How much do we really know about the one we love? Do we really see beyond the surface, or do we purposely blind ourselves to cover up our own secrets? In Nina Sadowsky’s debut novel Just Fall, a young couple who are deeply and passionately in love discover on their wedding day that everything they thought they knew about each other is merely a mirage of what really lies behind the masks.
Meet Rob Beauman and Ellie Larrabee, the epitome of young and beautiful people living in Manhattan. They first lay eyes on each other when one of Ellie’s closest friends sets them up for a blind date. The connection is instant, and after a few more dates and breathtakingly passionate encounters, they decide to move in together. When Rob finally proposes, Ellie is certain that nothing but happiness awaits her future with Rob.
But on their wedding day, Rob makes a confession that shakes everything that Ellie believed to be true about her husband. She is married to a stranger, and Ellie is now trapped in a vortex of lies and imminent danger, of which she and Rob might not make it out alive.
Her anticipated honeymoon on the beautiful island of St. Lucia is quickly becoming a living nightmare. Now Ellie and Rob are both criminals on the run, trying to escape not only the looming shadow of his violent past, but also the St. Lucia Police Force and Detective Lucien Broussard, who is investigating the strange deaths of ex-pats on the island, along with the troubling disappearance of several children.
As Ellie and Rob come closer to danger, they find themselves fighting to the death against their own personal demons and the people who want them dead. Ellie isn’t certain if she can ever trust or love her husband again; she isn’t even sure they will make it out of St. Lucia alive.
Just Fall is a jaw-dropping thriller that keeps readers on their toes with every turn of the page. The chapters are neatly divided between points in time, which Sadowsky labels “Then” and “Now,” making it easy for the reader to discern exactly if the narrative occurs in the past or present. Sadowsky also presents different POVs, with Ellie and Rob as the main voices. Having an inside view into the inner thoughts of these two complex characters, gives the novel a multi-dimensional scope of the turbulent situation and inner turmoil they each experience.
Unfortunately, this multiple point of view technique works well for the chapters of Ellie and Rob, but it doesn’t work as well for Lucien, whose POV the novel also includes. The St. Lucia detective is rather a dull and inexpressive character, whose personal chaotic life adds little to the plot, and causes an interruption in the flow of the main story surrounding Ellie and Rob. Perhaps if Sadowsky had left Lucien as a reference character without a POV, the detective would have resulted more tolerable. The subplot of the missing children, in parallel with the principal plot of Ellie and Rob’s dilemma is fine, but the story really didn’t warrant or need the intrusion of Lucien as a main character.
Despite this, the book provides an entertaining story difficult to put down. A fabulous page-turning thriller, Nina Sadowsky’s Just Fall invites us to ask the question: do we really know everything about the one we love?