Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?
Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years. Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build. Lydia’s could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.
Grandmother, mother and daughter – three women whose lives are falling apart. But one summer’s day, a single dramatic moment will force their secrets into the open. Can they save each other from falling?
Gosh, it’s been a long wait for this one! Falling by Julie Cohen was finally published by Black Swan/Transworld Digital in paperback and for kindle on 28th July. It was June 2014 when I reviewed – and was blown away by – Where Love Lies: you’ll find my review here, when I called it one of the best books I’d read that year. Before that, there was Dear Thing, which I’m guessing everyone will have read by now – but here‘s my review if you need convincing. A long wait it might have been, but this great book was well worth waiting for.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than a character led story with strong female characters – throw in a few secrets just lurking below the surface, and my reading day is made. And even better, this is a compelling page-turner of a story leading to a dramatic climax that has you feverishly turning the pages to find out what fate holds in store for three women you’ve taken to your heart. Julie Cohen writes such real characters – I just loved Jo with her insecurities, manic chatter and eccentric mothering skills, and so wanted her to have her chance at happiness. And Lydia’s dilemma – an unusual one, so well told – broke my heart.
But I think I must single out for particular praise the portrayal of Honor – it’s so difficult to write from the authentic perspective of a woman in her eighties, but the author absolutely nails it. Initially difficult and spiky, the way her character develops through the book is simply wonderful, and the story of her past totally enchanting. She also gets some of the most wonderful lines – I loved her initial assessment of Jo as a “limp noodle of a woman, weak and nice and pleasant and pretty, waiting for a Prince Charming”. And this observation on age really moved me:
One day, you will be eighty, and you will feel thirty-five. Some days, you will feel twenty, or ten, or six. You will stretch out your hand for people long dead. You will feel a shock when you touch your own papery cheek. There was no point in saying that to someone Lydia’s age, of course. She would never believe it. The young think they will be young forever.
There was nothing about this book that I didn’t enjoy. The love stories – all of them – were totally convincing, as were the difficult issues facing all the characters. There’s a lovely gentle humour running throughout the book, a clever blending of light and dark, and a story that’s very moving and totally unforgettable.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing my e-copy for review.
Julie Cohen grew up in Maine and studied English at Brown University and Cambridge University. She then moved to England permanently, where she taught before becoming a writer. Her books have won or been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, the HOLT Medallion, and more. Her book DEAR THING was a 2014 Richard and Judy Book Club pick and her book WHERE LOVE LIES won Best Romantic Read 2016. She writes full time and teaches creative writing. She lives with her husband, son and dog in Berkshire, where she is teased daily about her American accent.