Comments from Delaney, which I edited to omit spoilers for those of you who haven't finished it (thanks Delaney!):
Okey dokey, just finished it. I really really really liked it.
I was very pleased with the romance between Fish & Rose. It was so clean and sweet. I love good old-fashioned romance like that. :P
What was a bit too much for me was the darkness of the book. Despite the heaviness/darkness, it was very spiritually powerful. Fish being willing to die if it was God's will was especially moving. It's so hard to throw oneself completely into God's arms to fulfill His plan.
I LOVED the Cor boys. :D They were just exactly like little boys. "This is a ninja sword." THAT made me laugh!!! They sound a lot like my 3 year old brother. I guess boys don't stop being interested in weapons. ;) I especially enjoyed the dorm fight scene. :D
I asked this in an email, but I never got a reply because of Yahoo, I'm guessing, so I'm wondering: Is Rose slightly based off of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, or is it a coincidence that they remind me of each other? I apologize for asking again if you replied to my email and I never got it. *blushes*
Well done, Regina! Thank you so much for writing these books and putting so much hard work into them. I'm sending you here a ginormous e-hug. ;)
So GLAD you liked it! Sorry I had to cut out part of your explanation in this post, but I enjoyed reading it. I know what you means about Agatha Christie (the part I had to cut out): she leaves a bad taste in my mouth too. A bit too much delight in horror and not enough morality. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers are better at both. I am glad you feel that the darkness seemed to have a point in the end. I've been saying lately, "My heroes fight real dragons." And some dragons are very dark indeed. But they can still be overcome.
About Rose being influenced by Anne of Green Gables: of course, both girls are creative red-haired talkative heroines with short tempers! And as L.M. Montgomery's book is a true classic, I'd have to admit some influence, since of course I have read it. But it wasn't done deliberately, and I tried hard to make Rose different from Anne in some ways, since I knew there would be comparisons.
Rose is not quite as short-tempered as Anne Shirley. And her character growth is different: in many ways Anne has to learn to leave behind the imaginary fantasy she loves for real life and ordinary things. But Rose's special gift is to see the juxtaposition of the fantastic with real life and in ordinary things. Unlike Anne, she doesn't learn to "get her head out of the clouds." In some ways, by affirming that parts of our heads SHOULD be in the clouds, she's sort of the anti-Anne.
But I didn't (and don't) feel strongly enough that the themes of Anne of Green Gables need special rebuking to make a big deal out of the differences between Anne and Rose. In the end, both themes are valid, of course. I hope this makes some sense.
Thanks again for your feedback!