The first book that I remember wanting to read again as soon as I turned the final page was Margaret Mitchell’s epic, “Gone With The Wind”.

I had purchased a paperback version of the sweeping historical classic at a school book fair. To this day I have no idea why. I didn’t come from a literary family.There was no guidance on classics to read, or suggestions on newly published tomes to enjoy. All I can remember is being entranced by the red and yellow cover that promised women in fancy dress clothes and passionate men sweeping them off their feet. As a pre-teen romantic, that was enough for me.

When I read the final page completed by Scarlett O’Hara’s plantive, “After all, tomorrow is another day,” a sadness welled up within my being. It was a melancholy that the story was over and that the GWTW characters who had become a real part of my only-child-latch-key world were now gone.

The feeling was so intense that within weeks, I began reading the book again, once more enjoying the passionate sparks between Scarlett and Rhett, agonizing over the romantic angst between the head strong southern belle and the weak-willed Ashley. Once again I was immersed in a literary place that fulfilled my young world in a way that was exciting, interesting and comforting—as if I belonged there.

I have never forgotten that experience and the realization of what reading could add to my life. Books literally allowed me to experience a world that gapped all the joys, sorrows and challenges of reality, becoming a life-changing experience.

Today I received an email from a Crown Hill reader. It was a kind note filled with praise for my writing and for the depth of my characters that became “real” during her Crown Hill journey.Then came the line that was beyond any praise I could have conceived. “I fully intend to read this wonderful Crown Hill again, which is something I’ve only done with a handful of books, GWTW, Kathrine by Anya Seton, Green Darkness by Anya Seton, and Mists of Avalon.”.

Never did I imagine that one day someone would feel the same way about my writing as I have long felt about Margaret Mitchell’s eloquent classic, or that my work would ever be mentioned in the same sentence with Gone With The Wind. And as the wonders of my Crown Hill journey continue to take me to places far beyond my dreams and wishes, I am grateful to Margaret Mitchell for allowing me to experience the magic of becoming lost in the world of books.