Publication date: June 2018
Review, short version: Two skunks out of four.
Review, long version:
I’m OK with formulaic books. They’re predictable, but successful, and if a formula works, why not use it?
In this case, Karen White’s Dreams of Falling follows a predictable and successful formula I’ll call
The young woman is 27-year-old Larkin, who returns to where she grew up in Georgetown, South Carolina. The formula is particularly popular when the story is set in the Deep South, where secrets breed secrets.
Larkin left home nine years ago. The reason she returned home is clear – her mother was injured in an accident. The reason she left home is, of course, a secret.
Waiting to welcome Larkin home are Ceecee and Bitty, two eccentric (eccentricity in the South – required) 77-year-old friends of Larkin’s long-deceased grandmother Margaret. Ceecee and Bitty have secrets, and so did Margaret. And so does Larkin’s mother, Ivy, who’s in a coma but who we hear from on a regular basis. How that can happen is, I guess – a secret.
Also waiting in Georgetown is Bennett, the mandatory stunningly handsome man who grew up with Larkin and of course has been in love with her all along. But that, of course, is a secret.
Then there’s Larkin’s family’s old plantation, Carrowmore, which burned down years ago during a hurricane. Burnt down plantations and hurricanes are also very big in – guess where – the South. What caused the fire is (here it comes) a secret. What caused the hurricane is not.
The Big Reveal – and there’s always a Big Reveal – comes near the end (where else?) in the form of a letter. Larkin discovers the letter in a hidden compartment (where else?) in an old desk.
We don’t know the letter contents and before we can find out, Ceecee takes the letter away from Larkin. Then Bitty takes the letter away from CeeCee. Then Bennett gets the letter from Bitty. If Ivy, even in her coma, had been in the room I’m sure she would have taken the letter from Bennett.
Don’t believe me? The letter round robin starts on page 376.
And I almost forgot the Tree of Dreams, a character in its own right. The gnarly old Tree of Dreams is full of secrets, and guess what – it’s not telling you.
At the end of 400+ pages, everyone’s secrets – including the Tree’s – are revealed.
Except one secret, and that is:
Why didn’t I give this book more skunks?
And guess what…