Belva Plain dies at 95I heard this news on the radio first, I believe. I was interested in the fact that she began writing her novels at the age of 59. I wanted to read at least one of them, so I went to our local library and checked out Crossroads. I finished it this evening.
In my opinion, the book was awkwardly written. But the story was compelling. It fit the description contained in the first words of this paragraph that I found somewhere:
Known for epic novels of family and forgiveness, she never owned a computer and wrote in longhand on a yellow pad. She had written short fiction for women's magazines before turning to novels.
Crossroads WAS a book of family and forgiveness. The two main characters were an unassuming young woman of privilege and a beautiful, ambitious one. Their lives intertwine, and there is an unanticipated but welcomed twist at the end of the story.
Plain's first novel, Evergreen, published in 1978, spent 41 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list in hardcover and another 20 in paperback. It was made into a miniseries by NBC in 1985.
Apparently, strong-willed women, many of them Jewish and red-haired as well, appear again and again in Ms. Plain's fiction. Some of her novels use historical setting; other books tell stories about contemporary issues such as divorce, adoption, child abuse or babies accidentally switched at birth.
Belva Plain died in her sleep on October 19th at her home in New Jersey. According to her publisher, almost 30 million copies of her books are in print, and they have been translated into 22 languages.
I'm encouraged by the creative productivity of this woman! It's never too late to pursue one's dreams!