What first drew me to the town of Harmony (besides the serenity of its locale) was its population of 18. I wondered how in a state like California could there still be a town with such a fictionally small number of residents. When I began building the cast of characters that lived in Life in Harmony, I surrounded the central couple with other couples in various stages of marriage. I wanted Kate and Michael to see examples of how each marriage is different. Here’s a rundown of the other couples of Harmony and the role they play in the story.
Beck and Lucy
Beck and Lucy are the mature couple who run the Acadia Inn (Acadia is derived from the Greek word for idyllic place/harmony with nature). They are an example what love looks like after years of marriage. They certainly argue but at the heart of their relationship is love. From Beck’s calling Lucy “a pretty little thing” as she is walking away to his speech at the dinner party where he tells everyone that if his wife (and daughter) believes in miracles that’s all he needs. He loves her so much that her beliefs surpass his own. Beck and Lucy are also an example of a happy life after the loss of a child. In addition, they help keep things light by providing some comic relief with those private details of married life (usually geared around toilets).
Sunny and Holla
Our hippie couple reminds us the book is set in California where people freely live by their own set of rules. I wanted their kumbaya, melting-pot religious philosophy to counter what Ruth was selling. Make no mistake they are selling their lifestyle. They seem a “sunny” and the happy couple whose pick-and-choose philosophy appears to work for them (on the surface).
I encourage you to look at the journey Holla is on in the book. It is a subtle story. She is quick to caution Kate about Ruth’s God but motherhood is changing her. She wants different things now that she has her son. What seemed like her path before, may not be working for her. She has doubts about her beliefs and wants there to be more to life than what Sunny is selling. She also wants reassurances that her deceased father’s life did not just end. Her story is a work in progress that comes to an understated conclusion at the end of the book. Father Tom leads those gathered in prayer and the chapter ends with As Father Tom prayed, Raye bowed her head and without thinking so did Holla.
Stan and Tess
The last couple in Harmony is one that is only together in one of the first chapters. Stan and Tess are the couple having dinner in Juanita’s that first night Kate and Michael visit Harmony. They are a punk rock couple who seem out-of-place in the peaceful setting. They argue. It is ugly. Tess walks out and we never see her again in the book.
Stan and Tess remind Kate of what she sees in her own faulty marriage. It was two chapters before where we see Kate and Michael fight in much the same way. Kate herself wonders if staying married is the right choice for her. Stan and Tess’s breakup signifies that all is not peaceful in Harmony. There is reality and choices to be made. Kate wonders if like Tess she will walk out. I can tell you there is certainly more to the Stan and Tess story but the rest of it was left out of this book.
Life in Harmony is about Kate and Michael. It was an editorial decision that details in Stan and Tess’s story was left out entirely. I know it leaves unanswered questions in their journey and I apologize. Perhaps that is a story for another book
With these three couples, we see a marriage that works in the long run, one that ends abruptly and one that seems alright on the surface but may be beginning to crack. They are examples for us to compare the main characters’ relationship to and hopefully add richness to the story.
Small disclaimer: The residents in the novel, Life in Harmony, are all fictional characters and are not likenesses of the actual residents of Harmony. While some may share trades and locations as those in the real town of Harmony, they are works of fiction. I know the book’s website, harmonynovel.com, does a fantastic job of blurring the lines of reality and fiction but the book is and always has been a work of fiction.
Living in the smallest of towns with an array of hippies, farmers and artists, who are as different as they are close, can be taxing enough without the realization that some of Harmony’s residents may not be what they appear. When Michael and Kate uproot their lives in LA after a miscarriage and move to Harmony, CA (Population 18), they had no idea they’d be sharing their home with a spiritual apparition of a four-year-old girl named Ruby. “Life in Harmony” entertains the thought that the trials we face happen for a reason, and sometimes it takes supernatural intervention for us to understand ourselves, our relationships and the world around us.
Life in Harmony is available now from Pangloss Sea. Click one of the links below to purchase the book today!
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