Don’t you love that moment when you first meet an author, savor their words, and begin that lovely reader/stalker journey with them? It’s a courtship really—that first novel. One either sinks into the depths of a lovely story provided by an excellent wordsmith or realizes that the relationship was not meant to be and would not survive beyond that last chapter. If the former is true, then that new author immediately moves to that coveted “auto-buy” status and a new love is born. Sigh. I have met my future auto-buy and her name is Suki Fleet. And the novel? Falling—and yes, thank you I did—fall in love with this story.
Falling is not for the faint of heart. While this novel could never be called a light hearted romance, it could and should be called a deep and emotional awakening of two souls fighting to find their way from very different past circumstances. Told in first person, Josh’s story is not easy to read. Struggling from a life marked by dark depression, he now lives by wrapping his heart up and storing it far within, never allowing others too close. He lives in an apartment above a mother/son duo that have their own share of troubling issues. When Josh initially moved in, his downstairs neighbor Eleanor lived alone. Her son resided with her demanding and somewhat mentally abusive ex. The poor woman suffered from severe agoraphobia and Josh took up the task of shopping for her and checking in daily to help ease her anxiety.
When her son Angus moved in, Josh quickly became aware of the mysterious spark that lay between them. It was obvious Angus harbored a strong crush on Josh, but being merely eighteen to Josh’s twenty-five left the older man reluctant to pursue anything. Plus, his own feelings of self-worth and the firm idea he would end up hurting anyone he allowed himself to care for helped him keep Angus at an arm’s length. After it became apparent that Eleanor’s issues were spiraling out of control, it would be Josh who helped Angus get her settled in a mental care facility. This move also convinced Josh that his own dark and troubled past should never taint the beauty and innocence that Angus represented to him. But Karma has a mind of her own and before Josh can hide even deeper inside himself, Angus pushes his way in and asks Josh only one thing—to give them a try—to see if they could be more than friends.
This bare bones synopsis is necessary in order not to give away too much of this amazing novel. The emotional balance that the author maintains between the darker angst both main characters carry within them and the blossoming love that is possible was nothing short of genius. Just at the moment when you began to despair that Josh would forever be running from anything that implied future happiness, author Suki Fleet would throw Angus into the mix and the sun would open up the text and bring much needed hope.
The first person narrative allowed for the reader to really dig deep into the mind and heart of Josh and what was found there was so heart breakingly beautiful. I fell in love with this character and then with Angus, grateful that he was written mature beyond his years and that we came to understand how he became that way. All in all this was a story complete with healing, new found love, and courage and the very real cautionary theme that depression never really leaves us, but we do learn to cope with it. In fact, this author not only creates characters who grow to understand that but also allow themselves to trust in a happy ever after they never thought possible. This is a story of triumph over darkness and the glory of the strength of an understanding and lasting love. I highly recommend Falling by Suki Fleet to you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.