Judith D Collins
Where We Fall
Publisher: Lake Union
Publication Date: 4/19/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars Top Books of 2016 By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal. Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.
Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.
For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together.…
A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Deeply psychological, beautifully written, with stunning metaphors of water, and mesmerizing lyrical prose, Rochelle B. Weinstein delves into her characters’ complex souls with, WHERE WE FALL a troubled family on the verge of collapse.Guilt. Secrets. Pain. Lies. Betrayal. Darkness. Depression. Two parallels, a gripping, inspiring, emotional, and thought-provoking tale of mental illness. The real effects of millions of people, its afflictions- far reaching, often misunderstood, and the stigma attached, as a society. Tragedy and beauty. Darkness and Light. Hate and Love. Emotions. Facing fears, pain, admitting misdeeds, accountability, taking responsibility for your actions “head on” in order to begin healing. Redemption, forgiveness, true happiness. The author’s writing style is absolutely mesmerizing! I bookmarked so many pages, getting lost in her lovely writing, her poetic prose. Fans of T. Greenwood, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Amy Hatvany, and Jodi Picoult will love this author and WHERE WE FALL. With finesse, Weinstein skillfully tackles highly-charged complex topics with sensitivity. So excited about the discovery of this new found author; cannot wait to read more. I love Greenwood’s lyrical writing and her skillful use of vivid imagery --Rochelle is right up there with her. Falling in love, out of love, falling apart . . . A soft place to land. If you are looking for a light-hearted, cheery and carefree book, look elsewhere. So much more, here! A clever mix of chick-noir, domestic and psychological suspense, contemporary, mystery, romance, and family drama. In a brief introduction, the spring of 1997, at Davidson College in North Carolina, we meet three friends Abby, Ryan, and Lauren. Flash forward to the Fall of 2014. Abby and Ryan, in their late thirties, married, with teen daughter Juliana, residing in Charlotte, North Carolina. Told from multiple perspectives, allowing readers to gain keen insights into how the characters view one another.Flashing back and forth over the years. Abby is taunted by demons of darkness and depression. She feels sorry for herself. Her wants and desires have resulted in an unhappy life. She is not honest about the past. She is manipulative. She has been plagued for years by the unwanted fears--the invasive, sneaky, and powerful thoughts. Neuroses. Sad and hopeless thoughts. She sleeps for days straight, withering into something more skeletal than human. Ryan has begged her to return to therapy, and stay on her medications. Her therapist urges her to commit herself. She has reached rock bottom, when Ryan finds her on the bathroom floor with pills. Abby is hiding dark secrets, which continue to haunt her. She is an absentee, selfish, and distant parent. Ryan is good-looking, patient, a loving father, a community leader, and husband. He is a fixer. A football coach, he loves his wife, his daughter, his team. However, his wife’s condition is disturbing, and has taken a toll on all their lives. Like a coach, he tried to draw Abby out. There was so much wrong inside her. He will not leave her. He has all sorts of strategy for the football field and his team; however, his own family is a different story. Abby needs him. His friends encourage him to leave. His wife is a woman of shifting temperament. Low self-esteem. Lifeless. Her mind is tangled and tortured. She needs help. He has a life, but he cannot think of himself. He buries his needs. He lives in fear everyday she will take her life, buried in her darkness. He had become a single parent, a doting father, in his wife’s absences. He made promises and commitments to his wife. However, has he ever got over the love of his life, Lauren? The girl he was to marry. What happened? He cannot forget about her leaving and never to be heard from again. He is unaware of what his wife did years ago. When he discovers the truth, will he ever forgive her? Little does he know she changed the course of all their lives. Abby is convalescing in the hospital, his star player is on the run, and his daughter is alone and frightened, yet he coaches his boys to a victorious win every week. He is proud of them. Many coaches tell their players to learn from loss—it builds character and resiliency. What about his own personal life? Juliana, an only child. She is independent and self-sufficient. A fixer, the one who believes she can repair the damage and make wrong into right. She is disturbed by her mother’s condition. Her mom was different than other moms. She is embarrassed by her mom’s behavior. Why can’t she be normal? Juliana has her own issues. She is dating the high school football star, E.J. However, E.J. comes from a poor, abusive, dysfunctional, and violent family. He is always caught in the middle trying to keep his mom and brother out of harm’s way from his father. In doing so, he gets into trouble with the law and on the run—everyone in his path is in danger. Now Juliana has to help him, putting her own father, the coach in the middle—a dangerous situation. She is filled with burdens of those she has chosen to love. Worrying about EJ protects her from the troubles of her own home. Her father provides the love of two parents. Abby finally agrees to have herself committed, to Cold Creek a clinic in Asheville, western North Carolina--instrumental by Babs, (brutally honest) unlike most psychologists. Babs tells her she is dying and destroying everything around her. Memories of happier times have riddled her with guilt and hopelessness. The world already thinks she is crazy, why not make it official. How did she get here . . to this place? How bad does she have to get to make a change. Here, she will be open to scrutiny and self-improvement, even though free of home and pressures to conform. She will have to face what she did. She is angry for so many reasons. Always chipping away. Placing the blame on someone else. Her husband loved someone else first. Will she always be second best. How did she play God? Lauren had left years ago, to explore the world. A lover of nature. A free-spirit. (my kind of gal). She planned on returning. She and Ryan had plans for marriage. A lifetime. She loves gushing creeks and waterfalls which trickle from secret places. The water that falls from the streams washes away troubles and clears the mind. She loves the mountains—inspiring. The last time she sought the mountains, all those years ago she came for one thing—refuge, to rid herself of pain. This time she had not wanted to come back. She is now an intelligent, world famous published author. (writing under another name). She has traveled the world. Her book was her life’s work. Her passion for writing, photography, and waterfalls had led her on a quest to compile the most beautiful cascades in the world. From poetry and musings. The grand finale would bring her home to the North Carolina mountains. Where she would shoot Linville, Toxaway, Looking Glass, and Elk River. (have hiked all these). What waited for her, terrified her. She had to return—she had put it off long enough. Her publisher is the only one who knows the truth about her identity. She is ready to reveal herself to her readers. Everything she has kept at bay circling around Abby, Ryan and herself. Chipping away at her defenses, reminding her that no matter how hard she tried to move forward, there is always a past pulling us back. Long ago she gave herself to Ryan. A college love, connected. He was woven into her soul. She left. Ryan’s father died. He married someone else. A betrayal. The author takes readers on a mysterious journey, at a controlled pace, peeling back the layers when Ryan and Lauren were dating in college. Lauren always included Abby. At first their friendship was new, and she was unaware of Abby’s secret suffering. When the lightbulb would go out. However, Abby fell in love with Ryan secretly. Everyone always knew Ryan and Lauren would get married. However, they didn’t. Why? Throughout the book you do not know what happened to change these three. Until the ending…So be patient. It is worth the wait. Now, Lauren is returning to her favorite small town of Banner Elk (Beech Mountain), NC. Her family home was there. Her haven. She has to make her first appearance as an author. Her readers will meet the real Lauren (not the fake). Back where her journey started. Little does she know Ryan, Abby, and his daughter are in the mountains staying at a friend’s seasonal cabin, while Abby is going through treatment. When their paths cross, soon the long awaited secrets will be revealed. (A BIG ONE)! Readers will despise Abby during the majority of the book—I wanted to smack her. She attempts to drag everyone down. You wonder why Ryan tolerates her behavior. You will sympathize with Lauren. Lauren hides behind her work and her mask – her pain, the betrayal. The author has a purpose, precise timing, taking you to the explosive conclusion. The more you read, the better-- which will keep you glued to the pages. Richly textured, an insightful look at hope and redemption. The author handles the painful subject of mental illness, with honesty and compassion. The haunting look at a fractured family will please readers of literary and domestic suspense. Harrowing, heartfelt and ultimately so realistically human --with flawed real characters—with a touch of romance--readers will be pleased with the beautiful ending. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * On a personal note So many connections here I am typically not a women’s fiction, fluff, or a chick-lit fan. I prefer more substance; crime thrillers, mystery, psychological, literary, and domestic suspense. WHERE I FALL has ALL the ingredients I devour, combined with all the things below. What originally attracted me to the book--the South Florida author, Rochelle B. Weinstein and her background. Being a South Floridian, for years, I support local authors. Secondly, love the cover, and Fall is my absolutely favorite season in NC. Thirdly, was very attracted to the North Carolina settings. I grew up near Davidson College and spent many hours at the college and this little town. A North Charlotte, NC native (Lake Norman), I spent my childhood, teens, college years, and later raising my two sons—in NC. A lover of nature, an avid hiker and cycler--all the familiar mentions in the book. In addition, my oldest son attended Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, NC and my younger son received a football scholarship at Mars Hill University -Western NC mountains. After college, they remained in NC. So many memorable weekends spent in these mountain college towns. Lastly, fortunate to have been introduced to this new found talented author. To find solace in her beautiful words, and the scenic mountain setting. There is nothing like the calmness, and serenity of waterfalls, mountains and streams---a walk in the woods, breathing the fresh mountain air. How much better does it get?
About the Author
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Rochelle B. Weinstein followed her love of the written word across the country. She moved north to attend the University of Maryland, earning a degree in journalism, and began her career in Los Angeles at the LA Weekly. After moving back to Miami, she enjoyed a stint in the entertainment industry, marrying her love of music with all things creative. When her twins arrived, she sat down one afternoon while they were napping and began to write. The resulting novel, the highly acclaimed What We Leave Behind, explores the poignancy of love and the human condition. Her second book, The Mourning After, is a moving story of hope and resiliency. Read More