Fifteen years ago, after her sister Harriet eloped with Cassie’s boyfriend, Cassie Madison left her home town of Walton, Georgia, for New York City, and never looked back. She worked hard to reinvent herself with a high-powered career and successful fiance, and doesn’t miss home or family – until Harriet calls to tell Cassie that their father is dying. She heads back to Walton, bringing her big-city wardrobe and her years-long grudge with her. The pull of home and family is stronger than Cassie ever anticipated, and she is quickly pulled into the lives of her sister and her five children – and the town doctor, Sam Parker. She is determined to take care of business in Walton and then head back to NYC, but she finds it’s not as easy leaving home a second time.
I have read a lot of books lately with a similar plotline: woman returns to a home or place from her childhood to deal with the past. Evenfall and The Violets of March both cover the idea of going home, and both did it very well, so when I started reading Falling Home, I felt a bit ho-hum about reading a similar novel. Fortunately, Karen White’s ability to suck you into the lives of her characters helped me overcome my reservations very quickly.
In Walton, Georgia, White has created a town I wish I lived in. I hope that places like this still exist in our country, though I wonder if we’d all have to move south to find them! The people of Walton welcome Cassie home with open arms, while being truthful that they don’t like the changes they see in her: the hardness, the big city snobbishness, the determination to hold on to past hurts. Cassie is a tough character, a woman shaped by what she sees as the defining moment in her life: the moment she discovered that Harriet had eloped with Joe, the love of Cassie’s life. She has never questioned her relationship with Joe, or attempted to see what is obvious to everyone else in town – that Harriet and Joe were meant to be together. Her father’s death is not the only thing Cassie has to face if she ever wants to have a relationship with her sister again. At times, I got frustrated with Cassie and her stubbornness, wishing she would soften up, but all of her decisions seemed to flow naturally out of her character and her inability to forgive.
As I read further on, I figured I knew exactly where this story was going, both family-wise and romance-wise. And then White threw something at the characters that takes this book in a deeper direction, one that had me turning pages long after I should have been doing other things. I fell in love with these characters, and definitely shed more than a few tears. This book is filled with laughter, family, and love – and I wish that I could peek in on the characters a few years down the road, because after finishing the book, I find that I miss them.
I would love to pass my very used review copy of Falling Home on to one of my readers. If you’re in the US, and you don’t mind a book that got quite a bit water-logged in an accidental spill, but is still completely readable, and you don’t mind waiting until my mom is done reading it, leave me a comment – I’ll send my copy to the first person who asks.