In the autumn of 2000, James LaGarenne and his wife, Nanci, answered a call for the "Greatest Love Story Never Told" They both submitted the story of their marriage -- without each other's knowledge -- to a contest William Morrow launched in collaboration with Redbook magazine and Women.com. Their powerful tale profoundly moved the judges, who selected Jimmy's entry as the winner. And now, brought to life by novelist Caroline Upcher, their story will touch your heart as well.From the moment she saw Jimmy LaGarenne riding his bike down her neighborhood street, eighth-grader Nanci DeSerio was smitten. But it wasn't until three years later, the first time she saw Jimmy cry, that they truly fell in love. Both were growing up in the liberating but confusing sixties as children of Brooklyn cops, and knew by the age of nineteen they'd be together forever.When they realized not long afterward that Nancl was pregnant, they were married. And though the rushed wedding wasn't the fairy tale for which they'd hoped, their wide-eyed young devotion surely was.But fairy tales fade, and real life can be the enemy of romance. Over the years disappointment and distance gradually chipped away at their love. Finally, all appeared lost on a bitter-cold Christmas Day when they realized they were within a whisper of divorce.What happened next, however, is the kind of miracle that makes Nanci and Jimmy's everyday story into an extraordinary one. A moving and inspiring tale of rescued love, it contains a message for each of us ...
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Caroline Upcher has worked in film, publishing, and journalism. She is the author of Falling for Mr. Wrong, The Visitor's Book, and Grace and Favor. She wrote two novels pseudonymously as Carly McIntyre (Next of Kin and Saskia) as well as Naomi Campbell's novel, Swan. Formerly of London, she now lives in Amagansett, New York.From Publishers Weekly:
Every now and then, the story behind a book's publication is more interesting than the novel itself. This one was the grand prize winner of a contest held by Morrow, Redbook magazine and women.com for "The Greatest Love Story Never Told," in which contestants were urged to write about their own heartwarming experiences. The La Garennes' prize-winning story was turned into this novel written by Upcher (Falling for Mr. Wrong). It opens in the 22nd year of Nanci and Jimmy's marriage, with the couple sleeping in separate bedrooms and on the brink of breaking up. It is the Christmas season, and as the couple contemplates filing divorce papers, they begin to review their shared history: their early attraction in Brooklyn, shotgun wedding, two children, love and dreams, and the trials that led to the decline in their relationship. In fact, most of the book involves past history, clich‚s clinking all over the place ("He played her like she was a musical instrument, tuning her body until she was rising and falling in rhythm to his every touch"). Short sentences demand nothing from the reader and an overall treacly sweetness makes this an ideal candidate for the '50s magazine column "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" However, the presence of a few contemporary problems including drug abuse may make this tale more timely for readers looking for happy-ever-after endings. (Sept. 18)Forecast: Savvy marketing should bring this uplifting weeper to the attention of romance readers. The combined audience on HarperCollins', Redbook's and women.com Web sites will get sales rolling. That James La Garenne and his wife both entered the contest unbeknownst to each other, and the husband's version won, adds an O. Henry twist to a story made for media exploitation.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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