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Nicole Baart | Happily Ever After

Beneath The Night Tree
Nicole Baart




Barnes & Noble

Powell's Books


Indie BookShop

February 2011
On Sale: February 1, 2011
Featuring: Julia DeSmit
290 pages
ISBN: 1414323239
EAN: 9781414323237
Kindle: B004JKMXPC
Trade Size / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Nicole Baart:
Everything We Didn't Say, November 2021
Add to review list
You Were Always Mine, October 2018
The Beautiful Daughters, May 2015
Sleeping In Eden, June 2013

I have love on the brain. Not sure why... Maybe it's because my kids are still ruining their teeth on leftover Valentine’s Day candy. Maybe it's because I just wrote a short scene depicting my protagonist's first crush. Maybe it's because I'm going through an Ingrid Michaelson stage--and especially adoring "The Hat," a sweet and soulful song about first love. Anyway, all this talk about first love has me thinking about my own.

My first love was the first boy who I found attractive on a million different levels. Of course I had found boys "cute" before, but my first love was funny, charming, intelligent, talented in so very many ways, and attractive on top of it all. I got to know him as a friend over the course of two and a half years, all the while loving him in secret and mourning every time he fell for another girl--and tripped over himself to race to my side so he could tell me all about it. Sigh. Anyway, when he finally woke up and realized that he just might love me, too, I had already found the strength to let go of him. It was too little, too late. My heart had moved on. Awww... Isn't that a sad story? Tragedy in the fragility of our full little hearts and all that sappiness.

Actually, tragic or happily-ever-after, I just adore these sorts of stories. We are so complicated, our stories are so multi-layered and diverse, so labyrinthine and unplottable. I adore the fullness of life, and love, that we are allowed to experience. And I find the pain beautifully bittersweet--maybe not at the moment, but oh, the perspective afterward...

In my newest book, BENEATH THE NIGHT TREE, I explore the concept of love: first love, true love, lasting love. When I began writing, I believed that I knew the end to Julia’s story. However, as the pages of the book began to unfold they took on a life of their own. Love is a many splendored thing, or so the saying goes, and both in my own life and in the lives of the characters I have the privilege to dream up, I’m continually astounded by the surprising nature of love. As Julia muses in the book, “Our searching souls pursue happy endings. And the heart is capable of great and deceiving beauty.” Her fairy tale ending doesn’t look quite like she always imagined it would.

As for me, I didn't marry my first love. I married my last, and best, love. And I like looking back at the journey that led me to my Aaron, knowing that every step along the way, even the heartbreaks, were designed to prepare my heart for his. Saccharine, but true. And as we continue to fumble our way toward forever, I welcome each leg of the journey. Even the detours that seem to lead anywhere but happily ever after.

Thinking about your own first love? Your version of happily ever after? I’d love to keep the dialogue going! Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for BENEATH THE NIGHT TREE. I’ll send a signed copy of the book to one lucky winner. Happy reading!

Nicole Baart




44 comments posted.

Re: Nicole Baart | Happily Ever After

I as well went through 'trials' before finding the one that was right for me. At the time I thought these people were the one's but it's not until you meet the 'one' that you begin to realize just how foolish you were to ever think those in the past could of been the true person to live the rest of your life with.
(Kasey Armstrong 12:33pm February 18, 2011)

I was with two other men for quite a while before I found the man who was right for me. At the time I thought those men I was with before were the right one, and eventually I found out the hard way that they werent' for me..
(Brenda Rupp 2:26am February 18, 2011)

My own first love did not go well. We had nothing much in common & he loved himself more than me. Sad, but true.
(Mary Preston 2:31am February 18, 2011)

Loved him, dumped him, married another, got dumped, dated, ended up with the first one and been married over 30 years!
(Cate Sparks 5:52am February 18, 2011)

Still looking for "the one", at this stage in my life I don't think I'll find him.
(Lisa Avila 6:38am February 18, 2011)

I have done some dumping, and been the one dumped. Still haven't found mr.right yet. If I do, I do, and if I don't, well I always have my cat.
(Debbie Penny 6:48am February 18, 2011)

I can truthfully say that my husband is my first, last and only true love.
(Marjorie Carmony 7:09am February 18, 2011)

My first "love" turned out to be first "infatuation" but it sure didn't feel like it
at the time. I was head over heels in love and it was traumatic to learn
that he was pining over an ex-girlfriend of mine. She wasn't interested but
seemed to enjoy the attention.
(Mona Garg 7:39am February 18, 2011)

Nicole, thank you for your wonderful blog. I found it beautiful and quite moving. My first love broke my heart over and over again. Each time taking from my heart a little bit of the love I felt for him until there was nothing left. In the end that is what made it easy to walk away. I love how you put it and agree it prepared me for my final and true love, my husband Joe.
(Christine Stack 8:28am February 18, 2011)

At 16, for some reason I knew who the person was who I was going to marry. He was a bit older than I was, and we both went our separate ways for a while, but got back together years later through a mutual friend. During those years we were separated, I never forgot about him, and apparantly he didn't, either, because he proposed to me shortly after we got back together. We have been married for 29 years now, so I suppose it was destiny that brought us together all of those years ago.
(Peggy Roberson 8:30am February 18, 2011)

I've been in love with love before but only the real thing once and I wasn't smart enough to know that. I once had a relationship that lasted ten years on and off. Every time he wanted to marry, I just couldn't do it. He'd leave and get married, invite me to the nuptials, then two years later he'd be divorced. He's on a fifth wife now, but I quit being the fall back girl after wife # 3 didn't work out and I ended up saying not this time. Even though he kept coming back to me, I didn't feel like I could ever be the happily ever after bride with him, even though he kept saying I was the reason for the divorces. I wouldn't sleep with a married man. I didn't have enough faith in his vows to enter them myself. Wife #5 and I didn't even give him my phone number after #3. I'm just not up to the games.

People are always telling me that I was being hit on by one guy or another, but I don't think I know how to recognize it anymore. Too easy to not see the interest and just not even play the game of love.
(Christina Harrison 8:40am February 18, 2011)

My first love is still a very good friend of mine but my husband is my soul mate and my very best friend. Forever with him is it for me. He is a great man, a great friend, a great lover...I wouldn't trade him for anyone or anything!
(Dawn Staniszeski 8:57am February 18, 2011)

I married my first love. Previous to meeting this wonderful man, I was too busy with family issues and school, and then work to get involved in dating. We started going out as friends and found out that it was much more.
(G. Bisbjerg 9:36am February 18, 2011)

"True Love" comes in all sizes and at all ages. My first one was a boy in
elementary school (I rode bikes with his "gang") and was the only girl. My
second was soooo good looking all the girls in middle school loved him. My
third was a great guy I dated in high school who, in the end, was more like a
brother. And my last and REALLY true love and now my husband of 48+
years I met in college and never let go.
(Sandra Spilecki 10:48am February 18, 2011)

I enjoy reading about happily-ever-after but I'm not sure if it happens in life all that often, I beleive that your life is what YOU make it not what a love can do.
(Vickie Hightower 10:53am February 18, 2011)

My first love was the schools "bad boy" whom I'm still with^^
(Melissa Sanchez Dempsey 10:56am February 18, 2011)

Never really had a serious relationship. Had many 'love from afar' experiences. The boys just didn't like me that way...I had a lot of boy friends....but never a real boyfriend...sigh. I was convinced I would end up a spinster.

Until I met my husband and that was a whirlwind romance that has laster 33 years and is still going very strong!!!

in Germany
(Valerie Bongards 11:20am February 18, 2011)

I don't know that I was ever "in love" (probably more "in-like") before I met my husband, but I knew he was the one and we have been married 37 years!
(Marguerite Guinn 11:42am February 18, 2011)

My first love was the man I was married to for forty-seven years until he died.
(Wilma Frana 11:44am February 18, 2011)

First love as true love. That's such a sweet idea and perfect for a romance novel, but only for the lucky in real life. I still like reading about it though!
(Pamela Stewart 12:01pm February 18, 2011)

My first love was a boy I met in 5th grade. That love carried me into high school. It was a case of love from afar though, because we never really spoke much.

During college, I met two men who I thought was the one. The first one was a rat, and it didn't take me long to realize it. The second one cheated on me, but came back right before I was to marry my wonderful husband of 37 years now. I couldn't beleve that he wanted me to break off my relationship with my DH and marry him instead. I have often wondered what happened to him, but I have never been sorry that I married my DH. He is the one true love of my life.
(Cathy Phillips 12:09pm February 18, 2011)

My first love was someone I loved from afar. We ran into each other while we were both in high school. We interacted on a daily basis but I couldn't tell him love him. I was with him when he was dating several girls but he has never thought of me anymore than a friend.

If I have my happily ever after, it would be meeting him again and that he would noticed me in a different light than being just a friend back then.
(Kai Wong 12:14pm February 18, 2011)

My first and second loves just didn't work out---but this last one is a keeper.
(Sue Farrell 1:22pm February 18, 2011)

Just like Kai Wong I had a friend in high school that had to
many girls to notice me. We stayed friends because we just
like the way we think about life and had fun together.
Years later we got together and today we are marry for 16
years and have two great boys. The best thing is that we
are still friends and we still enjoy our time together.
(Cynthia Plaza-Harney 1:30pm February 18, 2011)

Childhood sweet hearts, now married 40 yrs..........happy and still in love!!!

2 grown sons and 2 grandsons, with 2 daughterin laws.
(Joanne Bozik 1:48pm February 18, 2011)

Married almost 42 years - 2 kids, 1 beautiful granddaughter.

Hope everyone has a wonderful w/e.

This book looks great.
(Pat Lieberman 1:50pm February 18, 2011)

This book looks like something I would enjoy.

I was married for over 60 years with 2 children, 4 grandchildren and one greatgranddaughter,.
(Helen Livermore 2:10pm February 18, 2011)

Thank you for your post and questions, Nicole.

Frankly, I wish romance publishers and editors would allow us to read stories that DON'T end happily ever after. All we get is relentlessly upbeat, feel-good fiction, in which feisty (a word I hate) heroines always tame arrogant, egotistical heroes. Sure, there's a huge market for these power fantasies; but what about romance for the rest of us?

In real life there's no such thing as happily ever after. Even the most blissful union will eventually end in death.

Pain, loss, unrequited love, complications outside the formulas for romance fiction---all these are part of love in real life. It would mean so much if we could read and write about them. Why can't we?

I know; they're not commercial. But if enough of us demanded them, they would be!
(Mary Anne Landers 2:53pm February 18, 2011)

I love reading the books that give us love, romance and happily ever after (what does happily ever after really mean?) because these books let me escape.

I'm in a long term relationship where I know I'm loved. He's not a romantic man (don't get flowers or trinkets, etc.), but he makes sure I have everything I need. There can be romance in the practical, right??
(Karen Cherubino 4:08pm February 18, 2011)

My second husband waited for me to grow up and turn around to see him there. I wanted to experience everything that I thought was fun, exciting and a bit dangerous and really needed that stable rock in my life. I did turn around and we dated, lived together and married. I'm not sure when I fell in love with him, but with all that loving care it was easy. Those wild 60's sure were hectic and rewarding.
(Rosemary Simm 4:12pm February 18, 2011)

Sometimes, even the one that you thought was your last love turns out to be just another building block to the "real" one. ;)
(Kelli Jo Calvert 4:14pm February 18, 2011)

First loves might be hard to forget, but I wonder if they are
really as we "remember" or if they are an imaginative person
who meets much of our criteria romantically? Suppose it
depends on how old one was at the time. My REAL love is my
husband of 41+ years!
(Leanna Morris 5:18pm February 18, 2011)

I'm friends with my first love on Facebook. I'm glad he dumped me so I'd be available for my husband!!!
(Renee Pajda 6:06pm February 18, 2011)

The book sounds wonderful. My first marriage was a disaster,but I've been married to my second husband for 32 years. Thanks for giving me chance to win your
(Linda Hall 6:24pm February 18, 2011)

I would love to win this book. It sounds like a great read.

Married over 5 years with a wonderful husband and a sweet little girl.
(Karen Triolo 7:21pm February 18, 2011)

Haven't found him yet.
Sounds like a good read!
(Diane Sallans 8:49pm February 18, 2011)

I fell in love once and it ended badly. I'm not anxious to try it again, maybe ever.
(Margaret Konczal 9:10pm February 18, 2011)

I didn't marry my first love, and looking back I know that God had someone else in mind for me.
(Lisa Garrett 9:56pm February 18, 2011)

This book sounds great.
Have not found my one true love yet...but when I do I think I will know him quickly.
(June Manning 12:31pm February 19, 2011)

I thought I'd found my one & only years ago, but it didn't work out. I've also found that since then, I've (usually unconciously, but sometimes conciously) measured every man I've been involved with by him. I'm still single, needless to say. It's quite hard to turn something like this off, especially when you don't really realize you're doing it. I've wondered over the years what has happened to him, but haven't had the guts, courage, or will to Google him to try to find out, even though I'm very curious!


(Lynn Rettig 6:14pm February 19, 2011)

I wish I would find my true love; I've long given up---but yet, in the back of my mind, what if-------
sounds like a good book:)
(Barbara Studer 7:08pm February 19, 2011)

First love is a great thing to experience and would be an enjoyable read.....
(Gina Borkowski 10:40am February 20, 2011)

I've loved romance books since i was a teenager. Thanks for being a romance author. You make me hope for the impossible.
(Franlyn Aponte 10:37pm February 23, 2011)

My first "love" was more or less a secret. He never knew how smitten I was to this day.
(Alyson Widen 10:54pm February 27, 2011)

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