to go to Bathsheba Everdene, heroine of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From The Madding Crowd.  A capricious beauty who inherits a farm, she makes the most of her new position as lady of the manor. Intending to treat a little child by sending him a Valentine card,  on a whim she redirects it to dignified local landowner, William Boldwood. This gentleman farmer has annoyed her by failing to fall under her charms, like all the other men in the parish. In a fit of devilment, she sends the Valentine card to him instead of little Teddy Coggan. In the days before self-adhesive envelopes,  Bathsheba closes it with a blob of sealing wax and impresses it with a novelty stamp which turns out the read “marry me”. 
Their shepherd's busy elsewhere, getting on with some ignoble strife.
Bathsheba thinks it will upset Boldwood’s solemnity. It does that all right. He becomes obsessed with her, his “…mind crazed with care and love…”. 
Far From The Madding Crowd is one of my favourite books, and I hope you’ll read it to find out what happens.  I won’t spoil the end for you, but Bathsheba’s casually-sent Valentine card turns out to be as deadly as that fateful bowl of soup served on the Battleship Potemkin.
Whether it birds or humans having fun on Valentine’s Day, spring is definitely in the air. It’s been a long, miserable winter. How do you beat the winter blues? 

Christina Hollis  writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women. She has written six historical novels, eighteen contemporary novels, sold nearly three million books, and her work has been translated into twenty different languages. When she isn’t writing, Christina is cooking, gardening, walking her dog, or beekeeping.

You can catch up with her at, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at

Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at  worldwide.


Christina Hollis said...

For some reason I haven't been able to publicise this blog on Twitter as I usually do. If anyone knows how I can get through to The Powers That Be at Twitter Central when @Twittersupport just sends me round a continuous automated loop, I'd be very grateful!

dstoutholcomb said...

I try and read, watch a movie, or drink some tea.

as for twitter, I would post the link if need be.


Christina Hollis said...

Thank you, Denise! It turns out it was a widespread problem with blog posts, but Twitter put it right in the end. It's so frustrating when the system falls over. It was kind of you to offer to post. Wishing you a lovely, peaceful weekend. Best wishes,