Poisoned Apple, Anyone? – JL Merrow – Blog Post – Blow Down (Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #4)
Hi, I’m JL Merrow and I’m delighted to be here as part of the Blow Down blog tour.
Ah, stepmothers. They get such a bad press. But who is really to blame? The wicked stepmother trope has been around since time immemorial, and has been described as an archetype.
There ís a stepmother in Blow Down and itís safe to say she and her grown-up stepdaughter arenít exactly best buds although there, the fault is on both sides.
It ís easy to see how a child of whatever age might resent an interloper coming into the family to take the place of a much loved parentóand how the step-parent might come to resent the hostile child spoiling their happiness with the new spouse.
Whatís harder to see is why, in fairy tales, legends and folklore from around the world, itís always a stepmother who is portrayed as evil, and never a step father. One reason for this is that some retold fairy tales were given a little selective editing by the Brothers Grimm among others, as the original tales involved an evil birth mother, which was apparently far too shocking a concept (and considering some of the stuff they left in, like red-hot shoes and body parts being lopped off willy nilly)
So the original wicked stepmother was in fact just an archetype of perverted motherhood: the woman who schemes against her own children (and is generally soundly, and often disproportionately, punished at the end of the tale.)
It ís the flipside of the tendency, in stories, to see mothers (especially dead ones) as saintly, perfect figures, sacrificing all for their childrenóand woe betide anyone who dares to interfere with the sacred bond of motherhood. Fathers can be fallible, human figures; mothers must be perfect stereotypes or they’re irredeemably wicked.
Which in its turn has invidious effects on women parenting today after all, who can live up to that ideal?
Throughout history, there are many examples of women’s power being limited by disinformation and counterfactual stereotypes ñ Jenna Sauers, http://jezebel.com/5398093/the-wicked- stepmother-just- another-way- of-keeping-women-down
And as for fathers: well, when it comes to parenting their own kids they’re often relegated in the popular view to the role of helpless dilettantes, always getting it wrong.
That ís the real poisoned apple the fairy tales have given us.
Question: Readers, what do you think about fairy tales and their stereotypes? Harmless fun or truly grimm? 😉 Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
Death is what happens when you’re making other plans.
The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents. Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiance, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer – and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself. As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all different directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love – and all their plans for the future – could be blown down like a house of straw.
Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.
JL Merrow is that rare beast, and English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team. Find JL Merrow online at www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jl.merrow
Prizes! I’m offering a prize of a signed paperback copy of winner’s choice from the first three Plumberís Mate Mysteries, plus a $10 gift certificate. I’m happy to ship worldwide, and I’ll throw in some small goodies as well. 🙂