It is my great pleasure today to welcome the lovely Jess B. Moore to my blog to discuss the themes of The Guilt of a Sparrow.
Over to you, Jess…
Like it says in the title, guilt is a primary theme in The Guilt of a Sparrow. Magnolia Porter is the younger sibling, living in the shadow of a trouble making “squeaky wheel” of a brother. Then living in the larger shadow left by his death. Their mama, bless her heart, is doing the best she can to support what’s left of her family, to handle town gossip, and to raise her daughter. Even if that means holding Maggie impossibly close and wanting to dictate her every move. Caught in traps of guilt – wanting to please her mama, and wanting to have more independence – Maggie must learn who she is and how to stand up for herself.
Maggie’s journey is a mirror to my own. While her story is entirely fiction, her emotions and the catalyst of her guilt come from my real life experience. I had a wonderful relationship with my mom, but it teetered on co-dependent and definitely veered toward guilt-trips on occasion after my brother died. I didn’t blame her, because I can’t imagine suffering the loss of a child! If holding close to me helped her, then so be it. I took that kernel and expanded upon it, making Maggie’s story richer and more desperate.
It’s still in me to fall prey to guilt. To over-think and second-guess every little thing. From a lifetime of talking with friends, I’ve learned this is common. So many of us have unnecessary guilt! (You’re not alone!) What I hope you get out of reading The Guilt of a Sparrow is how possible it is for you to let go of those tendencies and be happy.
Duty , and the roles we play
Another important aspect in the book is the idea of duty as it relates to your family. As you’ve seen, Maggie thinks it’s her duty to be a perfect child in order to lessen her mother’s grief. This is a role she’s placed herself in and must learn to break free from.
On a similar note, Cotton MacKenna – the oh so complicated love interest – is wrapped up in thinking he’s the bad guy. Back in school, he used to fight with Maggie’s brother in an effort to protect her from him. He put himself in that role and took on the responsibility of saving her. Turns out he made it worse, and not to mention ruined his reputation. Seen as the one to use his fists before his words, Cotton avoids relationships, and in particular keeps his distance from Maggie.
Sometimes we become who we’re told we are. You hear enough times that you’re violent, you begin to believe it. Cotton must learn his strengths, let go of his perceived weaknesses, and open himself up to love.
Obviously this is first and foremost a love story! I truly believe in the healing power of love. Of having someone by your side to offer strength when you need it, to give you a push when you’re stuck, and to offer a soft place to land.
I hope you enjoy The Guilt of a Sparrow, out in paperback and on Kindle (free on Kindle Unlimited!). Look for Fierce Grace out in November, a stand-alone tie-in, exploring themes of independence (Annabelle does not need a hero, thank you very much), and connection (of the fierce and vulnerable sort that might burn you), with a central love story, of course.
The Guilt of a Sparrow can be purchased on Amazon here
Jess B. Moore Bio
Jess B Moore is a writer of love stories. When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her talented and stubborn children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.
Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family. She takes too many pictures of her cats, thinking the Internet loves them as much as she does. She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.
The Guilt of a Sparrow is her debut novel combining her interests in family, music, and small towns into a thoughtful tale of growing up and falling in love. Her second book, Fierce Grace, follows similar themes in a whole new way, and will be available later in 2018.
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Look her up on social media @authorjessb – she’d be thrilled if you followed her on Twitter, overjoyed if you visited her on Facebook, and filled with glee if you liked her Instagram posts.