- Self Published
- Release Date
- December 2009
Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
Two days after Christmas, 1948, in a city that could be New York, a young woman prepares to get a life-altering haircut. She's a princess, a post-war refugee, from an Eastern European principality that no longer exists. And she's being forced by her guardians--her nefarious aunt and uncle--to marry an obscenely rich industrialist who's got something of a hair fetish. The man, it seems, is aroused only by her amazingly long, glorious hair. So to save herself, she decides to get it all cut off.
But she doesn't count on falling in love with the handsome young barber who refuses, at first, to do her bidding. Nor does the barber count on becoming entranced by the strangest customer he's ever encountered. Even after the severely shorn former princess is beaten beyond recognition for her act of rebellion, the barber, a widower still grieving for his late wife, finds her irresistible. Add to the mix Misha, an angel from the Old Country whose specialty is New Year's Eve.
Ultimately, "The Haircut" is a story that weaves whimsy with romance, plus more serious themes, as it underscores the timelessness and hope of the season in which it's set.
Book Review by Leslie (reviewer)
Feb 08, 2011 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
141 people found the following review helpful
Donna Callea has written an intriguing story. It is thoughtful and fun, but has a twist of evil and perversion, unexpected in the fairy tale like setting. The tale comes complete with a young princess and a New Year Angel. With such fable type characters, the evil seems darker in contrast. Does happily ever after truly exist in this tale, or as sometimes happens, can evil spread its oily presence, blotting out what is good and kind?
In an earlier era, countries across the world were at war and many small Eastern European Principalities simply ceased to exist, swallowed up by neighboring countries. Such was the case of the country where Princess Natasha (Tasha) was born. Losing her beloved parents at an early age, she was raised by her very cruel aunt and uncle, the Count and Countess. Her only friend was their son Gregori, a young cousin her age who often took the beatings with her. An older American finances them; his only requirement is they keep Tasha sheltered and never, ever cut her hair. He intends to marry her when she grows up.
With the help of her cousin Gregori, on the eve of her wedding, they make plans to seek out a barber. Because Harold's whole fantasy revolves around her hair, they decide to cut it off. The chosen barber is young and in awe of Tasha. Initially refusing to cut her hair in the style she asks, he finally gives in to her begging. She is determined and he is intrigued.
When she had Gregori drop her at her aunt and uncle's home, they are livid, horrified at what this simple haircut would mean to their way of life. She was beaten brutally and left lying where she fell, unable to move and barely able to breathe. Gregori found her and determined they would run away, but the only place he could think of was the barber that had shown her such kindness. Can he hide and protect Tasha from those that meant her harm?
Tasha is a kind and thoughtful young woman, trying to live life as she was dealt with. She believes in Misha, the Angel of New Years. He brings happiness to those in times of need. In order to have enough happiness, he requires stories of "Thorns to Feathers", looking for the joy that comes through from distress. She is constantly looking for the kindness and joy in everything, knowing that it is the only way her life will become as it should. This is when she first realizes that she is in love with Mike, her barber. Not just with Mike, but with his family as well, including his mother and his young daughter Molly.
Mike is beyond horrified by what he observed when Gregori delivers her to his home. She has very little semblance to the young woman from a few hours previous, but her goodness shows through. He is drawn to her, and yet feels guilt, feeling disloyal to his deceased wife Annie. As Tasha heals and the friction turns to heat, it is all he can do to keep to himself. He is concerned for her fate, what will happen when she is well?
THE HAIRCUT is a madcap story full of evil, but with a kind and generous angel, waiting for those that can find good in everything. Only then can he perpetuate and spread that happiness throughout the world. It is a fun and whimsical story about the life of a young princess and the family that takes her in. Twisted throughout this story is a dark and dangerous thread of evil. Will Misha prevail?
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BOOK INTERVIEW on March 2011
Hi Donna, THE HAIRCUT sounds like an interesting book, with such a unique concept.
Q: What gave you the idea to write a book about hair, specifically a haircut?
I've always been fascinated by the role hair plays in our society, and particularly, its sensual aspects. Hair has always been such a vivid symbol of femininity. It's supposedly a woman's crowning glory. And most men, it's assumed, prefer women to have long flowing tresses. For a woman, losing her hair, or just getting a bad haircut, can be very traumatic. I began to wonder if love could blossom in the wake of a truly horrible haircut.
Q: The story is set in 1948 in a city that could be New York. Why did you choose that particular time in history?
I know that not many historical romances are set in the 1940s, but it was the perfect time period for my story. World War II had taken its toll on both Tasha and Mike. Her tiny Eastern European homeland was decimated during the war. He suffered a great loss while serving in the Navy. But the post-war era also a very hopeful and exciting time, especially in a city like New York-- a bustling melting pot where people have always come to make new lives and break free from the sorrows of the past.
Q: What kind of research went into writing this book?
Truthfully, not a whole lot. Tasha's homeland is the product of my imagination-- as is just about everything else in the book. But I did try hard to get the details of the time period right, and consulted a variety of sources. Favorite old movies such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life" helped. I also took a closer look at the hairstyles of popular movie stars of the time, such as Ingrid Bergman and Jane Wyman, to get a better sense of the era's standards of beauty.
Q: Natasha, the heroine, is a princess! Why did you give her that particular background/identity? How did being a princess influence her personality, despite losing her parents at a young age and growing up under the thumbs of her cruel aunt and uncle?
Tasha is a princess and Mike is a barber. Their backgrounds couldn't be more different. I needed them to be from two different worlds. Tasha, however, is far from a typical fairy tale princess. She's suffered greatly, and been treated, since childhood, as a possession rather than a person. She's been valued for her beauty and her title-- neither of which have brought her any happiness. Which is why, I think, she has very little vanity and no qualms about getting the worst haircut imaginable. She's also very young-- barely out of her teens-- and full of optimism, gumption and hope. Even humor. And she's determined to rescue herself, although she's very grateful when Mike comes to her aid. She just doesn't think he could possibly fall in love with a nearly bald and terribly battered girl whom no one would describe as beautiful anymore.
Q: What is Misha, the New Year's Angel, exactly? How has Tasha's belief in Misha shaped her?
Misha is a mythical figure, sort of like Santa Claus. Children in Tasha's homeland waited for him to come each New Year's Eve, although he brought no presents. He's a symbol of hope and new beginnings. Those who believe in Misha believe that he can help make good things happen. Is he real? I think so.
Q: Please tell us more about Mike. It's not often that we see a barber as a hero in books, so what makes him a swoon-worthy hero?
Oh my. I really love Mike. And I do think he's swoon-worthy. Who says a barber can't be tall, well-built, and extremely handsome? Not to mention a doting single father to an adorable two-year-old, a devoted son, and a tender lover? But poor Mike has had his heart torn out. When his young wife, Annie, died in childbirth he felt as if his life were over. He's convinced he will never love again, and he feels he would be disloyal to Annie's memory if he did. Which is why he's so conflicted when Tasha comes into his life. Plus he feels guilty about the pain she endured after the haircut he reluctantly gave her. In any case, he's convinced that there's no way a princess would ever fall in love with a lowly barber.
Q: Why is Tasha perfect for Mike and vice-versa?
They need each other. They complete each other. And there is a chemistry between them that neither is able to ignore.
Q: What is your favorite line of exchange or scene in the book?
"But I like looking at you," he said, extending his arm, and tilting up her chin with his hand.
"You do?" she said skeptically. "You like looking at a beat-up girl who has the worst haircut you ever gave to a woman?"
"That's not what I see when I look at you. I didn't want to give you that haircut, Tasha, that's for sure. But hair is just hair. It gets cut off, it grows back in. Who would know that better than a barber? And anyway, I've gotten kind of used to it. For some reason, that boy's haircut doesn't look so bad on you. Of course, it probably wouldn't hurt to comb it once in a while," he added, making her laugh.
"Comb it? You think that would help? But there's nothing left to comb," she said, rolling her eyes upward and making a funny face as she ruffled the sparse remains on her head.
"Sure there is," he said, smiling at her. "See." Shifting closer to her on the couch, he reached over, and carefully parted the little bit of hair she had left on top with his fingers, adjusting the wayward strands into place. Then he stroked the sides and, finishing the job, put the palm of his hand on the back of her closely cropped head as if to smooth it, though there was really nothing there to smooth.
"That's better," he said.
But he didn't take his hand away. Instead, he gently placed it on her cheek, letting it linger there as she sat looking at him, not moving. With his thumb, he tentatively touched the tender bruised place beneath her eye. And then lightly, very lightly, he traced the fullness of her slightly parted lips with his fingertips.
He wanted more than anything to kiss her then. He ached to kiss her. But he didn't. He couldn't. He didn't feel he had the right. So he just sat there, staring at her, touching her face, forgetting to breathe.
"It must be getting late," she said, finally, her heart pounding so hard she was sure he must be able hear it.
"Tasha," he said. But he didn't know what else to say.
So they said goodnight.
And after she went to his bed, Mike stretched out onto the warm spot on the sofa where she had been, wishing he had taken her in his arms, thinking how it might have been.
Q: The villain in the book has a hair fetish. That's so interesting and certainly unique! What caused the villain to have this particular fetish? Where did you get such a marvelous idea?
Harold Monroe, the villain, is a very strange guy. He's got a thing for extremely long, beautiful hair. Nothing else turns him on. It stems from his childhood-- doesn't everything? It's his fetish that propels the plot. It's the reason Tasha decides to get such a horrible haircut in the first place. Harold's fetish wouldn't be such a problem if he weren't so obscenely wealthy. He feels he's entitled to buy anything he wants-- including Tasha and her hair.
Q: What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
I actually have two novels in progress. One has a "steampunk" sensibility. The other is a historical romance set in Florida in the 1700s. The trouble is, I'm an extremely slow writer. I'm thinking it will be at least a year (not months) before either is done. THE HAIRCUT, my debut, took several years to complete. I do have another published novel, NEW COASTAL TIMES (which also took too long to write) available as an ebook. It's set in the near future, after cataclysmic natural disasters pretty much change the world as we know it. It's also a love story, but it would probably be stretching things to call it a romance. Right now I'm hoping to build a fan base for THE HAIRCUT, and I'm extremely grateful to TRR for taking my unusual novel under its romantic wing.
Bio: Donna Callea is a former newspaper reporter. She lives in Florida with her adorable husband.
Donna is giving away 4 Kindle copies of THE HAIRCUT!
Mechanics of the contest:
You can do either or both of the following to enter the drawing:
1. Write a comment or question below in the comment box (3 chances to win) from now to March 31;
2. Check out our contest page from March 14 to 25 to enter your email address (1 chance to win).
The winner will be announced in the comment box in April.