Thursday, June 18, 2009

The book I want to turn into a movie.

So call me a sappy, emotional, swoony girl, but the very first book I would turn into a movie if I ever was able to would be Moonraker's Bride by Madeleine Brent. It is definitely not a well-known book, nor is it a popular genre (romantic suspense). However, the story is utterly original: "The stranger she married that night was gone by morning. But she could never forget she was 'Moonraker's Bride.' Set against the exotic backdrop of China and England at the turn of the century, this breathtaking novel unfolds a fascinating tale of love, intrigue, and mystery -- of a man who trusted no one and a woman who trusted too much."

Okay, so that summary from the back of my copy sounds incredibly romanticized. The story actually doesn't focus on these two characters nearly as much as the summary makes it sound. The story has a lot more to do with Lucy trying to find her place in the world, as a previous missionary child who was orphaned and running a mission in China and suddenly finds herself taken to her native England where she feels completely out-of-place. In addition, the story seems to revolve more around a riddle written years ago by two English army men in China, and the mystery it tells of a hidden treasure.

The writing is pretty darn good, definitely better than Twilight and other comparable "young adult" books that involve any hint of romance and/or mystery. For example:
"I hesitated, feeling hopelessly at a loss. 'When will you -- I mean, do you mind if I ask when you'll be back, Nick?'
'Don't ask my permission to ask me anything.'"
How cold is that writing in that one sentence? More brilliant than Bella agonizing over Jacob or Edward.

I could give some more examples of good writing in this book, but that's one that just popped out to me as I read it, for the fourth time. I think this is the fourth time I've read this book, at least. The great thing about my brain is that it tends to forget the details and sometimes even the plotlines of books I've read in the past, so I receive infinite pleasure by just re-reading books.

This book is also the predominant reason I want to visit China. It was the first view of China I'd ever read about in a novel, a good novel, and I was enthralled by the author's very realistic creation of the country's people and mentality. Madeleine Brent must have gone to China or at least lived there for part of her life. The China in Moonraker's is incredibly tangible: you can see the business of the merchant street in Chengfu, and you can feel Lucy's humbleness due to the chauvinist pride of males surrounding Lucy in the village of Tsin Kai-feng (and really in all the Chinese towns/villages mentioned).

I read about a chapter just now with a glorious bottle of Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss beer (HIGHLY recommended, by the way), and when I was done, I immediately set the book down to start blogging about it. I even feel compelled to start writing an adaptation script; I've known for a while I loved this book and wanted to turn it into a movie, but tonight I had even more vision for this goal. I don't know why; maybe someday I'll write the script and go for it.

But maybe I should stop saying "someday" and just make that today. There are many things that I've wanted to do for a while that I should really just do. And Moonraker's Bride may be the springboard to get me going on those things.

It will be a good script. Trust me.


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