Wednesday, November 9, 2016

ARC Review: Falling Down by Eli Easton

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expected that he’d be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Dani's rating:

Eli Easton takes us to the woods of New Hampshire where 18-year-old Josh, homeless and adrift, comes to die. Once the snow falls, the fluffy blanket of cold and ice will be more cozy than the stench and fear he lives every day.

Josh and his mom once lived in their car, but he had his mom then, his loving, gentle mother who believed in him and tried so hard to give him a good life. Now Josh is all alone, and he's numb to everything but death.

Mark, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, finds Josh sleeping under a bridge. He gives Josh a sleeping bag, then breakfast, then a job and place to live.

Something about Josh calls to Mark, who feels lost and disconnected from his family. The youngest of five boys, Mark has never felt good enough, tough enough; he certainly doesn't dare tell his family he's gay. He joined the Marines to prove that he could be strong and brave, but war broke him.

Mark and Josh's relationship is built on friendship and trust. They like to hang out on the front porch in rocking chairs, drinking beer and talking all night. Josh is crushing hard on Mark, but Mark is six years older than Josh and doesn't think he can be what Josh needs.

This is not a light story; it's melancholy and dark in places. Josh struggles with thoughts of suicide, and Mark worries about him so much.

When the men give in to their feelings about halfway through, the three steamy scenes are tender and passionate. I enjoyed the slow burn here; it was very appropriate to the story and made the coming together that much hotter.

I really liked Mrs. Fisher, an older woman who hires Mark to paint her elaborate Victorian house. Josh is an artist, and he helps pick out the paint colors, which Mrs. Fisher likes more than the ones she chose. Josh just doesn't have faith in his artistic talent; he's scared of rejection, scared that if he doesn't have his sketches, he won't have anything at all.

Falling Down isn't a mystery, so I saw the inevitable coming. You know the story has to come full circle. Of course, that didn't make the last few chapters any easier to take. My heart broke for Josh, and for Mark too. Mark panics. For one moment, he gets it all wrong. And it costs him dearly.

Josh talks to his mom sometimes. He carries her ashes, but she's right there beside him. She doesn't always say what he wants to hear, but that's because it's not her talking at all. Except at the end; at the end it's her, and she gets it right.

Those words in the snow . . . *sobs*

Fortunately, there is an epilogue, and it's glorious. I loved this story. It will stay with me for a long time.

"That's the way I want you. Like I would crawl over hot coals to get to you. Like nothing would ever stop me from being with you—not if you wanted it too."

Get the book:


If a book is well written, I always find it too short. 
~Jane Austen

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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