Falling by Jane Green
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction, Romance, Adult Fiction
Release Date: July 19, 2016
When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.
On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.
Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.
But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.
In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…
Once upon a time, long long ago (in 2001), I came across a book called Jemima J. At the time a new genre was all the rage - a little thing called Chick Lit. And I was gobbling it up. Specifically Brit Chick Lit. And when I saw Jemima J and read the synopsis I knew I would love it. And love it I did. It remains very dear and meaningful to me. And in the years that followed I read everything Jane Green wrote. But then a darkness fell over the land and things began to change...
Looking back over my GoodReads reviews of Jane Green's last four or five books there seems to be a common theme: I tend to start each review with "what happened to the Jane Green of old?" Because over the last several years her novels seem to have lost their charm and and their emotional pull. Instead they now all take place in Connecticut (not-so-coincidentally where Jane lives) and feature very similar female protagonists: women who once had high-powered careers but then find themselves living in the suburbs of Connecticut and trying to keep up with the high-maintenance ladies who lunch set. Or they find themselves divorced and starting over (still in Connecticut, of course) and trying to eschew the ladies who lunch for something more substantial. Book after book, it's all begun to feel a bit stale.
When Green's latest, Falling, was announced and touted as "pure old-school Jane Green, a return to her love story roots" I was firmly on board and ready to dismiss the last several disappointments as inconsequential blips. But, not so fast... because Falling was another disappointment. Big time.
Emma was a frustrating main character. Not only is the reader subjected to her every wishy-washy, contradictory thought but she could go from Point A to
Point Z in 5 seconds flat in any given situation.
"I don't mean to offend you, Emma. I hardly know you, but it seems to me that you have created a drama in your head that may have nothing to do with reality."
She consistently made snap decisions and judgments. And, despite her apparent desire for a quiet life, she had quite the flair for being emotionally dramatic. As Emma entered into a relationship with Dominic, her landlord next door, there were many references to the differences in their backgrounds. Again and again the reader is reminded that Emma's oh-so-proper British upbringing was far different from Dominic's small-town blue collar childhood. So much was made of this fact that I began to wonder if this was really a contemporary novel or if they were actually in Victorian England where the classism would make sense.
"Someone like you does not end up with someone like me. Even I see that."
To be fair, it wasn't all bad. In fact, with the exception of Emma's emotional histrionics and all the class talk, I was mostly enjoying the novel. Yes, it seemed to skim the surface rather than digging deep, and yes, there was an issue with telling instead of showing, but I couldn't help but be drawn into the day to day lives of Emma and Dominic and Dominic's son Jesse. I enjoyed the minutiae: the quiet evenings at home, the breakfasts they made together, the details about Emma's burgeoning design career. I found it interesting and it helped create this bubble around their relationship that made it all the more intense.
And then came that ending. At the 90% mark I looked at my husband and said, "I am SO mad at this book. I can't believe she [the author] is doing this." But she did it, and then wrapped everything up incredibly quickly, and all my semi-good feelings about the book went poof. I think it's safe to say this will be my last disappointment from Jane Green. Whatever magic was once there is long gone.