Only took five minutes to fall in love with this book…
To say I was emotionally wrought after reading The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson would be an understatement as I think the Prologue was all it took. So yes, this is a “Box of Kleenex” kind of read. Beyond the sadness lies, in my mind, four beautiful stories of love. Sure you may be scratching your head..four? Yes. Two of the love stories are what you would expect while the other two are more of an undercurrent in the story that brought out my emotions as well and deserve to be mentioned.
Elizabeth Carlson is the remarkable heroine in this story and I absolutely loved her because she is so real. The emotions, her actions, even when she was doing something that may have been rude or annoying, were genuine, and I loved it. As Elizabeth deals with her grief, we are introduced to the first love story…the love of a lifetime. Something so amazingly beautiful and bright this love was like fireworks to Lizbeth. Unfortunately, the splendor of a fireworks show is limited. Eventually all that brightness fades to black and you can never get that exact moment back. Grady was all of this to Elizabeth and more. He was an amazing father, provider and brother but his life was cut short and Elizabeth is trying to survive her grief.
While in survival mode, Liz meets Ben her incredibly gorgeous and unbelievably single new neighbor. Ben becomes a great help to Liz and eventually he becomes a source of happiness to her. Liz attempts to set Ben up with her equally great sister Emma, but this doesn’t work because Ben isn’t interested in that sister. I have a new favorite book boyfriend. Ben is amazing. He is very interested in Liz and more importantly he is equally interested in being there for her four kids. What I found most amazing about Ben was his patience and understanding of what Liz was going through. It is through Ben we get another love story for Liz. This love is very different. It isn’t bright and shiny but it is deep, saving and equally beautiful. Liz is conflicted by this love which doesn’t come without some bumps in the road. Nonetheless it makes for a better journey and Ben is along for the ride helping Liz find her way.
As I mentioned before there are two other love stories simmering in the background that equally tugged on my heartstrings. They are the stories of two mothers and the love for their children. The scenes with Liz and her kids are both heartbreaking and entertaining throughout the book. Their struggles and the craziness of life in general make the story so real. Each of the kids are wonderful but I especially loved Blake. More dimension is added when we also get the story of a mother who has not only raised her children but is now suffering the loss of a child. Katherine, Grady’s mother, did not rub me the right way initially, but her transformation and the changing relationship between Katherine and Liz throughout the book was hearfelt.
Other characters in the book are equally wonderful. Being able to experience Emma, and even Tyler’s relationship with Liz and her kids made this an amazing story. Though I would have loved for Liz and Ben’s story to continue in another book, Higginson did the most amazing job of giving me the more I so often long for at the completion of a book. She brought me to tears yet again with Liz’s final words. On a side note, I wouldn’t mind getting a spin off book for Emma, totally loved her, and this way we could get more of Liz and Ben.
So, if I didn’t make it clear through my review, this is a must read stand alone book. Well written, this book will make you laugh and most definitely will make you cry. It will blow you away and leave you with a happy heart. I am now a Higginson fan and look forward to reading more of her books.
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About the Book:
Author: Rachel Higginson
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Category: Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC received via NetGalley
Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.
Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?
Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.
When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.
As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.