Falling by Jane Green
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Emma Montague is an Englishwoman living in the U.S. She left behind her parents as soon as she could: feeling trapped by her mother's snobbery and outgoing personality, so different from Emma's quiet and introverted self. But life in the high-powered banking world in New York City isn't exactly for Emma either. She finds everyone so false: women who only care about clothes and finding a man, too many nights at bars, and pressure to use dating apps. Her one long-term relationship winds up nowhere, and so Emma finds herself on the move again: this time to the beach town of Westport, CT. She takes a break from banking and finds herself renting a house in this seaside town. Emma quickly finds herself falling for landlord, Dominic, a bartender in Westport. A father to six-year-old Jesse, Dominic seems to be the opposite of Emma in every way. Emma isn't sure that the two could ever really be together, but she can't seem to stop her heart from falling for Dominic. Are they meant to be?
Ugh, this book. Some of it was enjoyable, and yet so much of it was just so damn frustrating. First of all, the entire thing seemed like it was based on just a mountain of stereotypes and tropes. Emma has built-in stereotypes and preconceived notions about Dominic (a bartender can't be anything like a banker, apparently, or share any of the same interests). Every woman in the banking world is a vapid idiot except Emma. All New Yorkers just want to get married and move to the suburbs. And so on and so on. It gets really old after a while.
Then, the whole different worlds thing: Emma versus Dom style. As a moving forward plot device, it just seemed incredibly forced. I understand that the "we're from two different worlds" idea still exists today, but really? It's that hard to overcome that a woman considers just dropping the only guy who has ever made her happy, because he seems beneath her? It would be different if the book put forth some real reasons that their class differences threatened their relationship, but it really doesn't. It's all half developed and mostly based on Emma's speculation.
That brings me to Emma. I wanted to like Emma. I could see a lot of Emma in myself - a quiet introvert who doesn't take well to people, who needs time to warm up. I understand that. But oh my gosh, she drove me crazy. So wishy washy! So indecisive! So unable to just follow her *own* thoughts and feelings. She drove me insane. It's very hard to fully enjoy a novel where you often want to wring the neck of the main character.
All of that, truly, I could have probably forgiven if Green hadn't taken the plot off the deep end near the end of the novel. I was so irritated and so upset: I went through all of the above for THIS? I won't spoil it, but let's just say I didn't sign up for a Nicholas Sparks novel. Any of the novel's redeeming qualities (a cute cat, a somewhat cute kid, Emma's dad) went out the window.
Overall, I just didn't enjoy this one. Too much of the plot devices irritated me, and then-BOOM-the actual plot drove me over the edge.
You can read my review of Jane Green's novel, SUMMER SECRETS, here.
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