Is it true that opposites attract (with relationships, as well as magnets)? Are we more likely to seek out people with different personalities/talents to our own? And will those relationships thrive?
I once assumed this to be the case. Observing partnerships, it has often seemed that one person is introverted/tidy/detail-conscious while the other is outgoing/disorganised/big-pictureish. Not in terms of those particular combinations but in that they are different from each other. But the problem with my theory was that occasionally a couple wouldn’t fit into my box. They were both disorganised/workaholic/relaxed. They were just too…alike.
Research out there is patchy. However, most of it points towards complimentary personalities rather than diametrically opposed ones. We are drawn to those who have similar outlooks, interests and basic temperaments while other aspects of our characters will work together to form a strong, effective partnership.
So I’m more creative; the OH is practical. My energy comes from people; his from being alone. But we share political views, a love of books, travel. Crucially, we have the same faith and world view. As the years have passed, I think we’ve learned from each other. These days I need my own company as much as other people’s; he knows how to party. I’m more organised; he’s more creative. But he still hoovers before I would. I insist on days out/holidays when he wouldn’t. But it works and I’m grateful.
Why am I pontificating about this today? Well, it’s because it’s PUBLICATION DAY!! for Sue Russell’s latest, The Wounds of Time, her ninth book. This is full of her trademark warmth and perception about people and the predicaments they get into. The story is about Janet Clarke, who appeared in one of Sue’s previous books, The Healing Knife as a minor character. Janet is Senior Clerk at Hartington Chambers, a strong, independent woman with a satisfying career and contented family life. She has always known what she’s wanted, pulling away from a disturbing past and working hard to achieve it. But all is not as it seems. The past, from which we work hard to escape, has a way of catching up with us.
At the heart of the book is Janet’s relationship with husband, Bob. Janet prides herself on being self-reliant, strong. She has come through a great deal to get where she is today and intends to make the most of it. Her self-image is robustly linked to her considerable achievements and the respect she has worked hard to win among colleagues. She is well liked. But there are hard edges to her which clearly provoke a measure of disquiet at times, in all her relationships. Interestingly, and unbeknown to her, her vulnerabilities could be her greatest strengths. But having spent so long hiding them, this is not an option for her when things begin to fall apart. In Janet’s book, resilience and strength are to be prized.
Bob, however is gentle and supportive. As a paramedic, his primary motivation in life is to help others, which he finds rewarding both professionally and personally. Despite the unsociable hours and unpredictable demands of his own job, he goes out of his way to support Janet in hers – shopping, cooking and generally providing the back-up she needs due to long hours and pressured deadlines. This doesn’t seem to bother him as in many ways, he’s more home-oriented than his wife. While Janet is devoted to their son, Drew, it is Bob who had wanted children. Janet is guarded, Bob is is a talker. Janet strives constantly to improve everything within reach, including a home in a better area. Bob is content where they are.
However, as the story unfolds, the reader beings to wonder whether either of them are really getting what they need from the relationship. Or if they are in fact pulling in very different directions.
The Wounds of Time is a thoroughly enjoyable read, a blend of contemporary fiction, family drama and suspense. The plot is well paced, the characters believable. Once you enter the world of a Sue Russell book, whether it be medicine, law or family dysfunction, you live in it so completely that you emerge after the last page with a blink of surprise. I would heartily recommend all 9 of them. CONGRATULATIONS Sue on your publication day!!
You can buy The Wounds of Time here
You can read more about the book, including interviews with Sue, on the blogs of the other authors involved in the blog tour: –
I am also a writer of fiction, among other things. My debut novel Braver comes out on the 30th June this year, published by the wonderful Fairlight Books. You can find out more about it by clicking the Books tab in the menu above, or on their website