Fans of bestselling author Jane Green know very well her novels aren’t typical run-of-the-mill love stories. They carry the dense aura of conflicted couples, life crises, and confusing choices. Her latest novel, Falling (a love story) is no exception.
In Falling we meet Emma, a successful thirty-something expatriate from England, who has lived in New York City for many years. She is gleefully fulfilling her unabashed childhood dream of living in America and a desperate attempt to escape her overbearing mother. Her career as a high-ranking financier powerhouse has allowed her to live in quiet luxury, while occasionally making a few futile attempts at relationships that have never meant much in terms of satisfaction or happiness.
Green brilliantly describes Emma’s cool British reserve, who although friendly and approachable, describes herself as an introvert. It isn’t hard to imagine that she could meet her match in someone who is her complete opposite and this is where Dominic comes into the picture.
As Emma becomes unsatisfied with her city life, she becomes convinced that she must make drastic alterations if she really wants to change. She begins by trading her one-bedroom stylish Manhattan apartment for a cottage in Connecticut. She immediately bonds with her landlord Dominic, a handyman and single father who is everything Emma is not. Hehas never traveled abroad, has never lived outside his native town of Westport, and is raising his six year old son by himself.
Amidst trying to do a serious decorating makeover in the run-down cottage and adjusting to her new suburban life, Emma begins to see Dominic with different eyes. And this here is Jane Green’s specialty, the way her characters gradually and slowly fall for each other, while the chaos of other intrusive elements in their lives overwhelm them. This is the reason her books are not romance novels, not entirely. There is romance of course, but each character’s personal baggage, whether it be friends, dysfunctional families, or exes with grudges, offer a component that effectively pulls the reader into the story.
As Emma and Dominic’s relationship begins to flourish, so too do the obstacles that could keep them apart. The great element in Falling is the visible character development, as Emma begins to understand that many things which she thought were important in her life, are now nothing short of banal.
Dominic is the quintessential down-to-earth man who cares nothing for pretense or pose, and who wants nothing more than to be a good father for his son Jesse. It’s true that in each other, Emma and Dominic find their polar opposite. However, they also find in each other a symbolic cornerstone, a grounding element that keeps them from focusing on how different they are. Instead it helps them see how they complement each other in essential and important ways.
Falling is a novel about the budding relationship between two very different people, but Jane Green also weaves it into a novel about family, marriage, friendship, careers, life changes, and heartbreaking loss. Falling is a literary life lesson, a testament to live the moment, to enjoy love and happiness however impossible it may seem without taking care or concern for societal appearances.