White, Karen. Dreams of Falling. New York: Berkley, 2018.
Hardcover | $26.00 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0451488411 | 404 pages | Women’s Fiction
Despite having fallen in love with the Willig, White, and Williams collaboration, The Forgotten Room, and devouring much of the other two Ws’ backlists, I have long found myself reluctant to try Karen White, as she, of the three is the one who writes in more modern times, and also the South, and I have only recently overcome my mistaken prejudices against Southern fiction. But once I made peace with these factors and picked up her most recent release, I quickly fell in love, finding myself in a very similar book to ones I had adored from the other authors, rife with multigenerational family drama, mystery, and romance.
It is rare that I pay close attention to the author’s prose style, other than to note when certain POV and tense styles annoy me, but with White, her style is worthy of praise. While (of course) she does utilize multiple POV and tense styles, switching between present and past tense, or first and third, this adds to each character’s voice, and I actually found myself enjoying the first person present tense chapters the most, as they are told from the perspective of a character in a coma. This creates a sense of immediacy and I truly felt the purpose of this particular form. However, the passages in the other tenses are no different, with many passages being incredibly memorable and quotable, especially the closing lines that sum up the novel’s title in connection to the themes of the story.
I also loved the examination of the different relationships between the characters, with the different parallels between the choices made by the women across three generations, and how each previous generation’s choices had an impact on the next. But I love how, even though there is a lot of drama between Larkin and Ivy, Ivy and CeeCee, or CeeCee and Margaret, there is a sense of closure and peace brought to each of these relationships by the end, making way for future happiness.