Romance novels aren’t usually my first choice, but sometimes it is nice to work in a lighter read. After reading the premise of “Falling” by Jane Green, I thought this one might be a bit different. It isn’t your typical love story. It’s not overly gushy and there are no R-rated scenes that will make you blush. But, as in most love stories, love happens quickly and obstacles are easily conquered. I have heard many readers rave about Green’s stories, and this is my first of hers. I can see why readers praise her skilled storytelling. But, will it convince me to read more of her novels? Maybe.
It seems even Green’s biggest fans are split on “Falling,” either loving it or hating it. It has all the hallmarks of a winning novel: likable characters with in-depth and real situations, believable circumstances and a few mishaps to keep you rooting for them along the way. I was easily wrapped up in the lives of Green’s characters. She gets you involved in the character’s individual story first so that you are more likely to root for them as their love story evolves. She makes you feel like you would be best friends with them and want to live in their community. Then as the relationship begins, you feel emotionally involved in the choices they make.
Emma left her stuffy British family behind and became a banker, living the ritzy life in NYC. Now in her late 30s she is tired and uninspired and wants to do something more creative with her life. She moves to Westport, Conn., hoping to start her own interior design business. When she finds the perfect home to rent, she never expects to find a landlord she can’t stop thinking about. Dominic, born and raised in Westport, loves doing odd handyman jobs, working as a bartender, and most of all, raising his young son. Dominic and Emma soon become friends and begin working together for Emma’s design business. Neither one of them was looking for a serious relationship, but one begins to bloom between them. Unfortunately, it isn’t without hiccups and Emma begins to wonder if all the drama and hassle of loving someone is really worth it.
There are many different kinds of love shared in this story. There is the love between Emma and Dominic as the reader watches them go from friends to dating to falling in love. There is the love between Dominic and his son, Jesse. Dominic takes his role as full-time parent very seriously and the love between him and his son is evident on the pages. Emma and Jesse begin to care for each other as Jesse begins to trust her and even helps her get a pet. But there are times when Jesse becomes angry that Emma has invaded his life with his dad. Green delicately handles the balance of a single parent’s dating life and how it can impact a young child. There is also the love each set of parents has for their adult child. Both sets are quite vocal about what they hope for their child and Emma and Dominic struggle with trying to please their parents along with following their heart. Both Emma and Dominic want a different life than the one they were raised in, and the reader will find their parents’ dysfunctional relationships add a quirky, yet comedic relief to the story.
Emma and Dominic are easy to root for and you hope they can find a way to love each other through the obstacles. Many of the obstacles are quickly tidied up, and I expected some of that. What I wasn’t expecting was the life-changing event toward the end of the novel. Without giving anything away, this event totally changed the scope of the novel for me. I wasn’t prepared and even though I appreciate the author’s use of surprise, this was harsh. It hurt and maybe that is what Green was going for. But, it also made me mad and left me feeling empty when the novel finished. I was glad that a few pieces of the story ended positively, but this love story didn’t end the way I had hoped. Maybe that makes it more real for the reader and less of an escape from reality. But, sometimes we want that happy ending and not the harshness of the real world when we read.