Michaeline: Healing and Dealing

Black and white film still of a patient in bed (with a Japanese jacket) entwined with his nurse.

Caring for the carer. What’s your favorite healing trope? (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Well, I’m going to start off with the back story. This has been a trying week. Next Monday is a holiday – Respect for the Aged Day, and hooray for old people and hooray for a day off! But this week? About the only way I crawled through this week was by thinking, “I get next Monday off! I can rest then!”

And then yesterday, the North Koreans decided to kick off the “Thank God It’s Friday!” celebrations with a little missile launch. They were kind enough to wait until 7 a.m. this time, and I have to say, almost everyone seems much more organized about the whole thing this time around. I was (ahem) interrupted in my ablutions, but when I finally finished and could see why my phone was beeping, I calmly proceeded to the hallway, and sat down in the darkness to text my loved ones. The all-clear was quicker. The news on TV had better info to offer us than simply, “OMG! Missiles!” As a matter of fact, the commercial channels were airing happy-sappy commercials within the hour (whereas last time, I don’t remember seeing any commercials). Normalization was quickly re-established once the all-clear alert came around.

I had planned to write a stupendous blog post how things are easier the second time around, but the creeping crud that I’ve been fighting off all week has become a bad cough, and my brain is seriously fogged out. So instead, I’m going to ask you for reading recommendations.

I remember reading a lot of Harlequin romances in my junior and senior year in high school, and it was a very common trope for either the hero or heroine to fall ill, and be nursed back to health by the other – in the depths of feverish delirium or sniffling (but never dysentery), s/he realizes that true love was in reach the entire time.

I’m trying to remember any other titles with this kind of trope, and the best I’m coming up with is restorative pork jelly, from one (or possibly two) Heyer novels. And I have a tickle in the back of my brain that this pork jelly was for a secondary character.

So, I’m picking the brains of our Collective Muses: have you run into any interesting examples of the trope? Does it do it for you? And why or why not?

As for me, I’ll be sipping liquids and checking back on the blog from time to time. I send out best wishes to all who are undergoing trying times right now – Jeanne reminded me of the fires, and my phone tells me that London has had a more immediate weapons threat (love to Jilly and Kay), and of course, all the people digging their ways out of hurricanes, monsoons and typhoons. Let’s do our best to keep calm and carry on, or at least hold it together and git ‘er done.

6 thoughts on “Michaeline: Healing and Dealing

  1. So sorry to hear that you are under the weather, Michaeline! Hope you can use the extra day to pamper yourself back to wellbeing–not restorative pork jelly (ew!) but lots of rest and warmth, soothing drinks and a good book or two.

    Heyer is genius at using the nursing/healing trope. There’s the pork jelly in Frederica. There’s poor little Amabel in The Grand Sophy–when Amabel falls sick, the household disintegrates into panic and disarray, and Brooding Charles’s hideous fiancee won’t come near the place for fear of catching the disease. Meanwhile, capable Sophy takes over the sickroom, gets rid of the drunken nurse, assumes her duties…and the scales fall from Charles’s eyes in the nick of time. Yay! And not to forget Devil’s Cub, where bluestocking Mary shoots the wild, rakish Marquis of Vidal; he catches a fever from the inflammation of the wound, and Mary organises him back to health, defying his orders to call a doctor and serving him gruel when he calls for a steak and a bottle of wine. That’s one of my favorite nursing scenes ever. It positively crackles!!

    • Thank you! Wasn’t there something also in Venetia? Or am I just looking for an excuse to re-read Venetia? LOL. I should treat myself.

      And . . . have you actually had Restorative Pork Jelly? What was it like? I imagined it to be like the jelly you sometimes find around canned hams. Salty and somehow very soothing. Chicken can also produce a very nice gelatin. (Yes, I think I might be a little strange. But my cousin said putting a little gelatin in a chicken broth can fake that nice mouthfeel that you get with superior stock. So maybe I’m not too weird.)

    • What timing, Jilly – I just re-read The Grand Sophy last night and loved the “nursing Anabell back to health” section. I think Devil’s Club was one of the titles I picked up last night. I’m a sucker for the “heroine shoots the hero” trope. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

      Michaeline, hopefully you have someone nursing you back to health as well, or at least being extra nice until you’re feeling yourself again.

      • Everyone’s being awfully nice, and I’m healthy enough to make chicken soup, thank goodness. It’s still hanging on — I’ve been fighting it for about 10 days now — but I’m able to work and get basic housekeeping done.

        (-: If I felt just a bit worse, I’d take a day off and re-read great books, but I’m not there yet. I hope I won’t get there, either! I’d much rather be healthy and enjoying whatever autumn sunshine comes our way.

  2. At the recommendation of some of my RWA chapter members, I just finished reading The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne. It included that trope and did it very well.

    It also created a terrific voice for the heroine. She was French and all of her dialogue (internal monologue as well as external) made that obvious, not by salting in a bunch of unfamiliar French words (as some authors, annoyingly, tend to do) but by the structure of the sentences themselves. Much like Leonie’s dialogue in These Old Shades by Heyer.

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