I generally start my reviews of a book when I’m about a third of the way through, so I can summarize the premise, outline the characters and give my initial impression at the start. Well this book plain confused me. It jumps around in time, telling the story of Rory (Aurora) and Houston: first when they first fell into a relationship at college, then when they broke up a few months later, and finally a few years on (present day) when they bump into one another again.
There are multiple secrets to be uncovered across multiple time frames, and I’m wasn’t sure I liked either of the characters enough to care about uncovering them.
So, to the tale – Rory is a frustrated writer who works in an upmarket grocery store. She’s mid-twenties and perpetually single, having five years ago broken up with the guy she considers her soul mate – Houston. He’s the brother of her best friend – a girl who killed herself the day Rory and Houston got together.
Ever since the breakup, Rory considers herself damaged goods. Though they weren’t a couple for long, she’d had a crush on him from age eleven, and they fell deeply in love as they leaned heavily on one another to get through the aftermath of the sister’s death. Then Houston walks out of her life with no explanation other than a ‘see ya’.
Imagine her shock when, five years on, Houston walks into the grocery store to start selling his microbrewery products at one of their branches. They’ll have to work together. Despite him not recognizing her (for, frankly, odd reasons), in short order all the feelings come flooding back for both of them. Then begins the chase. He wants her back, but – a huge but which significantly affected my enjoyment of the story – Houston is married. He screws his wife while thinking about Rory. Nope all over that.
Then there’s the cheating, which happens more than once and with more than one person. I can’t get on with cheating. Even if it’s overlapping partners with the intention of an imminent break up, I’ll be over here shaking my head. It’s a sign the relationships is built on shaky ground, with flawed people who won’t last the distance. This is the opposite of what the author was suggesting – that soul mates are irresistible.
If I’d fallen in love with the characters, it might’ve improved my overall enjoyment. But Rory is aimless and easily led, and Houston… well, I’ll let him tell you some of his views himself:
‘When sex became less about procreation and more about emotional connection, women lost their love for doggy-style. Now women want to look into your eyes when you come. They want to imprint the image of their face in your memory at that climactic moment so you associate their visage with your ultimate desire. It’s all a psychological game.’
Okaaaay. Or there’s this:
‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned in two years of marriage, it’s that you must have a plan when arguing with a woman. If you go in blind, you’ll be knocked over the head and slaughtered before you know what hit you.’
How’s he working out for you? Maybe:
‘I normally prefer the girls I date to look naturally beautiful, but if Rory hadn’t worn that red lipstick and that white dress today, I may never have noticed her.’
He also behaves like a dick more than once. Example: the way he asks if Rory ever slept with anyone else other than him – just as he’s half way inside her when they sleep together for the first time after reconciling. Or the way he goes all macho ass when he sees her with another guy (she tries to date someone else to withstand the magnetic draw Houston has). May I reiterate here that Houston is married.
Then there’s a terrible decision he made when he and Rory originally got together, and a secret he kept. It didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t follow his logic. Hardly surprising Rory couldn’t either. It was a huge betrayal for lousy reasons.
Houston’s marriage sucks. His wife threatens to kill herself so he doesn’t leave her, and while I pity him for this (though he married her for reasons relating to it so it’s hardly a surprise), he isn’t her keeper. Her tragedy is not his. I didn’t enjoy this story line. There’s also a chapter from her point of view, used to provide a key piece of information. This felt out of place to me, and the intel could’ve come from a different source. Or maybe not have been delivered at all.
I think the main problem was I didn’t feel the irresistible draw between Rory and Houston – the tragedy that made them an epic couple. It was written on the page and though the writing wasn’t bad, I felt a lack of emotional consistency to the scenes.
There’s two more of these books so this isn’t a HEA. In fact it’s the opposite. I’m not immediately jumping on to book two. If you have, and you’re convinced in the love and epic-ness of Rory and Houston, let me know and I’ll reconsider.
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Way We Fall
by Cassia Leo
Release Date: February 20, 2015