Dreams of Falling

Written by Karen White
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

A multi-generational novel of friendship, second chances, betrayal, and long-held secrets, Dreams of Falling is a poignant piece of Southern fiction, one that will stay with you long after the final chapter.

As Ivy hovers between life and death, her daughter, Larkin, reluctantly returns home to her small town in South Carolina, a decade after fleeing for New York following an embarrassing incident in high school. Larkin cut most of her ties to her hometown, including her parents and her childhood best friends. When she returns, she stays with CeeCee, the woman who was like a grandmother to her and a mother to Ivy. As she visits her mother’s bedside, Larkin is determined to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

The story weaves back and forth in time, beginning with CeeCee and her two best friends, Margaret and Bitty, who were young and filled with dreams in the 1950s. In a twist of fate that left one of them dead, the surviving women banded together to help raise Ivy, but at what cost?

The shifting perspective, including Ivy, who “speaks” from her coma, is an effective narration tool. Each character in the book feels authentic, with dialogue that is equally convincing. Although perhaps Larkin is too old a character to be the center of a coming-of-age novel, she certainly blossoms as a person as she begins her journey of self-discovery. The plot moves along at just the right pace, taunting the reader with pieces of the puzzle, and wrapping up into a satisfying conclusion.