It seems natural to start the men with Jonathan since the book opens with him. He was the first character to materialize and the other characters, details, and plot line fell in around him.
What I like about Jonathan is that he gives me extremes to work with. He can be high, on top of the world and on a winning streak. I can see him walking down the street with that self-confidence just oozing from every pore. Not in a cocky way, or a way that would make people hate him. In a way that made women swoon and made men want to be like him.
It made Aryl and Caleb trust him enough to uproot their lives, change their plans, and follow him to New York to learn a whole new trade.
For Every High, There Is a Low
There’s the down Jonathan too. It became clear right from the start that his lows could be very low indeed. Since his self-esteem is completely wrapped up in his success, when that bottom fell out, he fell with it.
I really liked watching him spiral down, wondering how far he’d go. Then came the bathtub scene. I stopped typing and wondered, “Will he do it?” I wasn’t sure. I waited for his cue. He didn’t give me one, but Aryl did and made it clear that this was not how the story was going to go.
I wasn’t going to kill his friend off that easily. I’m grateful to him for that. (I’m sure Jonathan is too.) At that time, I was writing by the seat of my pants and really didn’t know what was going to happen next. I wonder if I could have continued the story without him.
A Born Leader
That moment of weakness made him real. It showed his most vulnerable side and while most wouldn’t sink so low as to attempt suicide, the more I got to know Jonathan over the series, the more it made sense that he would. He’s actually prone to depression when things go wrong. Which isn’t publically addressed or socially acceptable with men so it was fascinating to work with it here.
Happily, I didn’t have to go on without him and got to show how he (with the help of his wife and friends) rebuilt himself one piece at a time and found a sense of self without a financial fortune to back it up.
Once he got his hands on a small business again, he was able to throw himself into it, driven to make it the best it could be. He was able to step into his natural role as a leader and did so even as he fought the guilt of having made wrong calls in the end—decisions that cost everyone everything.
Dressed to Kill
His quiet confidence plays wholly into his sense of romance. He doesn’t need to be flashy or put on big displays. He can do it with a glance or sly smile.
Jonathan took a lot of pride in his appearance. It was impeccable. Always. Readers didn’t get to see this in the series, but the man knew how to dress. He carries that over with him and it still bothers him that he can’t wear fine clothes. He’s probably the best-looking man ever who wasn’t a narcissist. He was, however, confident. That quiet confidence takes his sexiness to a whole other level.
Hanging in the Balance
What makes Jonathan happy is having something to work for. He needs problems to solve. I’d like to say he made the biggest transformation, but I think that trophy is still held by Arianna. I think Jonathan merely found balance in his life. He found a way to take that drive and determination to succeed and apply it in a way that helped his friends and family without the bank account to validate him.
Often, when life throws a wrench in order to teach you a lesson, it isn’t good enough to learn and move on. Life tests you repeatedly just to make sure you really understood. Elyse and her little surprise was a test. So was nearly losing his best friend.
Opportunity eventually knocks, and Jonathan proves how he has learned to deal with a traumatic turning of the tides in Purling Road Season Three. How? Well, that’s between me and him for now. But it’s a direct hit to his family and livelihood. A real punch in the gut.
Hopefully, he’ll take it like Patrick and hold out until the bell rings.