Open My Eyes
written by Jennifer Collin
published by Jennifer Collin
About the book: Everything happens for a reason, they say. And sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and make bad decisions. Sleeping with her sister’s best friend is one of the dumbest things soon-to-be divorcee Emily Evans has ever done. But she’s determined to put it behind her and move on. She’s walked away from her cheating husband, managed to make a new friend, and found herself a real job and somewhere to live so she doesn’t have to couch-surf any more. Everything should be falling into place but for one problem – there are some mistakes from which you can’t move on.
Meanwhile, Ben Cameron is getting on with his life. After all, it’s the only thing to do once your heart has been stomped on by the woman of your dreams. Expanding his business and getting cosy with the girl next door are proving welcome distractions. He’s even happy to babysit his nephew, as long as he can to hand him back when he’s done! And thankfully, Emily Evans, the woman with the heavy boots, is avoiding him like the plague.
But Emily can’t avoid him forever, and when she drops a bombshell that turns Ben’s world upside-down, suddenly, getting on with his life takes on a whole new meaning.
My Top 5 Favourite Disney Princesses
Being a mother of two young daughters is wonderful. Sure, there are days when I feel like Miss Hannigan from Annie, dripping with little girls, but for the most part, raising daughters gives me a chance to relive my own childhood. Only this time it’s better, ’cause it’s not the 1980’s anymore.
Among my favourite things about the modern childhood are the new breed of Disney princesses. Today’s princesses are less about waiting for their prince to come, and more about going after what they want. Like the characters of much contemporary women’s fiction, they are searching for personal fulfilment, which, in my view, makes them okay role models for my little girls.
I feel I know these princesses pretty well. I’ve spent several hours (days really, if you add it all up) with them while my kids watch their movies on repeat. I thought I’d share my favourites with you, including what I love about them.
Here are my Top 5:
- Rapunzel (Tangled)
I mostly love Rapunzel because she’s goofy, funny and full of life. She’s also quite courageous. Despite having no contact with the outside world (let’s not psychoanalyse it!), Rapunzel is resourceful enough to go after what she wants. She’s also vulnerable, and pursuing her dreams is not an easy thing to do. Her self-doubt slows her down a little, but once she casts it aside, she embraces her adventure with an enthusiasm that’s hard to ignore. Just ask Maximus.
Rapunzel is a great heroine and Flynn Rider, as the loveable rouge, is a great hero. This kind of story, where two people find themselves together on an unexpected quest, is my favourite kind of rom com.
- Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)
Tiana is another heroine who finds herself on an unexpected adventure with a stranger. With Tiana and Prince Naveen, their initial dislike for each other adds an extra bit of spice. Where Rapunzel is goofy, Tiana is focussed, ambitious and disciplined. Like Rapunzel, Tiana is resourceful and able to deal with whatever obstacles get thrown in her path. I love her for her resilience and take no cr@p attitude, and I love they way she brings out the best in Naveen, simply by being herself. It’s another thing she has in common with Rapunzel.
- Elsa (Frozen)
Elsa is the kind of tortured character I read about while I was studying English Literature at university. I used to gorge on these characters, I loved nothing more than being unable to see the last few pages of a book through my tears. Then I had daughters and suddenly I wanted the world to be all sunshine and roses. I’d indulged in enough misery, it was time for some balance.
Elsa is a complex character. She’s a loyal and obedient child who respects her parents, even though shutting herself away and denying her gift causes her so much pain. At her coronation she is classy and poised, still the dutiful daughter, still respecting her parents. My heart breaks for her and she takes me back to the tears.
And then, when she stamps her foot on the North Mountain, casts aside the shackles of her duty and embraces what makes her truly amazing, oh my… she destroys me every time. My heart sings and and I have a good old snot cry, which to my relief, is completely baffling for my kids. Thank goodness they don’t yet understand the thrill of liberation!
To me, Elsa is a poster child for every woman who’s been told she should behave a certain way and live a certain kind of life, when she is capable of more than those trying to box her in could ever imagine.
- Merida (Brave)
Merida’s a slightly different kettle of fish. Sure, like Elsa, she has a parent trying to box her in, teach her the ‘proper’ way to behave, but her problem is the opposite of Elsa’s. Merida hasn’t been locked away, repressing her gifts, she’s been out there honing them. She’s courageous and fiery. She’s got so much spunk, she’s kinda intimidating. Some days, my stubborn uncompromising six year old reminds me of Merida, and believe me, for a mother, that is scary.
- Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Belle’s a bookworm, so of course she makes the list. Like Elsa, Belle is also dutiful, she lives her provincial life because she’s a good daughter and will do anything for her father. Although Belle’s not actively searching for anything, she’d much rather just escape into a good book, she’s finds her courage and resourcefulness when she needs to. She’s got great self respect and she stands up to the Beast when he’s raging at her. He’s not a loveable rogue like Flynn and Naveen, but Belle digs deep and brings out the best in him. If she does only marry him for that library, as the memes suggest, well then … good for her!
These are my top five, but as there are only really two others I like, honourable mentions go to both Anna from Frozen and Giselle from Enchanted. These two are the wise-eyed innocents who fall for the wrong guy but find the right one where they least expect him. Emily, in my latest book, Open My Eyes, is a lot like these two, only she went so far as to marry the wrong guy. Lucky for her, Mr Right is right under her nose, if only she could see him.
They also remind me a little of Bridget Jones, especially Anna, who, like Rapunzel, is a little on the goofy side. Would you agree? Who else do the Disney princesses remind you of? And which are your favourites? I’d love to hear!
About the author: Jennifer Collin writes quirky, and sometimes gritty, love stories about ordinary people dealing with what life throws at them. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat. She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep. These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn’t necessarily let them sleep.