Falling for You by Giselle Green
|Falling for You by Giselle Green|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead|
|Summary: A warm and sometimes thrilling lightly romantic story set in arctic conditions, with family feuds and past misdeeds brought to light.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: December 2011|
|Publisher: Yule Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Rose is full of worries and insecurities. Her father is frail, her mother died some years previously. Rose is desperately hoping for a letter offering her a place at the university of her dreams... but has no idea how her father will survive without her there to look after him.
It's just before Christmas when the story starts, and the weather is grim. The postman arrives, and discovers that he has delivered a letter for Rose to her neighbours, by mistake. Unfortunately, the neighbours are on a farm some distance away, and the two families have been feuding for many years.
Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a young man called Lawrence hopes to find help for nine-year-old Sunny, who has been seriously injured and is potentially facing the amputation of his foot. Lawrence clearly has a chequered past, and is afraid of something, but expends all his energy in caring for those who are sick or injured.
Within a couple of days, Rose and Lawrence find themselves thrown together taking shelter in the midst of the worst snowstorm for many years. And it's there, when they tentatively get to know each other in an uncomfortable situation, that we gradually learn about their families and circumstances, and just what it is that each of them is running away from. We also quickly realise that there is a tragic connection between them, which they do not discover for some time...
I found this book absolutely gripping, at first. The writing in the early chapters is fast-paced and terse, piling on the stress for both Rose and Lawrence, switching viewpoints every few pages and leaving me wanting to find out what was going to happen next. These two characters are well-rounded; the alternate viewpoints allow us to see something of their feelings and worries along with their actions, and there were plenty of hints which drew me into the story, intrigued to know what had happened to make each of them who they were.
I did find myself puzzled about why Rose would receive a university offer in December, when most places are sorted out during the spring and summer months; I was even more mystified why her offer would come only in the post, when the setting of the book is clearly 21st century. Rose uses the Internet regularly, so it seems odd that she didn't just check the system online. However, my irritation with Rose in this instance is probably an indication of how much she had already got under my skin.
I felt that Rose's family members were quite believable too, if a little caricatured, as were Lawrence's colleagues in Sri Lanka. And then, while I couldn't quite bring myself to believe in Lawrence's family, the end of the book is thrilling. The pace in the final chapters moves rapidly, making it difficult to put down.
Unfortunately, the middle section of the book is, to my mind, far too long. I lost track of how many days Rose and Lawrence spent in an old chapel, eating tuna and crackers, melting snow for tea. Their gradual friendship and inevitable attraction works well, as does the gradual unfolding of their personal histories until the dramatic denouement I had been expecting. But there is also a vast amount of reported thoughts and anxieties from each of them, sometimes repeated, which slows the story almost to a standstill. Undoubtedly these concerns would be realistic given the situation, but by this stage they were not necessary for the story. I skimmed several pages and skipped some entirely, eager to find out what would happen next, and as far as I can tell, did not miss anything.
It's my only real gripe, though. On the whole, I very much enjoyed this book, and found it quite thought-provoking in places. There are themes of redemption and the need for forgiveness, of the importance of standing up to one's fears, and of learning to let go of the past.
Many thanks to Giselle Green for sending me the Kindle edition.
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