One of the things an author always strives to do is to create an Epic Ending to a book. If the author can succeed in doing that, the reader will remember that ending, and, hopefully, that book.
I think the best epic endings are full of emotional truth. I remember watching the old romantic movie, An Affair To Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. One morning it was on TV so my daughter and I took a few minutes out of a busy day to watch THE one scene at the very end that is always gripping.
Actually, the ending is the only scene I ever really want to watch.
The scene is where Cary Grant is at the door. He’s basically reciprocated the brush-off that Kerr gave him. He stops and looks at her and talks about how he painted her wearing the lace mantilla, or shawl. He couldn’t take money for the painting so he told the gallery owner to give it to this young woman who fancied it because she liked it and because she was…
He pauses. His face reflects his thoughts as he begins putting two and two together. When he reaches four–even though that couldn’t possibly be correct, he’s thunderstruck. You can see the incredulity. Your heart literally clutches as he thinks, “No, it couldn’t be.”
He closes the door and comes back to the couch, placing his coat and hat on it. He goes to the other closed door in the room and opens it despite her protests. He sees the painting he’d been describing on the wall. More than that, he sees the shadow of a wheelchair.
That’s when he creates a memorable cinematic moment–a moment full of emotional truth. His face reflects how crushed he is, how his heart is in a vise as he realizes the woman he loves is indeed the woman in the wheelchair who visited the gallery and fancied the painting. He’s staggered by the knowledge. You see all this. You feel all this.
It’s a powerful scene full of heartbreak and love and grief at what has happened to her. From the ashes of that comes his joy at realizing she didn’t kick him to the curb because she didn’t love him because she loved him so much she wanted him to have a life with a wife who was “whole.” (You must remember this is an old movie from the 1950s when being in a wheelchair was even more devastating than it is today.)
Of course, my daughter and I were in tears when he goes to her and vows his love. Together they can be happy, but apart they’ll never be whole.
It’s the greatest of acting because of the actors’ ability to show that emotional truth. Cary Grant is so good in the scene that I forget he’s suave, debonair Cary Grant. He is Nicky, the devastated lover.
That’s an epic ending. I always try to create that kind of ending in my books. My latest is Second Chance Bride. You can judge for yourself whether I succeeded in my quest to make an ending that’s memorable.
Do you have a favorite ending in a book or movie that touches your emotions that way?
Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sassy, Sexy Contemporary Romance. All of her books have the same underlying theme: It’s never too late to live happily ever after. She lives her HEA with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Visit Joan online at her Blog and Website. Follow her at: Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page * BookBub Author Page. Sign up for Joan’s mailing list and be the first to know about new books and giveaways.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband.
They have 4 children who think they are adults and a ghost dog, all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter.
Joan lives the philosophy that is the premise of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”