In the last few years, I have become a big fan of Karen White's work, so when I received a copy of FALLING HOME in the mail unexpectedly, I was beyond thrilled. I had recently read (and loved) ON FOLLY BEACH, so I was sure I was in for another terrific story. Here's a quick rundown, but don't worry, I won't give anything away . . .
Cassie Madison is the protagonist in this story of family, love and sometimes, regret. She has been living in New York City for fifteen years since leaving her small hometown of Walton, Georgia, after feeling betrayed by the two people closest to her. Once Cassie got to New York she never looked back and vowed to put that part of her life behind her. However, the past comes rushing to meet her when she gets a call from her sister, Harriet, who tells her their father is dying and has asked her to come home. What Cassie thinks will be a short trip turns into months and she is forced to face the people that she felt betrayed her all those years ago and gave her the reason to leave. She finally meets her sister's children that she's never seen before and finds herself involved in a fight to save her historic family home.
Almost immediately there is a pull on Cassie's heart for the place she grew up and the people of the community who have known her since she was little. But just when she thinks its time to head back to her life and fiance' in New York, an urgent family crisis arises and Cassie is left to make a decision about her future and what she wants out of it.
What I like about this book is that there is much more going on here than just the story of a scorned woman who goes home to rebuild old relationships. Obviously, the story of Cassie and why she left is the main premise for the book but it doesn't stop there. There is also an intriguing mystery surrounding her father and some secret letters she finds in an old letter box. There is also the story of an old house and what some people will do to try to destroy it. But most heartbreaking of all is the story of Cassie and her sister, Harriet, who have been estranged for fifteen years. Another aspect is that of the troubled relationship Harriet has with her oldest child, Maddie, who, like her Aunt Cassie when she was a teenager, doesn't feel like she belongs in Walton and wants desperately to be like her aunt. Cassie also finds herself being drawn to a man she didn't give a second thought about when she was younger, but since returning can't seem to fight the attraction she now has for him. I loved how each of these stories are interwoven seamlessly in such a natural progression, which makes it all very realistic.
Another plus is how lovely and likable the characters are - even the ones you know are up to no good. Honestly though, in the beginning I didn't know if I was going to like Cassie but fortunately, my feelings for her changed as time progressed, though I believe that could have been the author's intention all along. My favorite characters were Maddie and Sam Parker, the doctor and former classmate of Cassie. I loved how he always stood his ground with Cassie and was not afraid to tell her the truth about herself even though it would sometimes hurt her. I think we all need someone like that in our lives. It didn't hurt that Ms. White painted him as a confident, sexy man in jeans and cowboy boots. What woman wouldn't love that?! Hell, I'd love to find my own 'Sam Parker'!
As with other books I've read of hers, Karen White has completely satisfied me with FALLING HOME. I felt connected to the people and loved each of the scenarios that played out. I have to admit to even shedding a few tears. I also love the title, although in the beginning I didn't know what it meant. In a nutshell, I enjoyed this book immensely and it makes me even more determined to go back and read her other books I've missed along the way.
I'd like to thank Joy Strazza at Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting for thinking of me and sending me this wonderful book.
Author: Karen White
Published: November 2010
Will I recommend this book: Yes!