Larissa Stark is many things. Wife, mother, devoted friend, and unhappy. Her seemingly charmed life in a New Jersey suburb should leave her fulfilled and content. Instead, she feels increasingly isolated and empty. But when she has a chance encounter with an intriguing stranger, her idyllic existence is exposed for the sham it is and leads her to question everything she once firmly believed.
As Larissa is faced with one impossible choice after another, she begins to contemplate the unthinkable and struggles with the question that will inevitably change the course of her life: how does one woman follow a divided heart?
Spanning the affluent suburbs of New Jersey, the slums of Manila, and the desolate beauty of the Australian outback, A Song in the Daylight is an unforgettable, powerful story of the bonds that unite us—and the desires that can ultimately drive us apart.
From the Author:
Who is Larissa Stark when she is at home?
Once when I was on a book tour, a man walked past me with his wife, and the store manager welcomed him with a chipper, “Here we have the renowned internationally bestselling author Paullina Simons signing her new novel—”
Passing me by, the man appraised me with cold disdain and said: “Who’s Paullina Simons when she is at home?”
I’d never heard that expression before, and my publicist had to gently explain that he meant nothing good by it.
In A Song in the Daylight, my main character spends the course of the novel answering that very question: Who is Larissa Stark when she is at home? Home is a beautiful house in New Jersey, in a beautiful town with beautiful kids and a dog and good loving husband. Larissa is a beautiful woman.
Life seems so good.
While food shopping for her family at the local market, Larissa meets an exotic stranger on a motorbike. And just like that, many of the things she believed were true about her life vanish one by one. She begins a consuming, life-altering affair with a man completely wrong for her. Love transports her to a world outside the real world, yet which is more real than the world in which she lives. Love of this kind is beyond good and evil, writes C.S. Lewis. “[It] tends to claim for itself a divine authority”
Larissa finds herself marching behind a banner of autonomy, choice, free will, and self-fulfillment. What if you had made your choice long ago, and in the middle of your happy, comfortable, want-for-nothing life, you suddenly wanted a different life?
Almost everything Larissa reads and listens to tells her to be true to herself. All the self-help, self-improvement books say it, all the songs declare it. Be good to yourself. Love yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one will take care of you. Be truthful. What good is living a lie? Life is too short. We only have our one little life. Choose well.
Faithhopelove, but the greatest of these is Love. Even St. Paul agreed. Love trumps all.
To be true to yourself, sometimes you have to make tough choices, do difficult things. Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. More clichés to help Larissa along. The heart wants what it wants. The whole point of coming up to roads not taken is to take them. Steer your own boat. Sail your own seas. Fly your own plane. Emphasis always on own.
On the surface, A Song in the Daylight is about all-consuming passion. But that forbidden love is a vehicle for the other things I was interested in exploring in Larissa’s story. What is the thing that propels us toward one choice or another, toward one life or another? How do we make decisions that could alter the course of our life and the lives of everyone we know?
In many of the books I’ve read, the romantic hero follows a familiar path. A man, often on a horse, rejects societal norms and conventions, turns his back on his community, and places only himself at the center of his universe as he heads out on his adventure. In A Song in the Daylight, I was interested in a different perspective. What if this romantic hero were a woman? And not just a woman, but a wife and a mother. What would her rejection of societal norms and conventions look like? What would her adventure be?
What fascinated me about Larissa’s story was the question of why do we make the choices we do? What compels us to choose one thing over another, and what are the consequences of those choices? A Song in the Daylight is the story of a woman on a horse, the center of her own existence, rejecting the rules of society, stripping her life of all the good and bad, and choosing to follow her own heart. For the romantic heroine, where would her future lie, where would her redemption be?
So, who is Larissa Stark when she is at home?
Before she met the man on a bike, she was just another well-heeled wife with a husband, kids, and house on her hands. Then Larissa fell in love.
No greater fortune could befall her.
No greater misfortune could befall her.
I hope you will read and enjoy my new novel, A Song in the Daylight.