Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Upside of Falling Down, by Rebekah Crane

Clementine wakes up in an Irish hospital bed to discover that she's the lone survivor of a plane crash.  But without any memories, she knows only what she has been told.  She doesn't know what she was doing on the plane or why she was traveling.  Her father is coming to collect her and take her home to Cleveland, but she doesn't even know him.  Panicked by her amnesia and her sense that nothing makes sense anymore, she flees the hospital.

Kieran, a young hospital volunteer, finds her in mid-flight.  Not eager to reveal her real identity, she tells him her name is Jane and invents a story about why she is on the run.  On a dare, he agrees to help her get away and takes her to a secluded small town on the east coast of Ireland.  As the weeks go by, her lies grow more complex and her relationship with Kieran grows stronger.  She begins to think that having forgotten her past life is a blessing.  Now she only wants to live for the future, a future with Kieran and far far away from whatever she was running from that is in Cleveland.

A wistful but strong romance.  I have mixed feelings about the ending, but I will grant that it fit the story (even if it was not the ending I wanted).  In between is a novel about two lost people who find each other.  It's not a particularly sexy story (Jane/Clementine and Kieran make an enchanting couple, but not a particularly hot one) but it doesn't need to be for such well fleshed out characters.  And they are surrounded by vibrant supporting roles like Kieran's snarky sister Siobhan or the shop owner Clive who are equally enjoyable to spend time with.  This may not contain much literary value, but still managed to be a superior romance and wonderful entertainment.

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