Marisa de los Santos has this way of pulling at my heartstrings, and writing about topics that hit close to home for me. I have read her previous two books, “Love Walked In” and “Belong to Me,” and I think her newest novel, “Falling Together,” is my favorite of the three.
“Falling Together” follows three best friends from college, Cat, Pen and Will, as they graduate and fall away from each other. Their friendship was so unique and special to them in college, once they left the friends weren’t sure how things could stay the same. Cat gets married and moves away, telling Pen and Will not to contact her. Without Cat, Pen and Will don’t know how to be, and they also fall away from each other. Six years pass. Pen has struggled through the hardship of losing her father and is now the single mother of a young girl named Augusta, Will has learned to temper his anger problems stemming from a bad relationship with his father and is a successful author of children’s books.
Then Cat emails Will and Pen out of the blue and tells them she needs their help. She asks them to meet at their college reunion. Pen and Will show up to the reunion, and upon seeing each other are each overwhelmed by how much they have missed each other. However, Cat doesn’t show to the reunion, but her husband Josh, loathed by both Pen and Will, does. He tells them Cat has run away and he has no idea where to. Although Pen and Will are not trusting of Josh, they know they have to help him find their friend, and on the journey present end up colliding in ways none of them thought possible.
The story may be a bit far fetched and a bit dramatic, but that’s Santos’ style. She has a flair for the dramatic, and throws unexpected twists into her novels — which sometimes work and sometimes don’t. “Falling Together” is no exception to this, and the big climactic ending when the three friends are reunited fell a little flat to — Santos seemed to rush it in order to get to the end. Another reason I enjoy Santos’ books is because she has a wonderful way with prose. It is full, beautiful and flowing. Her characters are well fleshed out and almost entirely too real. Both flawed and familiar.
At its center, “Falling Together” is a story about friendship that anyone can relate to. It characters grapple with many questions I myself have asked myself numerous times — are the people in our lives supposed to all remain with us? Or are we meant to move on and let them go? How do we choose who we keep and who we don’t?
I am not sure if the novel answers all these questions — but sometimes when it comes to love and friendship, there are no true answers.
Three and a half stars out of five