A late-night phone call takes her back to her small town roots in Walton, Georgia, to see her dying father and the family she fled from all those years ago. The only thing more frightening than losing her father, however, is seeing her sister Harriet—the one who betrayed her and stole her fiancé to marry him herself.
Now Harriet and Joe Warner have five children and the desire to make up for lost time.
But from the moment her father dies, and then leaves the family home to her, Cassie is fighting hard against the pull of the past, the home and its memories, and the growing attachment she is feeling once again for her family.
Then there’s Sam Parker, a boy who witnessed many of Cassie’s humiliating childhood moments. He’s good looking, charming, and the local doctor. But he’s also pig-headed, a bit of a chauvinist (in my opinion!), and has no trouble telling Cassie how wrong she is about everything. Fighting the growing attraction between them while also trying to hold onto the self she reinvented is Cassie’s biggest task.
As the story unfolds, more is revealed. Surprising events are afoot as developers try to reinvent Walton, with opponents lining up to say their piece.
Then a secret from the past casts new light on some townsfolk. How will this secret affect the fates of the town and its people? And will Cassie find the answers she seeks? Will she discover what she truly wants when she finally listens to her own heart?
Surprisingly, this book tugged at my own belief systems and values as well. I found some of the characters very annoying—like Sam Parker and Harriet Warner—with their tendency to tell everyone how they should feel and what they should do. They also occasionally framed their remarks in sentiments like “follow your heart,” but they were quite forceful in trying to impose their own beliefs.
Then I realized why these behaviors were so annoying to me. I had grown up in a similar community, and while it was not in the South, it almost could have been. Small rural villages throughout this country have some traits in common. I fled from these roots just as Cassie did, so a part of me wanted her to stick to her reinvented self. But gradually I came to realize that, for Cassie, she hadn’t really wanted to leave the community behind as much as she wanted to distance herself from the emotional pain.
In the end, the very root of her pain became the source of her healing. As a result, I have awarded Falling Home five stars.