Through the Mist: Restoration is really Tilly’s story. I will try not to give away too much in this post, because some people are either reading the book now or have not discovered it yet.
Tilly Munro is a strong woman. She was a babysitter before she was old enough to legally work a “real job.” When she was of age, she worked part time throughout high school. Once she entered college, she worked as a waitress. That’s where she met her best friend Beth.
Her entire life has been work, work, work. Her background was humble. Her mother was a school teacher, a job that sadly does not pay well. Her father made furniture at a factory until it closed. He was unable to find work after the factory closure. Money was always tight. If Tilly wanted anything, she had to work for it. This included her college education.
I modeled Tilly after the amazing women of the area in which I live. I have personally known some of them and read about others. The people who settled here in the 1700s were resilient. It was not an easy place to live. That same courage and determination runs deep in the DNA of their descendants. I wanted to capture that spirit in Tilly. She experiences a life-altering event, yet, in her mind, she must pick herself up and move on. She cannot conceive of any other choice.
When we begin her story, it is one year after this event. She has taken the first steps toward creating a new life. She wants to turn the page, so to speak, and start living again. Her life has been on “pause.” She agrees to take a road trip through Scotland with Beth. She feels it will be a nice way to start the next chapter. She never imagined the changes that await her.
I confess that I debated if one year was enough time. In the original draft, I described life days after it happened. Tilly and Beth began their adventure a few months later. I changed it because that timeframe was way too soon. Also, the chapters were so depressing. I wanted the story to be uplifting but doubted anyone could stick around long enough to get to the juicy bits. After all, this was supposed to be a “fun” story. There is nothing “fun” about the weeks following what happened to Tilly. To pretend that there is would do a great disservice to anyone who has gone through this event.
So, is one year long enough to wait? As I examined her character, I felt it was. Tilly would allow herself to grieve but would not be consumed by it. In her life, she never had the ability to sit still. She must keep moving.
I view this book as a story of hope and strength. Let’s not forget that Benjamin too has his own tragedy. Both characters could choose to be bitter, and no one would blame them. Instead, they decide move forward. They decide to be brave and choose love.
Next week, I will continue the discussion about Tilly. I want to discuss the state of her marriage to Alex. I hint about it in the book but do not go into a great deal of detail. Knowing a bit more about her past experience with love will be interesting – or at least I believe it is!