In Karen White's novel Dreams of Falling, three young women in the 1950s put their promise of eternal friendship to the test. Ceecee, Margaret and Bitty grew up together in Georgetown, S.C., but after two handsome men enter their lives, the rivalries and jealousies that have underlined their bond rise to the surface.
Meanwhile, in present-day South Carolina, Margaret's granddaughter Larkin returns home to look after her mother, Ivy, who's been hospitalized after falling through the floor of her dilapidated childhood home. Ever since Margaret's death years ago, CeeCee has looked after Larkin and Ivy, and does so again as Larkin is forced to face her hometown romantic history. Behind CeeCee's back, however, Larkin begins to suspect that her mother's presence in the house that day wasn't coincidental, but instead had to do with the mystery of what happened to Ceecee, Margaret and Bitty's friendship so long ago.
Atmospheric and rich, White's writing is an indulgent pleasure to read. She is certainly no stranger to crafting fast-paced, emotionally charged women's fiction. Having penned more than 30 novels (like The Night the Lights Went Out), she has mastered the compulsively readable rhythm that makes for compelling storytelling. She's also an expert at interweaving time periods, perspectives and genres. Offering a blend of women's fiction, romance, mystery and a touch of historical fiction, Dreams of Falling dips in and out of time, subplots and characters' consciousness with grace and fluidity. It showcases White's skill at building a cast of emotionally rich characters, as she juggles the fears and desires of five strong-willed women, all at the brink of revelation and disaster. Her keen emotional insights and warm authorial voice invite the reader into her stories the way one might welcome home a long-lost daughter. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor