What makes a family? What does it take to do what you love in life? These are some of the questions I considered while reading Jane Green's newest novel, Falling, out July 19, 2016.
Falling is the story with a kernel of reality from Jane Green's own life. One question authors always hear is, "Is it about you?" and though this isn't Jane's story, the way the protagonists meet is, in fact, how she met her husband. Set in Westport, Connecticut, Emma leaves her high-powered New York City banking job and rents a beach cottage from Dominic, a single father living in the house next door. As the relationship develops between Dominic and Emma, she is also building a connection with his son, Jesse.
Our family is in the throes of becoming foster parents to a child with the possibility of adoption, so I appreciated Emma's challenges and hopes for becoming the mother to a little boy who she didn't birth, who she hasn't known during the beginning years of his life.
I could also relate to Emma as she works to reinvent herself and pursue her passion, home design and decorating. She takes a risk to do something she loves. Since I was five, I've wanted to be a writer, which to me meant a novelist. Three years ago, I finally made writing a priority and in April, my debut novel, Forks, Knives, and Spoons will be published fulfilling my lifelong dream so Emma's decision to do what she loves spoke to me.
Falling asks the reader to consider what makes us fall in love and what matters most in a relationship. Is it status, social class, compatibility, attraction, trust? It also challenges women to find confidence in themselves and to live an authentic life, an important lesson and reminder.
"It's like falling in love, ... You have to give it everything you have or you'll miss out on all of it, the highs and the lows. You have to close your eyes and jump, hoping that you'll be caught, that you'll emerge better for the experience."
Filled with romance and heartbreak, Falling is a page turner with Jane's reliable style and British flare. Even having lived in London, in reading a Jane Green book, I always learn a new English phrase that's not used in American English. This book clarified the meaning of "snogging" and even the proper way to ask for one. For the record, I thought it meant what Dominic guesses, but at least I had the pronunciation right.
I'll leave you with this wisdom from Emma's friend's mother:
"In my experience, good relationships are based on kindness. On putting the person you love before yourself. On thinking of what you can do to make that person happy. Good relationships require kindness, commitment, and appreciation."
Go out and enjoy Falling!