07/01/2012

Falling for You (by Giselle Green)

I first came across the writer Giselle Green a few years ago when I was asked to review her book 'Pandora's Box' for the Bookbag website. ​​​I was very impressed with the writing and the story. Nearly a year later I read 'Little Miracles', by the same author, and also liked it very much, while being a bit disappointed at the ending.

So when I was contacted and asked to review the Kindle edition of Giselle Green's latest book, 'Falling for You', I was delighted. I started reading it on Christmas Eve, and have been reading it in evenings since then.

The two main characters of this book are Rose - who is 18 - and Lawrence, who is a little older. Rose, when we first meet her, is full of worries and insecurities. Her father is frail, her mother died some years previously. Rose is desperately hoping for a letter offering her a place at the university of her dreams... but has no idea how her father will survive without her there to look after him.

Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a young man called Lawrence hopes to find help for a nine-year-old boy who has been seriously injured. Lawrence clearly has a chequered past, and is afraid of something, but expends his energy in caring for those who are sick or injured.

Within a couple of days, after a series of events, Rose and Lawrence find themselves thrown together taking shelter in the midst of the worst snowstorm for many years. And it's there, when they tentatively get to know each other in an uncomfortable situation, that we gradually learn about their families and circumstances, and just what it is that each of them is running away from.

I found this book gripping at first. The writing in the early chapters is fast-paced and terse, piling on the stress for both Rose and Lawrence, switching viewpoints every few pages and leaving me wanting to find out what was going to happen next. There were plenty of hints which drew me into the story, making me intrigued to know what had happened to make each of them who they were.

Unfortunately, the middle section of the book is, to my mind, far too long. I lost track of how many days Rose and Lawrence spent in an old chapel, eating tuna and crackers, melting snow for tea. Their gradual friendship and inevitable attraction works well, as does the gradual unfolding of their personal histories until the dramatic denouement I had been expecting. But there is also a vast amount of reported thoughts and anxieties from each of them, sometimes repeated, which slows the story almost to a standstill.

However, the ending picks up the pace again, and is, thankfully, quite satisfying. I found it almost impossible to put down in the last few pages, a contrast to the middle section where I found myself drifting off all too easily.

Definitely recommended, if you don't mind skimming somewhat in the middle of the book. Note that the link is to the paperback version of this book rather than the Kindle edition.

You can also read my longer review of 'Falling for You' at the Bookbag site.

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