Pauline Trent – “Falling in Love”

8 May

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Zebra Books, 2009


WHY THIS NOVEL: I read Nath’s review.

The back blurb:
“Lambert Falls, North Carolina, is a small Southern town where the past and present effortlessly mingle. Here, the pace is sweet and tranquil-but life can still offer up its share of surprises…

After years in the military, Chris Montgomery is looking for somewhere to relax and recharge, and Lambert Falls, with its tree-lined streets and picturesque town square, seems ideal. Chris expected that a stranger in town would attract suspicion and gossip. He didn’t expect to meet someone like Angie Kane, with her warm, open smile and self-contained air that are instantly intriguing.

Angie has built a satisfying life for herself, one she’s not willing to uproot for someone who’s just passing through. But Chris is quietly persistent-not to mention handsome and charming. Against her own better judgment, Angie finds herself falling deeper than she ever intended-until one phone call forces her to choose between the town she’s always loved, and a man she can’t imagine living without…”

Falling in Love is a gentle and sweet story. It’s the story of Angie Kane whose sense of self is strongly connected with her home town of Lambert Falls and of Chris Montgomery who thinks he’s finally able to settle down after years in the military.

Angie is not all that self-confident and wary of men and of falling in love, regardless of who the man is. But that’s even more so with Chris, an ex-military man who didn’t know a home for much of his life. She’s not sure he’s able to settle down, no matter what he thinks and wants.

But Chris is determined, and with the help of Angie’s uncle Bobby and her sister Carter Ann, he wins Angie over. It’s a slow process, one that takes weeks and months, not just a few days from first meeting to commitment for life. Much more believable and realistic, IMO, and while the courtship and especially the pacing of the sexual relationship seemed not really modern and maybe “quaint,” I really appreciated it for its sweetness. Chris is willing to wait – without making a big deal out of it – because he knows that’s what Angie needs.

And it paid off to stick around. Not only is Falling in Love a story that shows two people falling in love, it’s a story that takes a look at what happens when two people – now rather modern – try to make it work in the long run without talk of marriage at first. I thought the title really fitting that way. This story looks at the joys and decisions falling in love entails.

There’s maybe a whiff of small-town sweetness going on but as Angie’s sister says:

“You know I never understood your connection to little old Lambert Falls, right?” Carter Ann kept her voice low so Angie wouldn’t think she was being teased, or worse, criticized.
“I know,” Angie admitted.
“But if I understand it or not, I understand it’s there and it’s real.” (305)

Angie’s connection to Lambert Falls is so much part of her character that, faced with the decision to lose it or Chris, she has some serious agonizing and thinking about herself and her future to do.

There’s only one annoying little quirk to this story: all characters are very fond of saying “hand to God.” It’s used for everything but I had the impression that it lessened somewhat in the later chapters. That, or it grew on me and I was used to it by then.

More astonishingly, at first, I didn’t think that this expression would turn out to be the only annoying thing about this story. Right on the first few pages, I realized that there are many POV changes in this story. There’s probably no surer way to make me irritated with a story than constant head hopping. Each change in POV tends to yank me out of the story, irritating me and keeping me from connecting with the story so that I have to work to stay with it. But – insert a “hand to God” here – Pauline Trent made it work in this story. After a few grumbles in the first chapter, I settled in and barely noticed them. They are rather subtle, IMO, and so Falling in Love goes to show that there are always stories around that can overcome a personal dislike.

I enjoyed reading about Angie’s road to more self-confidence – she starts a new career with Chris’s encouragement – and the heartwarming relationship between Angie and her family, and the town at large. I especially liked the small little touches, like Carter Ann lowering her voice in the quote above so not to hurt Angie unnecessary, that show a knowledge about human interaction and communication. Falling in Love is a good and promising first novel.

Verdict: A nice, sweet and gentle read. (4/5)


6 Responses to “Pauline Trent – “Falling in Love””

  1. nath Friday, May 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    Phewwww, I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Taja! πŸ™‚ While not perfect, I thought it was different and refreshing.

    You know, how many real-life romances are like the one in Falling in Love and how many are like the other contemp? I say, in a way, this is much more realistic…

  2. Taja Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Nath – “different and refreshing,” and “more realistic” – I agree. At first, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this novel all that much because of Angie and the “hand of God” thing (seemed a bit judgmental) but Angie grew on me. And after she and Chris moved in together, I was completely won over.

    Phewwww” – you seem to have worried I wouldn’t like it. πŸ˜‰

  3. nath Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    Well you know, there’s always a risk when you recommend books to people. Generally, it’d be better if they enjoyed it as well πŸ˜›

  4. Taja Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    Nath – you’re right, of course. I am the same (who isn’t?). It was just that I had to smile when I saw your β€œPhewwww” – I thought it really nice. πŸ™‚

  5. Pauline Trent Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    Taja ~ I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! Thank you for the lovely review and being willing to have your mind changed about POV shifts. πŸ™‚

    ~ Pauline

  6. Taja Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    Pauline – It was my pleasure to have my mind changed about POV shifts by your novel! Now I know that they can work for me. πŸ™‚

    I enjoyed reading your novel and I’m looking forward to your next book. Thanks for commenting!


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