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Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters


thewanderingjew wrote:

You know, I was just thinking, off the cuff, am I the only one who thinks that there was a lot of promiscuity for that time and place?  Maybe I am assuming that moral standards were stricter then just because I don't know any better. My dad said the only real smart person knows they have a lot left to learn...maybe I forgot that message.
What if they just didn't discuss it as openly as we do  today, but it was prevalent behavior behind closed doors? Maybe these characters were simply doing what everyone else did, in those times. Maybe promiscuity was common practice. I am just thinking "out loud".


My own understanding is that 1.  there was a lot of unsanctioned sexual activity going on in the years before we got so open about it, but also  2.  there is more in absolute terms going on now (or say in recent decades) than there was earlier.   So, yes, some number of teens were having sex, but no one (them or their parents) would talk about it,  and now it is far more commonplace.  Given reliable birth control and the later dates for first marriages, who in the world is expecting a virgin bride today?   The Kinsey Report, coming out in 1948, was an absolute bombshell of a study, and kind of blew the lid off all the secrecy.  Teens were having sex, women (not just men) were having extramarital affairs,  positions other than missionary were fairly commonplace.  From that point on, it was hard NOT to talk about it.   Within 15 years, effective means of birth control began to be available and the feminist movement encouaged - in fact, insisted upon - the recognition of a woman's right to own her sexualtiy and enjoy it as she pleased.   In a novel, we're privy to information that is unknown to the public.  We learn that the incident between Graciela and Karel becomes 'known' to a degree, but that doesn't mean the whole town knew.  Likewise, with Karel and Elizka.  I'm sure she's furious when she realizes he's been careless about possibly impregnating her, not only because she doesn't want to burden her life with a child, but also because of the public embarassment it would cause, no doubt to the detriment of her business.   Today, she could simply smile and say she's decided she wants to have a child, and no one would even blink. 

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

Thank you, that was a great respons. Can you imagine if anyone tried to hide anything today? Elizka's indiscretion would go viral on the internet in minutes. Forget the whole town knowing, the whole world would!  After reading your post I was reminded of another old saying worthy of some thought which is "be careful what you wish for, you might get it!"


BookWoman718 wrote:

thewanderingjew wrote:

You know, I was just thinking, off the cuff, am I the only one who thinks that there was a lot of promiscuity for that time and place?  Maybe I am assuming that moral standards were stricter then just because I don't know any better. My dad said the only real smart person knows they have a lot left to learn...maybe I forgot that message.
What if they just didn't discuss it as openly as we do  today, but it was prevalent behavior behind closed doors? Maybe these characters were simply doing what everyone else did, in those times. Maybe promiscuity was common practice. I am just thinking "out loud".


My own understanding is that 1.  there was a lot of unsanctioned sexual activity going on in the years before we got so open about it, but also  2.  there is more in absolute terms going on now (or say in recent decades) than there was earlier.   So, yes, some number of teens were having sex, but no one (them or their parents) would talk about it,  and now it is far more commonplace.  Given reliable birth control and the later dates for first marriages, who in the world is expecting a virgin bride today?   The Kinsey Report, coming out in 1948, was an absolute bombshell of a study, and kind of blew the lid off all the secrecy.  Teens were having sex, women (not just men) were having extramarital affairs,  positions other than missionary were fairly commonplace.  From that point on, it was hard NOT to talk about it.   Within 15 years, effective means of birth control began to be available and the feminist movement encouaged - in fact, insisted upon - the recognition of a woman's right to own her sexualtiy and enjoy it as she pleased.   In a novel, we're privy to information that is unknown to the public.  We learn that the incident between Graciela and Karel becomes 'known' to a degree, but that doesn't mean the whole town knew.  Likewise, with Karel and Elizka.  I'm sure she's furious when she realizes he's been careless about possibly impregnating her, not only because she doesn't want to burden her life with a child, but also because of the public embarassment it would cause, no doubt to the detriment of her business.   Today, she could simply smile and say she's decided she wants to have a child, and no one would even blink. 


 

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Rosalie_01
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-17-2009

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

I have to say that at first read, I certainly viewed Elizka in a negative light for her tryst with Karel, and thereby adhering to the age old taboos (embarrassingly enough).  What brought me back to reality was the widow Vrana's reaction to Karel.  Her attitude somehow gave depth to Elizka.

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

I think you are right. She saw Karel for what he was, a man betraying his wife at a time when she needed him to be near her. Yet, she seemed to forgive him, almost shrugging it off as if to say, men, pshaw! Hmmm, there is that word forgiveness! I guess there are all degrees of forgiveness in the book that I was not aware of! You just opened my eyes.


Rosalie_01 wrote:

I have to say that at first read, I certainly viewed Elizka in a negative light for her tryst with Karel, and thereby adhering to the age old taboos (embarrassingly enough).  What brought me back to reality was the widow Vrana's reaction to Karel.  Her attitude somehow gave depth to Elizka.


 

Wordsmith
literature
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters


thewanderingjew wrote:

You know, I was just thinking, off the cuff, am I the only one who thinks that there was a lot of promiscuity for that time and place?  Maybe I am assuming that moral standards were stricter then just because I don't know any better. My dad said the only real smart person knows they have a lot left to learn...maybe I forgot that message.
What if they just didn't discuss it as openly as we do  today, but it was prevalent behavior behind closed doors? Maybe these characters were simply doing what everyone else did, in those times. Maybe promiscuity was common practice. I am just thinking "out loud".


Think back in history, even back to the bible, and everyone lain with everyone else.  Promiscuity is one of the so-to-speak-of sports (and I use that word very loosely) that has always been around and always will be around.  Bruce has written about it and a lot is to be read between the lines and leave us pondering.  Usually in book clubs, there is some discussions about this, but regular book clubs last for 1 - 2 hours and have maybe 20 or so participants.  Here, we are together for a month, have many more participants from all walks of life, and the responses are written rather than verbal, which makes it easier to read and ponder prior to posting.  The FL'ers like to dissect passages so we get many more varied opinions and that is what makes us so great.

 

I think TV has portrayed this era as being less promiscuous.  Back somewhere around the 1980's there was the North and South book series, settling of the west, and I remember mentions of infidelity.  Think back to programs like Little House on the Prairie.  Could you imagine Charles Ingels being promiscuous or even Caroline?  Even Gun Smoke...Kitty owned a saloon, had call girls working there, but I could never think of Kitty as doing it with anyone, not even with Matt Dillon, and they were a pair.  Were their private times left to the viewer's imagination or because it wasn't mentioned, it didn't exist?   I was young when I watched that program and would still like to think that they were pure.  Compare these  programs with, say, Desperate Housewives, where nothing is left to the imagination.

 

So, to answer your original question, there was promiscuity during those times and like I said, I think because of the way we discuss each section of a book, we are more apt to delve into it deeper.

 

I haven't read the postings since yesterday afternoon and feel like there has been an eruption.  Isn't it great!

Wordsmith
literature
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters


hookedonbooks09 wrote:

The age difference was how I saw this, too.  Being just kids, so to speak, coming off of the high of the race and mixing that with their teenage hormones, I think is understandable.  Plus, neither of them had spouses!

 

Elizka is very worldly, wants no attachment and perhaps that is how she justifies sleeping with Karel.  She is not out to steal him from his wife and children.  To her, it is just a diversion, same as the masculine way of looking at it?! Actually,  her character struck me as more masculine, in her outlook and her protection of her freedom.

 

Barb


1archi1 wrote:

Clarification for me: up to page 132, aren't Graciela and Karel teenagers when they first get together at the horse races? In 1910 wouldn't that make him 15?  I guess I am looking at it like they were teenagers, she had just been won at a horse race, maybe to the wrong brother.  They were both young, dumb teenagers.  Teenagers are trying to find themselves, not sure what they want, rebellious.  Do you think Karel is the brother she really wanted but didn't get so it was more of this is my only chance kind of thing?  I haven't read much further so I don't know if they continued seeing each other after she married his brother, which I hope they did not.  Whereas in 1924, Elizka is an adult who should have known better.  I guess that is why I don't give Elizka a pass is because she is an adult, whereas, at the time, Graciela was not, manipulative yes, but still a teenager.   

 


 

I agree with you that Elizka is not out to steal Sophie's husband, just screw around with him.  I figure Elizka is about twentyish when she returns to town after three years of college.  We don't know anything about her childhood but I have the feeling it wasn't easy.  It struck me strange that she went to college for numbers, she had an aptitutde for it, but she seems to be vindictive when it comes to men.   She doesn't feel any respect for men.  I wonder if perhaps her mother was the brains behind owning the store, she worked there during her youth, her father took over, didn't do a great job, and her intention was to run it and profit.  I can understand her not wanting to marry any one of the local farmers and turn over the business to anyone and watch it be runned into the ground.  She just seems to have such a hostile attitude with men.  She is a woman born before her times but maybe if she lived on the east coast where it was more settled, there would have been more chances for her.  

 

In spite of Karel growing up without any affection, it is normal for a boy of 15 to act the way he was with Graciela.  What I object to is her behavior.  She obviously knew what she was doing even if she was under her father's influence..  She was so coy with Karel, knowing when to flutter her eyelids, smile and look down and/or away.  Her acrobatic tricks during the horserace were so well staged and performed.  Obviously it wasn't the first time she did this.  There is no mention of her sisters other than Villasenor wanting to marry off his three daughters.  I also wonder if her first born child was conceived immediately and could it have been Karel's?

 

 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

Boy did you make me laugh. Between the Bible references and the Gunsmoke references I am still smiling because naive me never realized those women working in the bar were call girls! I thought they were waitresses, entertainers, cigarette girls, etc., anything or nothing, but not call girls. I don't even think I knew what that meant then. I was so sheltered! Now I am really laughing because I am thinking of the desperate housewives in biblical times and the desperate housewives of Gunsmoke!

And aren't you absolutely correct!?! There is nothing left to the imagination anymore. Does that mean there are no naive kids out there anymore? Oh, I hope not. There is something to be said for ignorance until you are ready to learn! Knowledge at an appropriate time is such a gift! It is like a lightbulb goes on.

 


literature wrote:

thewanderingjew wrote:

You know, I was just thinking, off the cuff, am I the only one who thinks that there was a lot of promiscuity for that time and place?  Maybe I am assuming that moral standards were stricter then just because I don't know any better. My dad said the only real smart person knows they have a lot left to learn...maybe I forgot that message.
What if they just didn't discuss it as openly as we do  today, but it was prevalent behavior behind closed doors? Maybe these characters were simply doing what everyone else did, in those times. Maybe promiscuity was common practice. I am just thinking "out loud".


Think back in history, even back to the bible, and everyone lain with everyone else.  Promiscuity is one of the so-to-speak-of sports (and I use that word very loosely) that has always been around and always will be around.  Bruce has written about it and a lot is to be read between the lines and leave us pondering.  Usually in book clubs, there is some discussions about this, but regular book clubs last for 1 - 2 hours and have maybe 20 or so participants.  Here, we are together for a month, have many more participants from all walks of life, and the responses are written rather than verbal, which makes it easier to read and ponder prior to posting.  The FL'ers like to dissect passages so we get many more varied opinions and that is what makes us so great.

 

I think TV has portrayed this era as being less promiscuous.  Back somewhere around the 1980's there was the North and South book series, settling of the west, and I remember mentions of infidelity.  Think back to programs like Little House on the Prairie.  Could you imagine Charles Ingels being promiscuous or even Caroline?  Even Gun Smoke...Kitty owned a saloon, had call girls working there, but I could never think of Kitty as doing it with anyone, not even with Matt Dillon, and they were a pair.  Were their private times left to the viewer's imagination or because it wasn't mentioned, it didn't exist?   I was young when I watched that program and would still like to think that they were pure.  Compare these  programs with, say, Desperate Housewives, where nothing is left to the imagination.

 

So, to answer your original question, there was promiscuity during those times and like I said, I think because of the way we discuss each section of a book, we are more apt to delve into it deeper.

 

I haven't read the postings since yesterday afternoon and feel like there has been an eruption.  Isn't it great!


 

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camibones
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

Is it wrong that I can't stand any of the characters? Even though there's some small measure of redeeming value in all the characters, I wouldn't want to have to deal with any of them.

 

I think Karel is mediocre as a son, as a brother, and as a husband. He seems to feel he cares about his wife and children, but is also quite happy to abandon them so he can go off on his own pursuits. And I'm not sure that what he showed to his father was loyalty at all, given that we're being led to believe he had a hand in his father's death. I think he wanted to win the race more out of pride, and possibly a desire to spite his brothers. After all, if he won, he had to know that his brothers would be leaving him behind, alone.

 

 

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camibones
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

From Suyai: "I've found most of these characters to be well rounded instead of poorly defined caricatures that you too often see in western novels."

 

You are absolutely correct there. The characters are thoroughly fleshed out, and beautifully written. I may not be able to say I like a single one, but I certainly know who they are before I decide to dislike them! One thing I've found in a lot of novels where there are a bunch of characters is that I often have to go back to figure out where I "met" the character to remind myself of who they are. I definitely don't have that problem here - every character sticks in my mind as soon as they enter the story.

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

I don't think it is wrong to dislike the characters. Most of them are definitely dislikable!  I think it is a testament to the author that he has been able to define his characters so well that we identify with them and sometimes feel that they are so real that, emotionally, we reject them and their behavior. I know that I wanted to scream at them at certain points in the book...stop, what are you thinking? Then of course, I settled down and realized, hey, they are characters in the book, this is what they are supposed to be doing for the book. It was at those moments that I realized how skilled this author was in his character development.

 

 

camibones wrote:

Is it wrong that I can't stand any of the characters? Even though there's some small measure of redeeming value in all the characters, I wouldn't want to have to deal with any of them...snip....

 


 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

 

If Karel won the race, his brothers would be going back home with him, not with the daughters of Villasenor. If he was spiteful, wouldn't he have really wanted to win, at all costs, and withhold the prize from them and withhold their escape? Instead, he became distracted by Graciela, her plight and her beauty and did not focus on winning the race. Maybe he secretly wanted them to have their freedom even if it meant losing Graciela and defying Vaclav.
Even when he wants to go after the Knedlik brothers he seems to be seeking retribution for what they did rather than vengeance. He is calm in his approach and doesn't even appear prideful to Villasenor when he meets up with him at the pub. He seems to be going after the Knedlik brothers to get back what they took, but not out of spite, rather out of his view of justice.

I felt that the abuse and demands his father placed on him were too much to bear and I think Vaclav must have hurt Karel one final time before Karel finally decided to leave him in the road to die. He didn't actually murder his father from what I read but, rather, left him to die. I haven't finished the book so maybe when I finish I will discover the truth.
Wait, I correct myself. There was one incident when I did detect spite and that was when he smiled after his tryst with Elizka, seeming to be happy about what he did although he knew he had done something which could possibly hurt her. He didn't care and he satisfied himself.
camibones wrote:

snip...

I think Karel is mediocre as a son, as a brother, and as a husband. He seems to feel he cares about his wife and children, but is also quite happy to abandon them so he can go off on his own pursuits. And I'm not sure that what he showed to his father was loyalty at all, given that we're being led to believe he had a hand in his father's death. I think he wanted to win the race more out of pride, and possibly a desire to spite his brothers. After all, if he won, he had to know that his brothers would be leaving him behind, alone.

 

 


 

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hookedonbooks09
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

While I kind of pitied Karel as a boy, I didn't so much as a man.  Camibones comment made me think a little about whether or not I DID like any of the characters.  Here's what I came up with:

 

I think that in many cases, these characters are caricatures of human flaws.  They represent all of the aspects of evil and weak (and everything inbetween).  I shouldn't say flaw only, as there were characters who showed love and kindness, too.

 

Barb

 

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

I don't think it is wrong to dislike the characters. Most of them are definitely dislikable!  I think it is a testament to the author that he has been able to define his characters so well that we identify with them and sometimes feel that they are so real that, emotionally, we reject them and their behavior. I know that I wanted to scream at them at certain points in the book...stop, what are you thinking? Then of course, I settled down and realized, hey, they are characters in the book, this is what they are supposed to be doing for the book. It was at those moments that I realized how skilled this author was in his character development.

 

 

camibones wrote:

Is it wrong that I can't stand any of the characters? Even though there's some small measure of redeeming value in all the characters, I wouldn't want to have to deal with any of them...snip....

 


 


 

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx
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fordmg
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters


camibones wrote:

Is it wrong that I can't stand any of the characters? Even though there's some small measure of redeeming value in all the characters, I wouldn't want to have to deal with any of them.

 

I think Karel is mediocre as a son, as a brother, and as a husband. He seems to feel he cares about his wife and children, but is also quite happy to abandon them so he can go off on his own pursuits. And I'm not sure that what he showed to his father was loyalty at all, given that we're being led to believe he had a hand in his father's death. I think he wanted to win the race more out of pride, and possibly a desire to spite his brothers. After all, if he won, he had to know that his brothers would be leaving him behind, alone.

 

 


It is not necessary to like any of the characters in a book to make it a well written good read.

Actually, if you like all the characters, or if one has no flaws, then the book is not real and I think rather boring.  This book gives me a real feel for the time (decade) and place,(rural Texas). 

MG

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FireRaven9
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎12-18-2009

Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

I think Karel is a typical boy dealing with his situation as best he can. I think there was some loyalty to his father in the race against Graciela as well as in the fight afterward, and even toward his own brothers. Since he is not of marrying age, he will be left behind when his brothers are married off. I think he expected them to stand together as a family unit. When they did not he took his father's side. However, I think part of the loyalty to his father may have been because of the consequences if he chose otherwise.

 

As a husband, I think he has some love for his wife but his affairs are distasteful and disrespectful (though I don't think either of these were important to any of the men in the book). I think he is an awful husband. What kind of man would be with another woman during the birth of his child? He obviously loves his girls, but I don't think family means to him what it should.

 

I think Sophie is probably typical of what many woman were like during that time. It was not looked upon favorably for a woman to leave her husband, especially with children. I think she knew full well what Karel was up to, but tolerated it because that was what was expected of her.

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

 


FireRaven9 wrote:

I think Karel is a typical boy dealing with his situation as best he can. I think there was some loyalty to his father in the race against Graciela as well as in the fight afterward, and even toward his own brothers. Since he is not of marrying age, he will be left behind when his brothers are married off. I think he expected them to stand together as a family unit. When they did not he took his father's side. However, I think part of the loyalty to his father may have been because of the consequences if he chose otherwise...snip

 

At first, when I read this I agreed.  I thought, really, he is just a typical boy wanting acceptance, missing a mom he never had so creating a kind dream of her as some kids who are lonely will have imaginary friends, trying to emulate his dad like so many other young boys, wanting friends and brotherhood with his siblings, having a teenage crush on a beautiful girl, but then I thought, does a typical boy use a riding crop to maim another boy? Does a typical boy kick a heifer? He does things that are really atypical because he has terrible examples to follow but he still knows right from wrong.
Didn't he wonder what his brothers were doing when he saw them in the woods very comfortably standing around with the Mexicans? I have a feeling that if he had won the race and they had all stayed behind, Karel would have grown more dysfunctional, angrier and more of a carbon copy of his father. Maybe with all of them gone, he was able to make decisions on his own that were not quite as cruel as theirs. Maybe as he set out on his own, he began to see a different world.

 

 

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LittlePig
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

How would you describe Karel as a son, as a brother, as a farmer, as a husband? Can you understand the loyalty he showed his father in the race against Graciela or in the fight after? Was it loyalty at all?

 

Karel, like his brothers, is bent in all aspects of his life.  His entire life has been shaped by his father's inability to love or express affection.  Karel seems to want to be a good son, brother and husband, but he is incapable of being true to anything or anyone.  His years of being hitched to his father's yoke have made him a different kind of man than he was meant to be.

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LittlePig
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

What are your impressions of Graciela?

 

Graciela seems to be the female reflecion of Karel.  She cheats to win and takes what she wants  to gratify hereself.  I think that is why Karel never forgets her. She used him to win for her Father and then she used him to satisfy herself.  She gave him nothing which left him hungering for more.

CAG
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CAG
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

 


Rosalie_01 wrote:

I have to say that at first read, I certainly viewed Elizka in a negative light for her tryst with Karel, and thereby adhering to the age old taboos (embarrassingly enough).  What brought me back to reality was the widow Vrana's reaction to Karel.  Her attitude somehow gave depth to Elizka.


Oh, I think you made a good point. There is more depth to Elizka when you look at it that way.

 

CAG
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EiLvReedn
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

This is well written and I agree w/ everything you said

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EiLvReedn
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Re: Wake of Forgiveness: Characters

OK this is about my 4th or 5th first look review and I still can't figure out how to get my reply to show w/ another person's post. My reply above was re: the Post from fordmg on page 1. Sorry!