Love Gently Falling by Melody Clarkson
Rita is out on the West Coast realizing her dream of becoming a great hairstylist, a vision which was set in her early years working in her mother’s salon. Suspense sets in as her mother falls ill and is on the road for a long recovery. Rather than drop in and help her mother back to health, Rita also begins the long process of updating her mother’s salon. Along the way, Rita meets up with her old nemesis Zinnia, runs into Johnny, Zinnia’s close friend, and this begins the tense relationship between the three, including a promising relationship between Johnny and Rita.
The narrative weaves through the story of Rita’s family, coming together under the weight of Donna’s illness and bringing Rita into a new phase in life. With the budding relationship between Rita and Johnny, the story unfolds in a unexpected but exciting way. This kind of story is not one I’m accustomed to reading but one with a good ending. I did think one thematic element of the book was hinted at; namely, the desire to branch out and make a name for oneself (fulfilling one’s call) while knowing that family issues need to be acted upon with compassion. The connective tissue that this story provides is fulfilled by Rita putting her skill and passion to work in revamping Donna’s salon, but also being a part of the family’s care for Donna.
Secondly, the story kept us aware of how past hurts often don’t fade away with age but rise to the surface as we see those people. Thankfully, the past doesn’t come to bite Rita in such a way as to force her to not move forward. Zinnia’s and Rita’s relationship was built on past hurts but there was healing in finally dealing with the wrongs that had happened.
Overall, I think the book kept my attention and was a good but predictable story about a young lady being torn between her passion and her family. Ultimately, the story turns out to benefit both her and her family.
Thanks to Center Street and Katie Connors for the copy of this book in exchange for review.