Building narratives: Poisoned Passion: Good stepmothers exist

Chiwita’s book is not after all about mothers or stepmothers, but a romantic tale in which a young Gwendolyn passionately falls in love with her mechanic

EMERGING author Placidia Chiwita’s new book Poisoned Passion — a romantic tale set in today’s modern society — is one literary piece which proves that even in difficult circumstances, good stepmothers still exist if the story of the protagonist and chief narrator Gwendolyn is anything to go by.

Chiwita’s book is not after all about mothers or stepmothers, but a romantic tale in which a young Gwendolyn passionately falls in love with her mechanic, a single father by the name Curtis, until they eventually get married.

The text is written in a rated romantic movie style, which in my view is not suitable for young children.

In their courtship, Gwendolyn assumes a motherly role to Ryan, who is Curtis’s child, and supports and nurtures his artistic talent.

Gwendolyn and Ryan grow fond of each other and develop a mother-to-son bond and this is perfectly captured during her wedding vows when she pledges to be a good mother to Ryan and support him throughout the course of his life.She prepares vows not just for her husband Curtis, but her new step son Ryan,

“Hi baby”,I said holding his cheek.  “Today I’m marrying your father, but I just want to take this moment before God, our family and friends to promise you something. I wasn’t there when you took your first breath or your first steps. It was never my destiny. I may not have been there at the beginning, but I will be there from now onwards. I promise to comfort you whenever you are sad, to nurse you when you are sick, to love and take care of you, to support you in your life decisions”(pp.83).

Clearly as the text titled reads “Poisoned Passion”, it is my personal opinion that her unwavering passionate love for Curtis drives her to love him, his son Ryan and his family despite suffering hostilities from her Mother and Sisters-in-law respectively.

In an unfortunate turn and twist of events, she realizes that she married a serial and seasoned cheat and begins to endure abuse in all its forms just a few months after their marriage.

Despite these twists and turns, she remains a good mother to Ryan and supports the talented young kid throughout the text including attending his art exhibitions and awards events,

“It was official, my son was a freaking prodigy. He was the next Leonardo Da Vinci that’s for sure. Parents can be a bit biased where children are concerned but seeing other people appreciate his work was the happiest point in my life”(pp.128)

It is clear that good deeds can be hereditary or passed on between generations as we learn that Gwendolyn had adopted her love for her stepson Ryan because she herself had been raised by a stepmother following her own biological mother’s demise.

“I watched my parent’s interactions and couldn’t help a burst of love for my mother. She had come in and lightened up our world. She became a companion my father needed and lightened up our world. My father was happy with her. I was young but I still remembered how hard my mother’s death hit him. Looking at us, no one could guess we were a blended family”(pp.26).

Through Gwendolyn, Chiwita seems to be an advocate and champion of kindness,compassion and care especially in blended families, and hence elevates and emphasizes the role of mothers and stepmothers in building strong and stable families.

As a victim of date rape and abuse within her own marriage, Gwendolyn could be Chiwita’s instrument of raising awareness on the dangers of cyclical abuse as she (Gwendolyn) later on begins to retaliate violently against her husband’s shenanigans and this in my view could be the turning point in which her passion and love could be poisoned.

Despite her love for her husband being “poisoned”, her love for her innocent and talented step son Ryan prevails and again this could be viewed as a message to step mothers or step parents not make children the victims should matrimonial squabbles ensue.

Entrepreneur Hope Mudangwe described Chiwita’s debut novel as a “a burning flame and one which contains strong sensual attraction which is resistible but destructive”.

Chiwita stated that she had always wanted to deliver a good story and was already working on delivering another great offering in the coming year.

“I always appreciated a good story and always wanted to bless others with one. So I woke up one day and decided to be a writer. Well not really, thanks to Saliwe Zakaria for sending a group link encouraging me to join the Women’s Writer’s Support Network and getting all the motivation I then decided to embark on this journey”.

Rich in suspense and endowed with striking imagery, Chiwita’s debut literary offering makes me wonder where she had been hiding all these years.

A holder of a degree in Tourism and Hospitality from the University of Zimbabwe, Chiwita grew up being always known as the girl with the book with her love for reading having started at a very young age. A book fanatic at heart, she was a contributor to the women’s anthology Seasons:An anthology of Zimbabwean women which was published by Blue Scroll Consultancy in 2022.

  • Fungayi Antony Sox works at Tisu Mazwi – a communication-centered social enterprise specialising in books, education, IELTS, and storytelling projects. He writes in his personal capacity. For feedback contact him on 0776 030 949, connect with him on LinkedIn on Fungayi Antony Sox, or follow him on Twitter @AntonySox


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