Review Blog Tour: Falling Together

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review Blog Tour: Falling TogetherFalling Together by Marisa de los Santos
Published by William Morrow on October 2, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours

It's been six years since Pen Calloway watched Cat and Will, her best friends from college, walk out of her life. Through the birth of her daughter, the death of her father, and the vicissitudes of single motherhood, she has never stopped missing them. When, after years of silence, Cat—the bewitching, charismatic center of their group—urgently requests that the three meet at their college reunion, Pen can't refuse. But instead of a happy reconciliation, what awaits is a collision of past and present that sends Pen and Will on a journey around the world, with Pen's five-year-old daughter and Cat's hostile husband in tow. And as Pen and Will struggle to uncover the truth about Cat, they find more than they bargained for: startling truths about who they were before and who they are now.

With her trademark wit, vivid prose, and gift for creating authentic, captivating characters, Marisa de los Santos returns with an emotionally resonant novel about our deepest human connections.

First Sentence: “Pen would not use the word summoned when she told Jamie about the e-mail later that night.”

Under a misapprehension that Falling Together would deal with the same characters as Marisa de los Santos’ prior books (because I fail to read blurbs most of the time), I read the one I hadn’t yet gotten to, Belong to Me, last week. Now, Falling Together actually has nothing to do with the prior two, but I’m glad for the mistake, because I love Marisa’s writing and who can regret an error that results in more joyous reading? While Falling Together did not touch my heart the same way Love Walked In and Belong to Me did, it is still a marvelous, beautiful, thoughtful novel on the nature of love, friendship and family.

So far all of Marisa’s novels have had friendship, the sort of long-lasting kind that is more important than family even, the friends that become your family and part of your heart forever, at the core. While romance certainly enters into her plot lines, I would argue that it’s not even close to being the most important thing thematically. Before love, friendship.

In Falling Together, the friends in question met and promptly became inseparable in college. They had that sort of instantaneous kinship, obvious kindred spirits. Stories of powerful, enduring friendship perhaps affect me more emotionally than all of those romances that make me swoon, because I can identify with those feelings. I’ve come across people like that, who were so obviously intended to be a part of my life, whether or not I believe in fate or god or preordination. Some people just seem to belong with you. Plus, friendship as a theme generally takes a back seat to romance, so it’s always a refreshing read.

Cat, Will and Pen were like this. Trios are rough to maintain, because usually two of the three generally get along slightly better than the third. These three make it work…for a while anyway. After college, they live together in an apartment in Philly, but, eventually, Cat tires of their exclusive circle. She wants to marry and start a new life, and feels unable to do that with Will and Pen still in it. They are too protective of her, too judgmental of her suitors (the ‘rump slap’ bit was my favorite part!). Left alone, without the hub of their social group, Pen and Will eventually separate, all three agreeing not to communicate in any way anymore, preferring to keep their memories of one another pristine.

The catalyst for the journey of the novel comes with a mysterioug email from Cat, the first contact in six years, telling Pen she needs her and will hopefully see her at their college reunion. Unable to pass up the chance to see one of the people missing from her soul for all this time, Cat goes, and discovers that nothing was quite what she thought. Her journey leads to surprising places. There’s romance that I found quite touching, and parts that broke my heart. There is even a charming child. I give Marisa de los Santos full credit for having written three books with children as main characters, and having made me like all of them. This one wasn’t even a teen, but she still was pretty adorable.

This book took me a while to get through, though, because up until Pen goes to the reunion, I was rather bored. Pen does a lot of sitting around and feeling pathetic, which I can sympathize with but it still didn’t interest me. There are also a lot of extended flashbacks, which messed with the tempo as well. I feel like this might have been stronger if it started in college and then jumped to the future where they’re not together, rather than flashing back. The pacing was just off.

I also, personally, feel like the story might have benefited from first person narration, rather than third person limited. Pen would undoubtedly have a really powerful voice, and I’m sure I would have liked her, but I felt somewhat removed from her as it was, though perhaps that too is because of the pacing.

Marisa de los Santos has become one of my favorite authors. While this one might not shine quite so brightly, it’s still powerful and beautiful, and one I expect I shall revisit sometime in the future.

Favorite Quote:

“‘Honestly, William, time?’ his mother had snapped. ‘Distance? Those things have nothing whatsoever to do with love. Who knows that better than you?'”

6 responses to “Review Blog Tour: Falling Together”

  1. I had a bit of a hard time getting into this one in the beginning as well.

  2. trish says:

    That’s hilarious that you read Belong to Me thinking it would help you with this book. Errors like this are the best kind. 🙂

    You’ve convinced me I need to recommend one of her books to my book club. I would love to talk about the kind of friendship she explores with the ladies in my book club.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  3. Following the TLC tour 🙂 It took me almost a week to read this book because I was reading each page slowly and savoring all the beautiful imagery and elaborate descriptions it provided. I’m so glad you enjoyed Falling Together too!

    Ana @ BookSpark

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