by Barbara Shafferman
"I am delighted that The President's Astrologer was selected for discussion
by SeniorNet Books and Literature. This is my first novel, written at an
age when most people are planning their retirement. For me, however, The
President's Astrologer is both the beginning of a new career and the
culmination of a dream. Life's detours had set other priorities for me, but
now I can devote my full attention to writing.
Drawing on my twenty seven years as an astrologer, I felt this would make an interesting and unusual background for a political thriller. For plot reasons it was necessary to set my story in the near future, so I chose the year 2006 for the events that take place in The President's Astrologer. My primary goal was to create an exciting, suspenseful novel about an astrologer who becomes enmeshed in a web of danger when she stumbles onto a plot to overthrow the President of the United States. But I had a second goal as well: to introduce the reader to the way real astrology works, which is far beyond the popular awareness of Sun Signs. The reviews of The President's Astrologer make me feel I have succeeded in accomplishing both goals.
Astrology is a controversial subject, as some of your early messages indicate. Interestingly, two of the four people posting identify themselves as Virgos, and both I and my astrologer-heroine are Virgos as well. I wonder if there's some sort of connection here. At any rate, I hope we have a wide variety of Sun Signs posting, and I look forward to a lively, thought-provoking discussion."
While this New Age thriller might be reminiscent of the real-life astrologer associated with President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, the story is carefully and creatively set in the year 2006 and focuses on the impact an astrologer could have on an American president and the affairs of state. The President's Astrologer was selected as one of the three finalists for the PMA Benjamin Franklin Award for fiction/drama.
The President's Astrologer was selected as one of the three finalists for the PMA Benjamin Franklin Award for fiction/drama.
For Brief Reviews by Readers: Five Star Reviews
Recently, an astronomer at the Lick Observatory in California found in the institution's library a horoscope cast by the 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler for an Austrian nobleman, Hans Hannibal Huetter von Huetterhofen. The document had been purchased in Russia in 1886 by the first director of the Lick Observatory and had lain forgotten for a century. Present-day astrologers always drag out poor Kepler in support of their bogus craft. See, they say, even such an eminent scientist as Kepler was a believer. Kepler practiced astrology only as a matter of financial necessity. His heart certainly wasn't in it. He wrote: ''A mind accustomed to mathematical deduction, when confronted with the faulty foundations [of astrology], resists a long, long time, like an obstinate mule, until compelled by beating and curses to put its foot into that dirty puddle.'' Kepler's distrust of the ''dirty puddle'' hasn't rubbed off on Americans. Polls show that half of Americans are open to astrological influences in their lives. Most newspapers and magazines offer horoscopes. Even those people who say ''Oh, I just do it for fun'' will sometimes admit that ''Well, maybe there's something to it.'' ''After all,'' they say, ''science doesn't know everything. Maybe, just maybe, the positions of the planets and stars do affect out lives. Haven't people believed it for thousands of years? Didn't Kepler believe it? I may not be able to prove it is true, but neither can science prove it is wrong.'' And, of course, they are right. Science can't prove that astrology is wrong because the whole system is so slippery and vague that it's impossible to get a grip on it. That's what Kepler meant by ''dirty puddle.'' A typical horoscope is loose enough to let almost anyone see themselves in it. Whatever Kepler gave Hans Hannibal Huetter von Huetterhofen, we can be confident that his customer went away thinking he got his money's worth. It was the genius of the British philosopher Karl Popper to realize that nothing in science can ever be proved absolutely true. Just because something ''works,'' doesn't mean it's right. But what we can sometimes do with confidence is show that a scientific idea is wrong. As Popper said, good science is ''falsifiable.'' An idea that offers ample opportunities for falsification, yet resists refutation, is to be valued highly. An idea that can't be proved wrong is simply not science. When Kepler discovered what we now call Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion, he found precise mathematical formulae that describe the motions of the planets and their moons to a high degree of precision. A single unambiguous exception to the laws would show that something is amiss. Four hundred years later we have not found an exception. But when Kepler cast horoscopes, it was a ''well, maybe'' sort of thing. Since the 1950s, many scientific studies have attempted to assess the accuracy of astrological predictions, usually by asking astrologers to match horoscopes to people in blind tests. The results have been overwhelmingly negative. In spite of hundreds of person-years of research, not one shred of reliable evidence has emerged to show that astrology is anything but bunk. Do astrologers therefore concede that their horoscopes are a swindle? Not on your life. The system is much too elastic for that. Psychologist Ivan Kelly of the University of Saskatchewan lists a number of ways astrologers get around the scientific critique of their craft: Ignore bad news. Kelly quotes several astrologers who take this tack, including John Anthony West in his ''The Case for Astrology'': ''Since the aim of this book is to present the positive evidence, intimate details of the bulk of the negative evidence do not concern us.'' This has been the dominant response of the astrological community. Knock science. Astrologer Robert Hand writes: ''I don't think that science is yet capable of dealing with the full complexity of the symbolic language as employed by astrologers.'' Move the goal posts. There are so many different ways of doing astrology that if a scientific study debunks one method, the astrologer simply invokes another. Invoke negatives. The phenomena of astrology are subtle and elusive and require more creative ways of investigating them than have yet been mustered, say astrologers. Kelly quotes a professional astrologer who admits the absence of scientific evidence for astrology - so far: ''I am personally still convinced that, given more sensitive and imaginative tests, confirmation of the reality of sun-sign typologies, and the signs generally, will be obtained.'' Blame faulty methods. Astrologer West, for example, says that scientific criticism of astrology is irrelevant because astrology is a ''system of magic,'' where magic is ''the attempt to master fundamental laws of resonance that have produced the cosmos.'' In other words, the practice of astrology is so slippery and ambiguous that it cannot be falsified. That is why it continues to flourish in spite of failing every scientific test. And that is why astrology is different than science. <PP> Chet Raymo is a professor of physics at Stonehill College and the author of several books on science.
This is one view of Astrology. Barbara Shafferman has another. What's yours? Ms. Shafferman has written and published extensively on Astrology. This novel, however, while weaving Astrology into the plot is not a book "about" Astrology - but a political thriller. If you're a fan of that genre, I believe you'll enjoy reading this one. Please join us for the discussion on September 15th. The author will be joining us!! More details when the stars are aligned more favorably!!!
The point is, some of the things in this futuristic political thriller have already happened!!!! Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction. As those of you that have already read this novel understand, Ms. Shafferman takes this core of an idea, and weaves a nifty little tale of political intrigue that takes some interesting turns.
We’re so glad that Barbara Shafferman will be available to answer your questions on this novel or on her life as a writer. As we begin this discussion on September 15th, we can look forward to her posts along with ours as she will be dropping in from time to time. And please post any questions of her that you might have at any time – we’ll put them up in the opening page of the discussion along with her answers as we receive them. If you are reading along with us but are ‘just lurking’ – you can e-mail your questions directly to me if you wish. We’ll get them to the author also. All in all, this should be an exciting first for us here at SN B&L.
Would like to add before I go, since we are all playing the "What's your sign" game...I am a Gemini...classic Gemini. Every description of those born under this sign describes me to a tee. Never a detail off. Enough to make me a true believer in my daily horoscope! Except, my husband is also a Gemini...and not a single characteristic does he share with me and Sidney Omaar's description of a Gemini! So that shakes my "faith". However, I am willing to suspend any doubt and accept this "nifty little story" for what it is. And we do have a former president's agenda scheduled around the stars. Can't wait to read Barbara's tale...
I have always described myself as an open-minded skeptic. I'll start with an open mind and we'll see what happens.
Very interesting what you say about the exact time of birth. I pulled out my birth certificate (Ohio)and as I remembered, the time is stated pretty scrupulously - 8:01 AM. Whether that's the right time or not, it certainly gives the impression of being exact - right to the minute!
Glad you will be joining us. You'll like the book and the characters (the characters in the book).
For those who don't have the time to read the article in its entirety, here's an extract...
"Of course, maybe it isn't fair to insist that astrological predictions be any more flawless or all-encompassing than weather forecasts or election polls. Horoscopes, however, incur no penalty for being wrong. Indeed, astrologers are the first to explain that there are no guarantees, noting that "the stars incline, they do not compel."
Serious astrologers claim, however, that, with exact information about an individual's birth date and time, down to the second if possible, they can be fairly specific.
That's all the basic input astrologers use: the date and time of your birth. (Long ago, some forms of astrology used the date of conception, but that turned out to be hard to pin down.)
....However, because astrological predictions are not falsifiable, they are well-nigh impossible to test. Nonetheless, numerous studies have been conducted.
These tests are mostly statistical, that is, they try to establish whether astrologers' assertions and predictions are correct more often than would be expected by chance alone.
One statistical study of the relationship between birth date data and life experience deserves special comment. Over two decades in the middle of this century, French researchers Michel and Francoise Gauquelin assembled and analyzed horoscopes of more than 25,000 individuals. At first, they found no positive correlations.
Mars has long been astrologically associated with violence and killing. But the files of 623 notorious convicted murderers showed no correlations with the location of Mars by astrological house.
Nevertheless, one modest positive correlation did appear: A significant number of sports champions was found to have been born when Mars was between the eastern horizon and the celestial meridian. The Gauquelins' 1969 book trumpeted this result as the "Mars effect." Professional astrologers embraced their findings and proclaimed that they placed the whole field on a scientific footing.
I have been looking for my baby book; my mother recorded lots in mine, as I was the first child...I don't think she caught the second I was born though, and certainly didn't record the date of conception...
This should be fun...and Betty, you are so fortunate to have written a book about a subject that has fascinated you for such a long time.
Will be back with book in hand......
(Up front: I’ve been having some kind of connectivity problems for over a week and can’t seem to figure it out. It’s difficult for me to POST messages of any length, although I don’t really have any trouble reading them or getting around – so, please bear with me).
We open with Addie Pryce, “a thirty-seven year-old astrologer”. I liked her immediately – successful and self-assured – but a workaholic. As we get to know her, we find her vulnerabilities linked to her past pain. The issue of “betrayal” seems to drive her reactions somewhat, don’t you think? But she sure doesn’t like to be manipulated, does she? I like that, too. Things charge ahead for her don’t they? A lot of changes coming her way right from the start. I like the way the plot moves right along. I think when we say a “quick read” this is what we mean most of the time. The plot grabs you and pulls you ahead so that you want to find out what happens next.
Walter and Jonah are an immediate contrast to Addie – the typical Washington insiders, Mr. Politico and Mr. Science? But that’s just the surface, the first impressions. We get to know them better also. I like the way the author (Barbara Shafferman) kind of sets us up to assume things about her characters and then proceeds to draw them more fully for us to discover. The little dance between Addie and Jonah commences immediately. What did you think of that? It’s obvious there is some kind of spark between them from the start.
Ms. Shafferman also introduces the ‘Nancy Reagan’ question immediately. It sort of validates the possibility of this actually happening, don’t you think? I am interested in the kind of mechanics of “the idea” for the novel. Being an Astrologer, I wonder how much impact the sorts of revelations about Nancy Reagan and Astrology had on the author’s idea to write this novel? I often wonder if such a small spark can ignite the creative process – or is it a number of small sparks??
I am the chronically late Gemini, with so many irons in the fire...perhaps our astrologist will comprehend that!
Will catch up before the day is out. I really do look forward to this discussion!
As for the opening, I thought the flashback was very subtle – I really enjoyed it I found it much more effective than what might have been a dramatic event. It really got me into the character - and therefore into caring what had just happened to her. It just probably depends on a reader’s orientation, though. Plot driven or character driven. I just happen to be more character driven. For me, a dramatic event BEFORE knowing Addie even a little bit would just not have been as effective.
Now, Barbara – I’ve been wondering if you had a mentor in the style of Livonia. She is obviously drawn very lovingly. One of the reasons (among, I suspect, many) why I could never be a writer is that it would just be too difficult for me to ‘kill off’ a character that you have such obvious affection for. Is it hard? Do you try to find other ways to advance the action rather than take this kind of difficult step?
P.S.: Heck, Larry - Dick Tracy had one of those wrist phones YEARS ago!!!
In every other way it can be rationalized to mean anything you want it too. there are even more than one systems for charting. the oldest one (Sidereal) is thirty degrees on the circle behind the current one(Tropical). My own chart (in tropical) shows me to be sun in pisces, very laid back and philosophical and rising sign (just as important) in the aforementioned virgo, an uptight freak for detail who can't see the forest for the trees. in sidereal I'm an aquarian..quite a different profile although both are creative. I have three other planets that stay put in aquarias in both systems so that probably means I'm more of an aquarian than a pisces, but becuase of my sun sign I'm considered to be that...confusing huh?
I did charts with the help of a computer program on everyone I met for over a year just to give the devil her due before claiming that THERE IS NOTHING TO IT. In only one instance did I find myself wondering and doubting.
I did a chart for the day my father died -- suddenly--for me, my mother and my son. My son and I had extremely negative charts i.e. 26 or 27 negative items to maybe three others not necessarily posative and my mothers was not affected which made me think maybe there was possibly a relationship involving genes???? as well as the position of the planets???? still wondering.
Astrology is a great party game too. People open up and tell you all about themselves within the framework of their sun signs. Gerda, my friend, says the rising sign is how the world see yous (the front porch) and treats you and therefore is very important also, but most of us don't know our birth times. We guessed at mine until I sent away for my birth certificate. It was almost diametrically opposed to what we thought . . . so much for Gerda, my friend the pro, who makes a living doing charts in London.Astrology is very big in Europe.
Claire - Have you read the book? If so, the author seems to use the “scientific mind” (Jonah) as a foil (a romantic foil) to Addie – the “physical plane” vs. the “metaphysical plane.” Now the thought occurs to me – I’m wondering if ‘women’ are more open to things like astrology, tarot, etc – this metaphysical plane? (Now I’m not lumping them all together at all or placing an equal value on each…). What do you think? It doesn’t seem that the AUTHOR is making this point (after all The President is a believer and HIS wife is violently opposed)
Larry - Ellen Wycliff put me in mind of Martha Mitchell (“gracious Southern belle to screeching shrew”). And Simon Furst? Well, if he’d lighten up a little, Al Gore could pass for an an…….but not everyone has gotten this far yet…
Addie’s collection on unicorns?
Livonia living in The Watergate?
Addie liked the idea of being called a writer, “any kind of writer”
This attraction/repel/attraction/repel between Addie and Jonah are like two spinning magnets that finally come to rest with their poles in place
The President and Ellen Wycliff are also “enmeshed in a web of attraction and repulsion that neither one could break.” One understands that they’ll never come to rest.
In Chapter 6, President Wycliff gives a perfectly timed speech based on Addie’s advice. It was often remarked that Reagan was the Great Communicator – and his timing was impeccable.
Chapter 9 reveals, the supposed suicide of Bruce Hanover in an almost off-handed way that very nicely kind of shocks the reader, don’t you think?. Well done.
What say that through next Monday, we take it up through
As an astrologer, you must be accustomed to skepticism by now. People dismissing your hard work and experience as palm reading...and party games. In other words, you must be used to not being taken seriously.? Your heroine must have the same experience, right? She makes it clear from the beginning that she does not want to waste her time with those who do not regard her work as valid and meaningful. Yet, she flares up at Jonah, seems hurt and even surprised at his suggestion that they skip the charts of the other characters...that she just humor the pres.,let him talk and tell him things he wants to hear to keep him happy.
Does an astrologist ever become accustomed to skepticism?
I very much enjoyed the first sentence of the book...it seems to paint the main character from the git-go.
"On a rainy April morning in the year 2006, life came stalking Addie Pryce."
Later on, when the unicorn collection comes up (I paused at that too, Charlie) Addie says...
"Wherever I go, I seem to meet unicorns looking for a home."
Addie is not looking for anything out of life. She's still hurting from the first marriage and disillusioned with life. But life stalks her...unicorns come looking for her.
The unicorn is an interesting choice here. Isn't the unicorn a mythical creature?...certainly not real. Addie believes in the reality of her charts. She demands they be taken seriously or she doesn't wish to waste her time. Yet, there sits the whimsical collection of unreal creatures...which she was unable to resist.
Please tell about the unicorn, Barbara. A constellation...what is the meaning of the unicorn to the astrologer?
I see a strong parallel here between the unicorns making their way to Addie's door and other troubled, curious creatures who seek her "mystical" company.
Do you have a collection of unicorns, Barbara? Or is that fiction? It is quite a touch! Do you find yourself besieged by requests for your powers, wherever you go?
I have very meager gifts in that area, but found that they do exist, even in this skeptic person -- ME.
I found doing the charts to be hard work, time consuming and seductive, so I finally gave all my books to m friend and swore off. I didn't want to put anymore time into it. She kept them for her library which is extensive. Only a couple of them were new to her.
BTW charles question about the resistance of men makes sense to me. at lease that's what I found in my offer to do charts for almost anyone I knew. Mostly the women loved it and the men smiled and pooh pooh it. What is your experience?.
And the theme of Barbara’s next novel - I’m wondering how often that occurs: One specific event in a novel becomes a departure for the next novel. I can see how that could happen a lot as part of the creative process.
Joan - The unicorn collection brought to mind The Glass Menagerie. But I hadn’t thought about its connection to the constellations or Astrology. Wonder if Addie’s affinity for unicorns somehow point to her view of herself – a solitary, lonely creature of grace and beauty….
southcoast - gosh, did you have to evacuate? Hope you suffered no losses – and you haven’t missed the discussion at all. We’re meandering right along.
I very much like the way Addie has a strong belief in Astrology, is grounded in its value. She never wavers in this. Acts on the dictums of what her ‘value system’ shows. This not only fleshes out the character, but also moves along the plot. This is most manifest in her suspicions of the character of Simon Furst and the unexplainable suicide of Bruce Hornsby (make that Bruce Hanover)!! This is very….economic writing.
I must admit that I lost my patience about Chapter 15 with Jonah and asked myself – why does she keep giving this guy another chance? He always seems so impatient with Addie and never really seems to give any credence to her fears – the people following her, the fear she feels at the mysterious inability to reach Livonia. I was reminded of movies you sometimes see where the heroine (and the audience) know what’s going on, but no one else seems to believe her…”Look Addie – be logical” Jonah says. It’s that male (logical)-female (intuition) thing.
I was also curious about the repeated use of precise times:
“Jonah looked at his green marble desk clock 4:22” (pg 157)
“She looked at the clock. The glowing numbers flashed 5:53” (pg 107)
There are many, many more examples. I know we’ve talked about the importance of precise time in Astrology Chart reading, so I was led to wonder if these times were purposeful and meaningful (astrologically speaking!) to the characters at that time. Or was this just a manifestation of the authors’ unique perspective regarding time itself. Just wondering…
So my "take" on the situation has nothing to do with any Syndrome...but simply the wine- soaked lunch, during which our Addie is finding herself drawn to this man, yet aware of danger- his motives, and his chart! (Did I read that Addie senses something not right with Andrew's chart too? It seems to be right on, so maybe I didn't.....)
Addie finds Andrew incredibly attractive..She thinks immediately of his chart...loaded with personal magnetism...but she reminds herself of his Pluto, which indicates the need to control everything...at the expense of his own feelings. She tells Andrew this. His reaction is to abruptly change the subject, telling her he's tired of her astrology. Is he uncomfortable that his vulnerable self may be apparent?
He continues to pour the Chablis (note that she isn't being forced to drink it.). He urges her, the "poor innocent" to "join the winning side."
I see a strong parallel here between the seduction of his grandson to come live with him. ( I really detested Granit's (granite...hard as rock! Let's talk more about some of these names -ie. Livonia !) attitude toward his daughters...didn't even want to see them! But he "sees himself in his grandson, before he made bad choices." And the boy seems to see him as he really is...and really loves him - puts his arms around his neck and kisses him. He see the side of Andrew no one else does. Is Andrew attracted to Addie because she comprehends his loneliness - that he is out of touch with his feelings?
So here sits Addie, with four+ glasses of chablis and mellowing.. . She feels "foolish, naive" listening to this powerful Senator, whose mouth smiles at her...but not his eyes! Sure, she feels herself weakening...but stops herself...her better judgement, her common sense - comes into play...and she suddenly pulls away from her feelings for him...she panics! What other word could Barbara have used here to describe Addie's very real fear that she was doing something irrational! I've panicked with some real smooth talkers myself...and I can remember one very much like Andrew! I can't explain the attraction, but the panic comes from the realization that things are not right and you better get out fast! Can't think of another word for the panic, but I relate to Addie on this one!
I have heard you react to the phrase, "desire and panic", (referring to the senatorial seduction scene.)
But now for the first time I feel you are referring to the violent scene in the car when those goons kidnapped Addie. I am truly trying to understand your agitation, but am puzzled at the cause. Sometimes when you rewrite your thoughts so many times, the original prompt becomes obfuscated...
Gemini-Joan (on both sides of every issue)
Poor Barbara, she's trying to show us a cold-hearted, self-centered, power-hungry monster! Making sure we all understand how dangerous and powerful he is!
You object to Barbara's portrayal of Addie, though? I don't think at all that Addie is turned on by Andrew's moves. Au contraire. Absoluement au contraire! She comes to! Her panic and fear overcomes the alcohol-induced romantic feelings, desire and she is revolted! The "man-handling" does not attract her. She does not respond to it. She wants to bolt!!!
The lesson for any grand-daughter here is...beware the booze, I would think! Take responsibility for your own behavior!
What interests me is this relationship with Jonah. I don't grasp what she sees in him! His candor, I suppose. The fact that he doesn't appreciate her life work seems to be a major problem, which she is obviously trying to overlook. Perhaps he will become a believer by the end of the story? Perhaps Barbara can tell us what it is in each of their charts that makes them a viable match?
I've been sitting on a post about Geminis...since reading about the President's Geminian traits, of which I share many. And just now, talking about the stars as indicators of compatablily...I'll have to get up the courage and carefully word another post...
Eileen, of course, you're right! We must accept it...opposites attract! But sometimes Geminis are attracted to one another- who are not opposites at all. Sameness also attracts? Universal attraction! Anyway, you are right, will just accept that they have fallen for one another, for whatever reasons.
But the great thing about having an author-guest is that we are able to ask questions, even little questions such as the frequent references to time. I'll bet Barbara tells us that time is very important to an astrologer...
For instance, here's a really trivial question that I would wonder about if reading by myself, but Barbara may have a simple answer...
This is a minor detail, but I'm truly into color, ever since James Joyce's Portrait There are many references to the color of Addie's eyes. "extraordinarily sapphire", "blue as the sky"...Shafferman's blue-eyed Athena...
Here's my question...is "turquoise" your favorite color, Barbara, there is so much of it here...the White House chairs, Addie's clothes, the peacock feathers in her apartment, the new silver turquoise pendant she's wearing. If I had those impossibly clear blue eyes, would I be wearing turquoise? I don't think so. Just wondering what you were thinking, or did this just happen? Do you have those true, blue eyes? Do you wear a lot of turquoise?
The other question I always wonder about is the author's choice of names. I think that would be quite a difficult task, and would love to know the thought-process that went into your choice for these characters. I had been playing with Livonia's name in the back of my mind, but as soon as I connected Andrew Granit's name with his personality, I pulled out Livonia again. Is it a real name? Perhaps you made it up? Could it be:
live + on = Livonia? After death, she lives on as Addie's mentor and sends messages which will solve the Salazar mystery?
Must add, that we must all stop taking you literally and get ready to suspend reality to just plain enjoy the rrrrest of the story! You really do have an imagination, lady!!!
readerdoc - I can relate to your being on the cusp of something as I always feel I’m on the cusp of true understanding….then wake up.
The name game is always fun when reading a novel. The pairing up of Jonah and Stern must have been thought out. And Simon is a good robotic name…Simon says….wasn’t there a Simon kids electronic toy the point of which was to mimic/repeat the sounds of or something?
In a recent study (or survey) it seems that what Americans most resent or are unprepared to forgive in their politicians is the manufacturing of resumes or pumped up participation in the armed services. NOT their sexual indiscretions or their private life. The creation, in other words of a false persona in any way. The politicians don’t seem to have gotten this message. For them, it’s all about power and control – and electability. Andrew Granit seems to be the logical extension of this. And Simon Furst, the logical extension of Andrew Granit’s will to power.
When we learned of Granit's sort of repression of his feelings and his former love Sarah, did this explain to you his attitude toward Addie? What were your reactions?
Let's see...Andrew is attracted to Addie because her blue eyes remind him of Sarah's. Ah. lost love...the path that might have been. Don't we all have one of those lurking somewhere in memory?
Andrew's bad decision referred to earlier in the scene with grandson...who reminds him of himself before he made ...this decision?
(the grandson does remind me of Andrew...he is willing to walk away from his parents and sister for the exciting life with grandpa in Washington DC. I was waiting for him to turn down Grandpa's offer, but when he didn't he proved himself his grandpa's boy...ambition over feelings!) Andrew chose Alicia, the girl with the power, money and connections over his love for Sarah. He's got it all, but cannot forget Sarah. I think that's what isn't making sense.
I'll assume that Sarah is alive somewhere. Andrew is painted as controlling, powerful and one who stops at nothing until he gets what he wants. He wants Sarah. He doesn't want a life with Alicia, or even his daughters. Sarah, the wine-colored tears...Sarah crying for Andrew! I can't imagine Andrew accepting the situation, with all his cunning! Where is Sarah? Are we to understand that Andrew is a man of his word and once the choice was made, he is honoring his marriage vows? Or are we to understand that Andrew so loves Sarah that he wants her to have happiness in her life without him.
I'm trying to understand his "chart"...and I guess the driving ambition at the expense of his own feelings is the explanation I'm looking for...and could accept. And yet, that doesn't explain the seduction of Robby from his family. What is that about? Does he really believe his grandson would be happier living with him in Washington and not with his parents? Really? Then why doesn't this hold true for Sarah? Where is Sarah? Where is your lost love?
Yes, in response to the question du jour...the introduction of Sarah into the equation does explain Andrew's attraction to Addie... But it also raises more questions that don't get answered. Tantalizing!!! The imagination takes over...
I enjoyed the book, for many different reasons, some of them already expressed so well.
I liked the little details which provided a sense of place, of time - from the turquoise earrings of NM to the ergometric contour chair that molds to your body shape! I'd LOVE one of those! Can't wait for 2006! Did you dream them up or do you have access to futuristic catalogs? Order me a chair...turquoise would be fine...
I was impressed by your belief in the stars. It is contagious - or infectious...I love how you used it to get through difficult situations...well Addie did, and I bet you both carry an ephemeris (what's an ephemeris?) in your purse. You never once wavered in that faith! I sense something approaching the religious in this belief in a higher power governing the universe....nope, I can't articulate on that, so I won't go there...
Finally, I loved your injection of astrological traits into your characters...and it was so easy to identify with all of it...so right on! Especially the President's Gemini! Somewhere cooking in the back of my mind is a Gemini challenge...but I'd need coaxing to articulate that and it is very personal!
Your patience, kindness, willingness to clarify, to answer personal questions about your life, Astrology and writing habits - we all appreciate! You really a Good Sport and FRIEND!