Shaylie Beck thought she was lucky when she snagged the last seat on a flight back home to Denver. She never could’ve expected the unimaginable when the plane crashes, leaving herself as one of ten survivors. Now her life is about rebuilding her body and her soul. She believes attending a survivors’ support group is the best place to start and will help with her healing process.
Piper Cole wants answers. Why did the plane carrying her best friend and fiancée have to crash? Why didn’t they survive? She’s doing her best to grasp how these events unfolded, but the investigation is taking too long. To help cope with losing the two most important women in her life, Piper attends a support group for survivors and their loved ones. There she meets Shaylie, a woman who maybe able to give Piper the answers she wants.
The friendship Piper and Shaylie forge is better than any balm to sooth their physical and emotional wounds. But as their feelings turn to love, Shaylie’s torn. Because she does have answers for Piper. They just may not be the ones Piper wants to hear.
Should Shaylie follow her heart and keep the truth from the woman she loves? Or should she come clean about what she witnessed before the plane crashed and risk losing Piper forever?
Anna: Both women are charismatic and have wonderful personalities. Where they differ is how they approach their lives. Before the crash, Shaylie was brilliant and driven by her career to become the best realtor for commercial real estate. After the crash, she realizes life is more than just her job. She decides to finally start living, and she wants to include Piper into her newfound perspective.
Piper is so vivacious, and it shows even though she is grieving. She mourns the loss of her fiancée and friend, yet she also understands that she cannot let the grief overwhelm her. So she continues doing the things that help her channel her emotional pain, such as teaching at her yoga studio, going cycling with her friends, and developing a new relationship under the unlikeliest of circumstances.
Both women have come to learn the value of living life to the fullest. And they will soon learn that when you start living, love is just around the corner.
Tara: I totally agree with Anna on all counts! The only thing I have to add is that I also loved a couple of the side characters. Marisa is Shaylie’s best friend and Jason is another survivor from the crash who saved Shaylie by carrying her off the plane. They add a dimension of found family to the story that’s beautiful and well worth checking out.
The Writing Style
Anna: Bryant tells the story entirely from Shaylie’s point of view, yet we are given information about both women to understand the plight they face due to this tragic event. Whether it’s Shaylie dealing with the guilt of keeping secrets, or Piper dealing with the guilt of moving on so soon, both women struggle to find the right answers. Only Shaylie and Piper can understand what decisions feel right in their hearts. Their choices are all that matters to make themselves happy. That is the best thing Bryant gives us with this story, the permission to make choices with our hearts, no matter the outcome.
Tara: While I don’t feel like I had any issues getting to know Piper, this is one first-person romance where I would LOVE to see the story told from the love interest’s perspective. Piper goes through so much between losing the two people closest to her, finding love again while dealing with her grief, and learning those answers that Anna alludes to her in her blurb. I was left wanting to see more of Piper’s emotional journey, even if I enjoyed joining Shaylie for her perspective throughout the story.
Tara: Brittni Pope crushed the narration in this one. She’s consistently so good and I love listening to her. I especially liked how she differentiated the characters and her sweet interpretation of Piper’s voice.
Anna: There are questions Shaylie and Piper must decide on their own how to answer. Moral questions such as, How much information should I give? and How much time is an “acceptable” time to grieve?. These are very real uncertainties that must be addressed when dealing with tragedy, love, and moving on. What’s great about Bryant’s approach to these dilemmas is how easily she makes it for the reader to ask themselves the same questions. And I love that. I love a story that makes me think about my own choices along with the characters.
Tara: Once I started listening to Falling, I had a hard time stopping. I was so caught up in Shaylie and Piper’s story and I loved how things ended for them.
Also, that cover is amazing.
Anna: I now have to add Colorado and Wyoming to my bucket list of places to visit. Better dust off those lottery numbers.
Tara: Like I said, I’d have liked to see more of Piper’s perspective. I especially would have liked to see some of the fallout of her getting those answers from Shaylie, since that felt like a bit of a loose end.
Anna: I was looking forward to this book as soon as I heard about its impending release, and I was not disappointed. Bryant delivers a story that is equal parts touching, compassionate, and uplifting. I love seeing her continue to grow as a writer and give us compelling stories that make us think as well as enjoy. High praise to Bryant. I expect more greatness from her down the road.
Tara: You won’t find many romances like this one. The setup is unusual, the character work is deep (especially for Shaylie), and the happily ever after is lovely. This one is well worth checking out, especially in audio.
Excerpt from Falling by Kris Bryant
I dunked the biscotti in my coffee but stopped before I took a bite. Piper Cole walked through the front door. I stood out of sheer surprise. My movements caught her eye and she shot me the sweetest smile. I couldn’t help but grin back.
“Hi, Shaylie.” She surprised me by hugging me. I cursed my body for feeling a tingle at her closeness.
“Piper. Hi. What are you doing here?” I offered her the chair across from me.
“My studio is across the street. I come in here at break to rejuvenate and caffeinate as needed. How are you?” She squeezed my hand.
“I’m great.” I lifted my wrist to show her it was free of the confining cast.
She gently brushed her fingertips across the thin pink scar above my eyebrow. It was still sensitive to the touch. The fact that she was completely in my personal space and her fingers were on my face derailed me. I tried not to jump, but my body betrayed me.
“I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?”
I shook my head and gave her a weak smile. Chills ran across my body and I struggled to hold in the shiver. “No, it’s just a little tender still. I hate it.”
“Don’t hate it. It doesn’t take away from your beauty at all. It tells a story. You’re a survivor and you should wear it like a badge,” she said.
“Thank you, but I feel like it’s the first thing people notice about me lately.” I touched it gingerly.
“The first thing people notice about you is everything else.” She took another sip while she stared at me contemplatively.
I forced myself to maintain eye contact. I knew she was only being friendly, but it was so easy to take it the wrong way. She wasn’t interested in me. She’d just lost half of her heart and was far from recovery.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635553734
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: Brittni Pope
- Kris Bryant Online
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