Melanie Tem, originally Melanie Kubachko, was born on the 11th of April, 1949, in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, United States of America. Melanie was a prolific American writer, primarily of dark fantasies and horror novels.
Kubachko was born and raised in Saegertown, Pennsylvania. Melanie went to the Allegheny College so as to acquire her Bachelor’s degree, while she got her Master’s in social work at the University of Denver in Colorado.
Melanie met her to-be spouse, Steve Rasnic, at a workshop for writers. When the couple married, they took the joint surname Tem. Melanie and Steve were together for about thirty-five years. The two collaborated on a number of books, noting that they had been each other’s editors for many years. Before anything makes it to the publishing house, the partner has taken the time to read and critique it. Melanie and Steve had four children.
In 1997, Melanie developed breast cancer. She fought valiantly and won the battle, yet not the war. In 2013, it recurred, metastasized to her bones, bone marrow, and organs. On the 9th of February, 2015, aged only sixty-five, Melanie died. In Melanie’s honor, we would like to take a look at what the best Melanie Tem books are.
Best Melanie Tem Books
Wilding is a standalone novel from Melanie Tem. It is one of the authoress’ most memorable outings as the story comes out markedly smooth and sticks with the reader for a time after finishing it. Wilding was published in the year of 1992.
Dark Family Saga
Wilding is a family saga. Of course, it’s not a family saga in the manner that One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez is. No, Tem’s writing is a lot darker and a lot more murderous. The family at the forefront of the book is a family of female werewolves, as they are, at the moment, living in Colorado. Their clan had been divided in half.
The first half is the city-bound family, where the members live in brick houses which were built by their ancestors. This half of the clan is comprised of Matriarch Mary, daughter Ruth, Ruth’s own daughter Lydia, and Lydia’s teen-pregnant daughter Deborah. The other half is the country-bound family. This half lives in caves in the mountains. Their head is Matriarch Mary’s sister, Hannah, along with her several daughters.
The family is made up of girls, solely, because when a boy is born, they promptly kill him. Men are only used for making more babies, after which they are swiftly murdered. When the family decides that Deborah isn’t quite ripe for her initiation, she high-tails it, as the family scrambles to find her.
The story is told in alternating chapters, as each of the characters gets their own space to tell their point of view, though the city-bound family are the main characters.
Wilding doesn’t burden itself that much with the quintessential werewolf aspect, because, of course, it’s been done to death. What hasn’t is the family dynamic between a werewolf family. This is why Wilding is perhaps the best Melanie Tem book.
Prodigal is one of Tem’s crowning achievements as a writer. It was published in 1991. The story here is that of a family, a quite large one. There are nine members, of whom the eldest son has recently run away. The family is still recuperating from this disastrous loss, though we immediately have a sense of utter wrongness, of something malicious, or entirely odd.
It is told from the point of view that the eleven-year-old child Lucy has. Lucy is the third eldest child, and we see a kind of off kilter version of the family’s dynamic.
The parents are grieving, passing through the states of grief – currently stuck at the denial stage –, the children are irritable, befuddled, and mad. The family even has a family therapist who frequents the household. The most jaw-dropping aspect of the book is how we are looking at all of this from a child’s perspective. Lucy doesn’t comprehend much of what she notices, but we do, and that puts us in a weird situation.
As the story progresses, we see that many of the events and happenings are wholly ordinary, but never boring. This allows for when abnormal events occur to have a more profound impact on the reader. A great read for anyone interested in the work of Tem!
The main character of the story is Charlotte Tobias. Charlotte is a schoolteacher, but also a dreamer in the sense that she believes in love – in true love, in fact –, in soul mates, and the like. However, one day Charlotte has the wildest dream ever. She’s had plenty of dreams of love, but none as powerful as this one.
After this dream, however, Charlotte, strait-laced Charlotte, begins having a kind of affair with the man of her dreams. The man of her dreams isn’t any knight in shining armor, though. Instead, Charlotte is taken on a trip through rage, insanity, and the void.
As the story goes on, Charlotte’s character grows. She doesn’t remain the same way that she started out, but her oddly penetrating illusions persist. The plot is wonderfully suggestive in many of the places, though it doesn’t shy away from the occasional vulgarity at others. The clear juxtaposition allows for many of the events to have a grander, more abject significance to the bigger picture than if all were of the same sort.
One wouldn’t be making any mistake if they chose Making Love as one of the best books by Melanie Tem. A few other books that have come from the dark, imaginative mind of Melanie Tem are: The Tides, Revenant, and Crimeswave 12: Hurts.