Monday, June 16, 2014

REVIEW: Fall From India Place by Samantha Young

I really loved Fall From India Place by Samantha Young. I haven't read all of the books yet by Samantha Young that circle around a similar cast of characters but I'm sure that it won't be very long before I pick up those last few books and satisfy my curiosity about them.  Samantha Young writes really interesting, romantic and emotional stories and I find myself really falling into the story and becoming quickly wrapped up in these characters and their lives and friendships and romantic relationships. 

And in Fall From India Place, we're told Hannah's story.  Hannah who is all grown up and dealing with love and loss and relationships in a way that we've seen her from On Dublin Street and the rest.  Hannah and Marco's story really tugged at my heart strings.  I remembered from On Dublin Street that Hannah had had a crush on a boy and things hadn't exactly worked out but I always thought of Hannah as sort of a young teen. 

Now, she's 22 and working as both a high school teacher and a volunteer teacher for adults who are struggling with reading and writing.  Despite being happy in her career, her (extended) family and with her friendships, her love life is not something that Hannah has ever really focused on before.  In fact, she's still stuck in a place from five years previously in which Hannah's heart was broken by her first love, Marco D'Alessandro.  What I loved so much about this book is that Samantha Young gave us everything with Hannah and Marco's relationship. From the first awkwardness as teenagers, the build up towards them both having feelings for each other, the heart-breaking way that things ended between them five years previously and also the angsty ups and downs of them building on a relationship in the present as they try to maneuver around the anger, resentment and heart-break that remains. 

I really loved discovering how much Hannah and Marco have changed from teenagers into adults and how their very meaningful relationship played such a large part in their lives.  When Hannah and Marco meet again after these five years apart, they are both holding back important pieces of information about their lives and experiences and secrets from both sides really threaten to derail their burgeoning relationship. 

What I love about this series of books so much is the heavy support from friends and family.  I love Sunday brunch and how close everyone is and how more people are added to this group as extended family almost without question.  I especially enjoyed the friendship between Hannah and Cole and being shown the basis of that strong friendship. Another highlight from Fall From India Place is the description of Hannah's jobs both as a mentor to a promising teen boy with an attitude and also a grumpy adult women who is taking literacy classes to help her find a better job. I found this aspect of the story really interesting!

I really, really loved this book. I did.  If I had any criticisms of this book it would be two things. The first is that while this book can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel away from the other On Dublin Street companion novels, I did find it a little bit confusing as each and every one of the previous couples from those books relationships are also explained in this book (ie Joss and Braden met this way, Jo and Cam met this way etc).  I felt that was unnecessary and that it could either have been dropped entirely or that the author needed to find a better, more seamless way of adding that information (if needed) into the narrative rather than the way it was done in Fall From India Place. The other criticism is that the UK paperback book contains a 70-80 page short story, Castle Hill, at the end of this book and I was slightly disappointed when I realised that all those extra pages weren't more of Hannah and Marco's story. 

Still, I loved how emotional and romantic this story is.  My heart ached for Hannah and Marco and I was rooting for them throughout!

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