Title: When We Fall by Emily Liebert
Publisher: NAL Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 313 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
LOVE LOST, LOVE FOUND
Ready for a fresh start, Allison Parker moves back to her hometown in the suburbs of New York. While she’d once savored the dynamic pace of city life, sadly, it lost its allure after her husband’s untimely death. Now, ready to focus on her art career accompanied by her ten-year-old son, Logan, Allison doesn’t anticipate that her past will resurface. When the wife of her husband’s best friend from summer camp takes her under her wing, things begin to spin out of control.
At one time, Charlotte Crane thought she had it all—a devoted husband, a beautiful little girl, and enough financial security to never have to worry. But behind her “perfect” facade lie a strained marriage and a fractured relationship with her sister. When “new girl” Allison arrives in Wincourt, Charlotte welcomes the chance to build a friendship. Before long, Charlotte begins to see her life through Allison’s eyes, and the cracks in her seemingly flawless existence become impossible to ignore.
As Allison heals from the loss of her husband—even wondering if she might be ready to date again—Charlotte feels more distant from her loved ones than ever before. The emerging friendship between the two women appears to be just the antidote both of them so desperately need…until everything falls apart.
When We Fall by Emily Liebert is a lovely novel about relationships, friendship and healing. It is an interesting story that does not shy away from sensitive topics such as negative body image, toxic friendships and how easy it is to let misunderstandings erode the foundation of relationships.
The cast of characters in When We Fall is diverse and some of them are difficult to like or relate to. Lead protagonist Allison Parker is an absolute delight. She is down to earth, likable and her struggle to move on after losing her husband in a accident is quite poignant. Unfortunately her new friend Charlotte Crane is not as likable as Allison. She is superficial, insecure and judgmental and although she has good qualities, they are often overshadowed by her negative traits. Her sister Elizabeth is much more likable and she really hits it off with Allison, much to Charlotte’s dismay. Charlotte’s friend Missy and Sabrina are also shallow and their “friendship” is a toxic mess that does more harm than good.
Allison’s part of the storyline is wonderful. She easily settles into her new life, her son Logan is well-adjusted and this new beginning is what she needed to move past her loss. She reconnects with an old high school classmate and she is pleasantly surprised by the direction their relationship takes. Her friendship with Charlotte adds a new dimension to her life but it is also a little complicated by her resumed acquaintance with Charlotte’s husband, Charlie. Charlie is an old summer camp friend of both Allison and her deceased husband, and Charlotte is both uneasy and jealous of their easy camaraderie with one another.
Charlotte is not an easy person to get along with despite her quick friendship with Allison. Her home life is tense and her marriage is deeply troubled. Her poor self-image causes friction in her relationship with her daughter and leads to unnecessary jealous towards Allison. Her friendships with Missy and Sabrina are emotionally draining and demoralizing. Charlotte continually sabotages her relationship with her sister Elizabeth with her judgmental, trivializing attitude. All of this plays a huge role in a huge misunderstanding that threatens to destroy all of her relationships.
When We Fall by Emily Liebert is a well-written novel that is starkly honest and incredibly realistic. The storyline with Allison is superb and it is very gratifying watching her settle into and enjoy her new life. While the other characters are eventually transformed, it is difficult to overlook the petty jealousies and sometimes distasteful inner monologues that occur throughout the novel. The conclusion is heartwarming and it is nice to see that some of the various relationships not only survived but have emerged stronger and much healthier.