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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Falling Home by Karen White

Falling Home by Karen White
Publisher: NAL Accents
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (437 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

Revised and expanded for this new trade paperback edition, Karen White’s novel tells a poignant story of two estranged sisters. At twenty Cassie Madison left her hometown of Walton, Georgia, for New York City, where she has reinvented herself—from losing herself in her career to squashing her accent. But one night a single phone call brings back everything she’s tried to forget. She hasn’t spoken to her sister since Harriet stole Cassie’s fiancĂ© and married him. But now Harriet’s on the line with news that their father is dying.

As she makes the trip back, the only thing that frightens Cassie more than losing her father is seeing Harriet and the family that should have been hers. But she can’t help loving her nephews and nieces any more than she can help feeling at home again in Walton. As she fights a surprising reaction to a forgotten friend, and faces an unexpected threat to the family she’d once left behind, Cassie comes to realize that moving on doesn’t always mean moving away from who you are.

Exquisite imagery makes Falling Home a memorable story that reaches right into the heart and soul.

As Cassie Madison rushes to her dying father, back to the place she left fifteen years ago with her heart in shreds, all the old emotions return to plague her. Even with her successful career in advertising and her engagement to her sophisticated boss, she fears her dad’s comment that she will never get the red Georgia clay off her shoes might be true. As the people of Walton, Georgia still remember, Cassie gets mean when she gets scared. WOW! The reader sees this side of Cassie in full screen Technicolor as she struggles with all the feelings she ran from fifteen years ago, with new and even-more-extreme emotions pressing in.

Sam Parker, Cassie’s friend since childhood, knows all her flaws and fears. He meets her snobby New York attitude head on and gives her tit for tat. He is one darling of a hero! After medical school, he returned to Walton, the life style suits him. Making money is not his number one priority in life. While Cassie had kept her family at a distance, Sam has become close to her father, her sister Harriet and Harriet’s husband Joe as well as their adorable children. He and Mary Jane, Cassie best girl friend in high school, run the clinic in Walton. To him Cassie’s laugh is like “a coke freshly poured in a glass”—effervescent. Her hurts of long ago he’d helped her through and now he finds himself doing it again, but with a more mature view, he goads her to not run from, but to work through, her fears and hurts that had prompted many of her actions since the death of her mother so many, many years ago.

Cassie and Sam strike sparks of each other. His kisses set off a crackle, pop, and sizzle like lightning in Cassie that makes her “knees melt like butter in a frying pan”, but he refuses to be just temporary solace. He declares he will be all or nothing at all to her. Both are sorely tested as traumatic events set both their lives in upheaval when they are thrown together to work for the good of something more important than themselves. When Cassie’s load gets to be more than she can handle, she weeps and fallings into Sam’s arms and realizes it is like falling home.

Harriet, who makes decisions with her heart and stands by them with unerring love, is amazing and her connection with Cassie awesome. However, the super strength and courage she shows as she deals with the inevitable is magnificent. Her oldest daughter Maddie, so much like her Aunt Cassie, suffers all the raw wounds of adolescents. She adds a new point of view for the happenings that is so different from what adults see, yet her Aunt Cassie seems to understand her. Many of the supporting characters like Ed Farrell, Aunt Lucinda, and Miss Lena play important roles in Cassie’s “true coming of age”. They add suspense, mystery, conflict, and abundant love.

Karen White creates a story to be savored not to be rushed through—I found myself reading some passages again because they teased my senses, or touched my heart in a special way. She gives us imagery that lingers in the heart and mind long after the last word is read.

Falling Home is one for the bookshelf to be read more than once.