I finished reading Eclipse, by Stephanie Meyer, this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 20 chapters of the book. I really liked finding out about some of the characters’ histories and motivations, and what they brought to the table for the current crisis. It was also amusing when Edward and Bella confess their relationship fears to one another. I thought Ms. Meyer did an excellent job of creating tension and building suspense up until Chapter 21. At that point, I felt it started to slip into melodrama. I thought the unseasonable June blizzard, and the resulting conversation between Jacob and Edward, while insightful, was implausible. Try to imagine Hitler and Churchill sitting down together and discussing their feelings. I could almost hear the piano playing “As Time Goes By” during the last four chapters. I suppose if I had liked the movie Casablanca, I might have gotten more engaged by this turn of events, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. But then, a lot of people love that old movie. In Twilight, readers were asked to question the nature of good and evil. In New Moon, Edward and Carlisle debated nurture vs. nature and the existence of soul. Eclipse touched on free will vs. predetermination. But in the end, I wondered if Bella chose the young man that she did because she really loved him best, or because of her belief in destiny.