Revised and modified, Karen White's novel tells the story of Cassie White and her relationship with her estranged family. Falling Home is a stereotypical traditional coming home story. Cassie ran from her Southern home as fast she could to New York City. There she built a pretty satisfying life with an active career, an intelligent boyfriend and a great apartment, until news of her father's death made her return to the home she hasn't seen in over twenty years.
Back of the Book:
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 fiancée; 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.
If I have any criticism, it's in White's use of the clichéd dying-of-cancer-go-to storyline. What? We can't have a drama without someone dying of cancer, someone getting molested or the kidnapping of a child? Don't get me wrong. All of the those things are truly horrific. Please don't think I'm belittling someone's pain. But authors- Really? Seriously? That's all you have? In your huge vat of imagination? I feel like I'm watching an episode of House- yelling IT'S LUPUS, IT'S LUPUS.
I feel like a disappointed Jewish mother watching her brilliant yet quirky child drop out of medical school to pursue a career in finger-painting. I was hoping for a woman who reconnected with her family. One who dealt with a real struggle of finding home. I could connect with a character who struggles between the life of her youth and the life she's carved out as an adult. Everyone knows the struggle of wanting to be in two places at once. Hell, Reece Witherspoon was just in a pretty successful movie about that topic just a few years ago- a movie that's on repeat on the local channels at least once a week. So it must be a storyline that resonates with people. Or else we all just like Reese Witherspoon so gosh darned much. Hmm, quandary.
Not to say it wasn't enjoyable. These types of stories do well for a reason. I just felt she could have done so much more with Falling Home.
White is an incredible story writer- her descriptions make the reader remember what it's like to be a child.
"Cassie was dreaming again. It was of old summers; the summers of bare feet, skinned knees and homemade peach ice cream that dripped down her chin and made her fingers sticky. Aunt Lucinda rang the supper bell, and Cassie and Harriet raced each other past the gazebo toward the back porch, their sun-kissed legs pumping under white sundresses. The jangling of the dream-bell seemed so real, Cassie felt she could touch the cold brass and make it stop."
-Source: Falling Home, Karen White
Which is probably why her fluffy plot line annoyed me so much.
Long time fans of Karen White and fans of Southern fiction will love the book. Others may find the characters just a little too one-dimensional. Either way it's a good book for the plane or to read as you're watching the kids play in the pool.