Falling Home is a book novelist Karen White wrote several years ago. She re-examined and re-tooled it into an expanded story that shows White at her storytelling best. It is a novel about going back to those places of the heart where you are loved, accepted and made to feel secure.
Cassie Madison fled her hometown of Walton, Georgia fifteen years ago when she learned that her sister was going to marry Cassie's boyfriend Joe. She ended up in New York City where she made herself a new life. Now in her thirties she is returning home because of her father's ill health. It will be the first time in fifteen years that she has been back and spoken to her sister Harriet, now married to Joe and the mother of five kids.
The book focuses on Cassie's plight in reacquainting herself with friends and family from her childhood and tamping down old memories of hurts that have lasted over the years. She has left a fiancé in New York but that doesn't seem to affect Sam Parker at all. He was a high school friend who is now a doctor in the town. He obviously had a crush on Cassie before she left and has been biding his time waiting for her return.
The book covers old mysteries, old love affairs, new love affairs and new mysteries. It also captures perfectly life in small town Georgia. You feel the sense of community and the camaraderie of friends who have lived their lives in each other's shadows. Cassie is drawn back into the routines of small town life which are quite different from her life in New York.
Reading these pages is like opening a book and "falling home." For those from the South or who have been fortunate to spend some time there, it is a celebration of a way of life which is quietly fading away. It isn't quite "gone with the wind" but it is fading fast.
Some of the incidents in White's book are too convenient for the plot, and at times the reader feels a bit manipulated. Still the power of the emotions she creates and the characters she brings to life make this a book which will absorb you. For the length of the story you are living in Walton, Georgia and Cassie's problems are your problems.
Karen White is an extremely talented writer. She manages to spin a story that captures the readers' minds and hearts. She knows how to arrange the words to provoke thoughts of silent nights and steaming days. She also manages to find the humor amid heartbreak, and hope amid hopelessness.
If you are not yet a Karen White fan then Falling Home will help draw you into her fold. It is a southern story through and through but it has some universal implications. Cassie learns many valuable lessons by coming home and by reading her story so will the readers.
Falling Home is published by New American Library. It contains 464 pages and sells for $15.00.