Can’t Help Falling – Kara Isaac – Howard Books – Published 11 October 2016
A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.
Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.
Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.
When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.
A truly magical story. From the cover and the title to the summary and the fact that I absolutely adored Close To You, I just knew that I was going to love Can’t Help Falling. And I was right, because this book is fantastic.
Emelia longs for a second chance. She has moved to England, left her old life behind and intends to make restitution for her past. But she doesn’t expect it to be so hard and when hiding in an antique wardrobe she happens to meet Peter Carlisle. As they continue to meet, they cannot deny their attraction, but the secrets of Emelia’s past may prevent a future between them.
This book might start with a teacup, an antique shop and a wardrobe, but there is so much more to this story. Can’t Help Falling has a magical quality, much like pushing through the coats at the back of the wardrobe and finding yourself in a magical wood. There are a number of Narnia quotes and references in this book, as to be expected, but even someone who has only seen the movies or has a faint idea of Narnia will understand and love this book. And, of course, the avid Narnia-obsessed reader will adore the way this story is steeped in all things Narnia. Then there is the romance. Beautiful, complicated, meant-to-be, irresistible, sparks-flying romance. It weaves through all the other details to bring together this story of family, second chances, friendship and the rough and tragic sides of life.
Both Emelia and Peter have complicated backstories. I loved getting to know them both, loved learning more about their pasts, families and dreams. They make for wonderful characters. And the reader is also treated to a return of Allie and Jackson, from Close To You. They are prominent characters and it is fantastic to see the continuation of their romance and story.
I loved how faith is at the heart of this story. But what I loved even more is that this book is set in a realistic world. I loved watching how Emelia, who is not a Christian, reacts to Allie, Jackson and Peter’s faith. I loved how Allie, Jackson and Peter talk about their faith and consider it in their relationships. I loved how faith is discussed and valued. I loved that the other characters who are not Christians view those with faith. I thought it was a very clever and refreshing way to position the story.
This is simply a fabulous book. I cannot wait to see what Kara Isaac writes next. It is sure to be brilliant. She has become one of my favourite authors, and Can’t Help Falling is a book I can very highly recommend. It will appeal to a wide range of readers and I believe that not one of them could be disappointed reading this beautiful book.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family, secrets, Narnia, C.S. Lewis, faith, romance, relationships, England, rowing, Olympics, drug addiction, charities, grief, guilt, love.
Published: 11 October 2016 by Howard Books.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 384 pages.