Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. Her first novel, The River Flows, will be published by Thomas Nelson in the spring of 2011. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

When Crickets Cry

by Charles Martin

~(Spoiler warning)~

When Crickets Cry

Charles Martin spins another powerful tale from the heart—both literally and figuratively—in this romantic tearjerker reminiscent of a subdued Nicolas Sparks story. In When Crickets Cry, Reese, a mysterious man with a hidden past, stumbles upon Annie, a charming eight-year-old little girl, in the sleepy, Southern town of Clayton, Georgia.

Annie suffers from a diseased heart and sells lemonade on a regular basis to raise money for a heart transplant surgery—a fact that jars Reese deep within his soul. When Annie is accidentally hit by a car, he rushes to her aid and displays his superior medical knowledge that surprises everyone in town, including Annie’s attractive aunt, Cindy.

Reese’s friendship with a strange blind man, Charlie, adds only more mystery to the mix. As a succession of secret letters from Charlie’s sister, Emma, are revealed, it becomes clear Reese suffered a traumatic past that started when he was a young boy. His childhood love for Emma developed into a quest to save her from a fatal heart condition similar to Annie’s. As Emma’s health worsened, Reese immersed himself in research and study that eventually led to medical school and the pinnacle of the heart transplant profession.

Miraculously, his love for her gave Emma the strength to live much longer than expected, and yet marriage and a happy life together wasn’t enough to keep her fragile heart from rupturing. Despite Reese’s expertise and proven ability to complete many successful transplant surgeries, he was unable to save his beloved Emma.

The story is told in layers so that the pieces of the puzzle don’t come together until midway through. As the reader learns, Reese’s decision to leave the medical profession and flee from his old life goes beyond the guilt for not being able to save his wife. Only Charlie knows what really happened the night Emma died, and it is eventually revealed—just as Annie comes dangerously close to death.

Finding himself in the same situation he was in years ago, Reese must discover the strength to lay his past aside so he can help save Annie. By returning to his life as a world-renowned surgeon, he helps give her a new heart and takes the first step in healing his own.

This is a wonderful story of love, sacrifice, and ultimately forgiveness. The sweet, yet doomed, love between Reese and Emma is juxtaposed with a new, burgeoning relationship with Annie and Cindy. Reese sees much of Emma in Annie, and yet his growing attachment to Cindy is a stark reminder that what he had with Emma is long gone. The haunting, heart-wrenching tone of the book reminded me of being tossed to and fro on a stormy sea, while the mystery surrounding Emma’s death keeps the reader solidly engaged, until Annie’s fate is determined.

All of that—as well as the twists and turns in the plot and the uplifting ending—encompass the key elements I love to see in a good romance/drama. And then there is the added excitement of the medical world where IVs, bloody surgeries, and beating hearts are sure to entertain those with a penchant for hospital dramas. But regardless, with a well-adapted screenplay, this story could be beautifully told for TV and on screen.