Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Jane Green writes about love and life, and with “Falling: A Love Story,” she continues to write about what she loves. This book must hold a special place in her heart as it is loosely based on her life — she fell in love with her landlord and they have been happily married for quite some time now.
Like Jane, Emma is from the UK. She moved to the US for a banking job and never looked back. She loves life in the States, and she is thrilled to be far away from her parents, including her snobby, status-seeking mother. At the beginning of the book, Emma is looking for a house to rent in Westport, a beach-side suburb, after quitting her high-paced New York banking job. She saved for years so that she could quit the rat race and find out what she truly wants to do with her life.
The story is told in present tense with flashbacks giving the back-story about Emma’s life. The home she rents comes with a handsome landlord and his six-year-old son. Emma is quickly entranced by both. She and the landlord, Dominic, fall in love in spite of their very different backgrounds.
Green delves into the lives of those who live in beach-front towns: the “townies,” the wealthy newcomers, and those on vacation. There are the men who work all hours, the women who stay at home with the children and the nannies, and those who actually provide the services for everyone — the teachers, firefighters, bartenders.
Dominic is a bartender and fairly inept handyman. Emma begins an interior design business. They not only fall in love, they begin to work together. Things seem to be coming together in spite of Emma’s snobby mother’s doubts about two people from such different backgrounds being happy together. When tragedy strikes, Emma must do what she thinks is right and find out where it is that she really belongs.
Fans of Green will enjoy this new addition to her collection. While lacking some of the fascinating subjects of some of the other books (alcoholism, candle-making, abuse, infidelity), the very surprising twist at the end makes the book more than just a sweet love story. Green explores family and how sometimes, even in seemingly broken families, hard times brings family together. On the other hand, there are some families so dysfunctional that nothing can help.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Berkley, for review purposes.