Book review: Falling: A Love Story by Jane Green

Can two imperfect halves make a perfect whole?
Falling: A Love Story byJane GreenFalling: A Love Story byJane Green
Falling: A Love Story byJane Green

Jane Green, the mesmerising storyteller who has turned romance novels into an art form, works her special brand of magic in this gorgeous, gripping tale of two unlikely lovers discovering the true meaning of home, happiness and family.

A former feature writer for the Daily Express and now the bestselling author of seventeen clever, compelling novels, Green has become adept at exploring not just relationships but the psychology of how we face the slings and arrows of life’s everyday misfortunes.

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Here we meet a go-getting, thirtysomething businesswoman who eschews her life in the exhausting, high-octane world of New York finance to find peace, and maybe even happiness, in a quiet waterfront town in Connecticut.

What she does discover are some life-changing home truths, the unexpected rewards of family life and a man who is everything she thought she didn’t want but who touches her heart and soul like no one has ever done before.

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York eight years ago, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into the Manhattan lifestyle and enjoying a high-paying banking job, a gorgeous apartment and a string of successful boyfriends.

But the cut-throat, all-consuming world of finance and the relentless pursuit of attaining yet more have started to take their toll. This isn’t the life she really, truly wants and she’s packing it all in.

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On the move again, Emma answers an online ad and finds a tiny beach cottage to rent 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 renovating the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic DiFranco, a local handyman and fixer-upper who lives next door with his six-year-old son Jesse.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic, from an American-Italian family, is confident, grounded and committed to being around for Jesse whose flighty mother walked out shortly after he was born.

Dominic is a world away from the men she would normally be interested in but they become friends, and slowly over a shared garden, time spent with Jesse and late-night conversations, Emma finds herself not only feeling at home in a way she never has before but falling for Dominic in a big way.

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But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking way. 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.

Green’s moving, masterful novel is so much more than just another summer romance… love, loss, change and acceptance all come within the author’s remit as she invites us to share in a story high on emotion, drama and the family tensions that we can all recognise.

Written with insight, sensitivity and a keen eye for the frailties of the human psyche, Falling is the kind of book that makes you glad you chose to read it.

(Macmillan, hardback, £14.99)