I'd given up on Jean Auel, thinking she'd abandoned the Earth's Children series. The first book in the series, Clan of the Cave Bear was released 31 years ago. I was introduced to the book in the 1980s by my book-reading grandmother, the gardening, wildcrafting one who lived in Maine.
I got hooked on the series but was impatient for the long gaps in between books. I also felt the last book was a bit too bogged down in botany and nonfiction facts that made the reading boring in parts. I felt too many facts slowed the pace and took attention away from the fiction story itself. While I appreciate accuracy in a historical fiction book I feel that with fiction the story and the characters themselves must remain the primary focus.
I believe I read somewhere years ago that Auel had been chastized for factual inaccuracy in the first book (or two), so after that she began doing more research including traveling around the world seeing archeological sites in person. I think anyone would concur that publishing a six book series in 31 years is more drawn out than most fans would tolerate. I waited so long for the next book that I recall researching on the Internet to see if the author had passed away, to explain the lack of another book being published. Yet those of us who love the Earth's Children series are just so happy to have another book out we don't really want to complain about the long wait.
I'd given up on Jean Auel, so imagine my surprise today when I found out that The Land of the Painted Caves was released today. It is the sixth book in the series.
Had I known it was coming out I'd have pre-ordered it so it would arrive today. I guess while I wait for it to be delivered from Amazon I can spend my spare moments cleaning and doing other things ahead of time so when the book comes I can allow myself to escape into the book for a couple of days, guilt-free.
Last month while culling books I let go of some old favorites, both fiction and non-fiction. However I kept the thick hardcover books written by Jean Auel and Stephen King, my two favorite fiction authors, unable to part with them. I just might go back and re-read the entire Earth's Children series...
I'm thinking of my grandmother today, as she's missing the opportunity to read The Land of the Painted Caves. She waited and waited for the next book but passed away in 2008 at age 98. If she were alive today I'd have already phoned her to give her the news of the book's publication, something I learned by reading a Facebook status post of an acquaintence. I'll surely be thinking of my Nanny while reading the book.