Annd . . . what do I think so far? Buy it--Buy it now!
Nothing can be worse for Cat than the plans her evil-step-mother-to-be has in mind. She's throwing her a party. Not just any party, but a sweet sixteen extravaganza! Complete with hundreds of guests and MTV cameras roaming the event.
What do you mean you don't get it?
Cat spends her time trying not to be noticed or recognized. Too much of her life is public because of her famous parents--well, more because of her movie star diva (in every sense of the word) mom than her behind-the camera movie director dad. Her mother left when she was just 5, and has produced one scandal after another that Cat hides from. She is into art, especially the Italian Renaissance, not the social life Hollywood offers.
While site-seeing in Florence, Italy, she stops at a gypsy's tent (tea leaves, chanting, and candlelit shadows) and is thrown back in time, five centuries back to an ancestor's home and family. Yup, real gypsy with real time-travel mojo skills. Long story short, she falls in love but not with the man she is supposed to marry, who is creepy and nearly old enough to be her father, ewwww. She had to find a way back to her own time--quick!
Making a Love Match
Maybe there are stories out there that don't have at least a love-subplot, but I'll probably never buy one. This basic human need, looking for that special person who complements your unique life, struggling to find a balance between each other's desires, sharing the deepest intimacies, is the core of creating societies and families. Ahhh.
So how do we know then, as authors, when we throw two characters together that they will have a spark that ignites love or war?
For love, just like in real life, the couple needs to have similarities and difference. Something brings them together; love of music, sports fans, life's goals. But they are not so much alike to be boring to each other. His strengths complement her needs, just as hers will do likewise for him. They have enough differences too to maintain their own identities--that keeps the other partner discovering over and over new facets to admire.
A couple of examples...
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy
Similarities: They both value family highly and are fiercely loyal to them. They were peers, though Darcy believed her family to be beneath him. Differences: He is used to having people fall all over him but he keeps strict protection over his private life. She is self-assured, outspoken and witty. He needs to learn to put others needs without getting something in return. He wants to be loved without judgment. She needs to be loved for herself and not held to the collective judgement against her family's actions.
= Love Match
Beauty and the Beast
Similarities: Both are ostracized from the community, though he's a litter further out being under a magical spell that makes him less than human. Each will sacrifice their own lives to save someone they love. Powerful--his is physical and hers is from her heart Differences: He is ugly. She is beautiful. He is stagnant in his life. She is vibrant with insatiable curiosity. He needs to be reminded how to love, really love, not just need someone. He needs to find his own vulnerability. She needs someone who needs her but also recognizes her strengths. She wants to direct her own life.
= Love Match