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Falling Together: Book Review

By Wendy Robards

Falling Together, by Marisa de los Santos.

Out of the blue sky and after more than six years of waiting -- because no matter how hard she had tried not to wait, that is exactly what she'd been doing -- Pen had been summoned. As soon as the merry-go-round inside her head slowed its whirling and jangling enough for her to think anything, she though, Oh, Cat, followed by Finally. - from Falling Together, page 5 -

Pen, Cat and Will all met in college and almost instantaneously became best friends. But then their friendship fell apart. Now, six years later, both Will and Pen receive a mysterious email from Cat asking them to come to their tenth year college reunion because she "needs" them. Anxious, but eager to see Cat, they make the trip. Within moments of reuniting, Pen and Will resume their old friendship, filled with warmth and conversation and something else which neither of them have yet acknowledged. But Cat is not at the reunion and instead her childish, somewhat hostile husband, Jason, confronts the two friends. Before they know it, both Pen and Will (with Jason in tow) find themselves on a search for their old friend, uncovering secrets, and discovering who they have become in the years between college and now.

Because Cat had said that she needed her, Pen had left Augusta, and now here she stood, mute and rigid as a stump, her head full of noise, remembering the curve of her child's perfect skull in her hand, and waiting for someone who was either taking her damn time (Pen hadn't worn a watch in years and her satin wristlet bag was too small for her phone, so she didn't know how long she had been waiting, but knew it was unforgivably long) or who was never arriving at all. God, I must be insane, she though, or stupid. And then she turned her face -- what was it? fifteen degrees? ten? less? -- and saw Will. - from Falling Together, page 96 -

Marisa de los Santos creates characters that are warm, flawed, and oh so real. It is one reason why I have loved her books. Falling Together is no exception. Pen, still reeling from her father's death and raising her daughter alone, holds onto the fantasy that she, Will and Cat will be able to recapture their old friendships. Will, now a children's author, regrets having left Pen behind all those years ago. And Cat, perhaps the most mysterious of the characters, has plunged ahead with her life and found independence.

The writing in this novel is witty and vivid. de los Santos was educated as a poet, and her prose often resonates with lyricism and beautiful description.

She licked the salt off her lips and wrapped her arms around herself, rocked by awe and the ocean, as the jackfish swirled beneath her like a typhoon or a galaxy or a like a swirling school of silver fish. - from Falling Together, page 304 -

The themes of friendship, love, and human connection are strong in the novel. Those readers who enjoyed the character interactions in de los Santos's previous novels, will not be disappointed with the unspooling relationships in Falling Together. I found myself caught up in the lives of Pen and Will, Jason and Cat -- I wanted to see them find happiness and friendship. I really did not want to see their stories end.

Marisa de los Santos has written a book full of heart and joy, and also laughter.

Recommended to those readers who have enjoyed this author's previous books, and for readers who love women's fiction.

  • Quality of Writing: Four and a half stars
  • Characters: Five stars
  • Plot: Four stars

Overall Rating: Four and a half stars out of five.

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.


Marisa de los Santos is the New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In, and Belong to Me. She has also published a poetry collection called From the Bones Out. Born in Baltimore, de los Santos grew up in Virginia then went on to study at UVA, Sarah Lawrence, and The University of Houston where she studied poetry. She is married to children's book author, David Teague. They live with their two children Charles in Wilmington, Delaware.


I am very happy to be able to offer TWO copies of Falling Together as a giveaway through the publisher. Here is how to enter:

  • Contest open ONLY to US Mailing Addresses.
  • Click here to take survey before 5:00 pm PST on October 16, 2011.
  • I will draw two winners sometime on October 17th and announce their names here on my blog

Good luck!

Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".


Article © Wendy Robards. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-10-10
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