The Five Stages of Falling in Love, Rachel Higginson

The Five Stages of Falling in Love, Rachel Higginson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, women’s fiction
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
This book is one of those that gets you by the trhoat as soon as you start. I just couldn’t out it down – had to keep on reading right to the end…
We begin when Grady is in hospital, getting flashbacks of his and Liz’s life so far. They’ve been living the dream, lovely house, successful business, four adorable kids and a perfect love between them. Then Grady gets brain cancer, and its a nightmare. I had cancer at 36, and though luckily I survived it took its toll on the family, life changed from a family with two working parents and three teens, to one where everything revolved around Cancer and trying to survive it. So much of what Liz is going through sounded familiar, and Grady – wow – what a man. I was in tears for him and the loss his death would cause. It doesn’t seem fair does it when this kind of thing happens, when families are going about their business merrily, happy, helping others and loving their lives and then – bam!! What was a major worry, say about a big bill or something – becomes irrelevant when Death is being faced. Nothing else matters and priorities change massively. Its like a bolt from the blue for most of us, there we are trundling happily along and then…well, this book has it perfectly. How can Liz carry on? She’s been part of a team, their life and family are geared up to two parents, and now there’s just her. I so felt for her, struggling with four young children. Thank goodness for her sister, she was such a support, so so needed. At first friends and school make allowances, but as Liz found out that doesn’t last and they can’t seem to understand her and the children’s issues, why they aren’t on time, why the kids play up. Its so tough for her, and easy to just fall into the black hole. Then Ben moves in, and right from day one he’s such a help. Its clear how he feels about Liz and the kids, and he just goes about helping in his gentle unassuming way. He really is a man in a million.
It would be easy to think that having got to mid thirties without being engaged or married there was something wrong, maybe he’s one of those life bachelors or something. Rachel deals with those thoughts perfectly though, giving us a very easy to understand reason why he’s never been in a serious relationship, and why that is now possible. I could get behind that easily, and it made me love him even more. He slowly works his way into Liz’s family, and becomes a support she can’t do without. That first date, first kiss, first time they make love are such huge milestones for her, and I could see her dilemma, she felt she was letting Grady down, even though he’d been emphatic that she find someone and share her light. He was so generous, he’s basked in her love and wanted someone else to share in it – he seemed to know too that Liz needed someone for herself when he was gone. To be dying and still that considerate – when my diagnosis was given my first thought was that husband would look after kids of course, but I was emphatic about my horse too – only had him two years, after waiting all my life for one. The thought of him needing another wife never entered my head. If it did I think I’d have been much more selfish than Grady, and said “no way”!!
Its a one step forward two steps back romance, so carefully constructed, Ben was so patient and understanding and the kids loved him. He didn’t seek to take Grady’s place but to just be another person they love. That worked well for me, I just loved the way they kids took to him, that he and they seemed to have an understanding early on. It’s a beautiful read, sensual and seductive, and packed with emotion. I was on the edge of tears so many times, and then high with happiness when things went right. It feels so very very real, all the doubts Liz had, the way she was dealing with issues, and the way she seemed to sway from one view to another, questioning all the while what she should do, was it right, acceptable for her to be happy. Perfect read, perfect characters and one to savour and re read.
Stars: five, a great read.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers.

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About jeanniezelos

I'm an avid reader, love my kindle and I have my head in a novel for hours daily : ) Mum used to say I'd read toilet paper if it was printed- it wasn't, so i had to contend myself with the back and sides of the cereal packets. I've always Needed to read and we had few books when i was a child hence my penchant for reading anything including adverts then... I review mainly contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance books though dystopian and urban fantasy also appeal. I'm currently rated around the 300 mark on amazon.co.uk for my reviews. I try to keep them structured and to say what I do and don't like about a book so other readers can use my review as a guide to whether they may enjoy the book.

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