Title: Falling Down
Author: Eli Easton Narrator: Michael Stellman
Publisher: Pinkerton Road LLC
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hours and 33 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Josh finds himself homeless at 18, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.
Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.
Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.
The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?
Trigger warning: Suicidal thoughts
I read this story when it was first published a few years ago and was eager to listen to the audio version.
I always enjoy Eli Easton’s writing and this story was no exception. From the start, my heart went out to Josh and his sorry plight. For one so young to see no point in living brought tears to my eyes and did so throughout the story. This wish to end it all had me wondering ‘will he or won’t he’ even after he met the lovely and caring Mark. I kept saying to myself, Eli wouldn’t write such a tragic ending. Even so, I worried what effect even an attempt would have on Mark, whose own life had been tragic in many ways.
The setting was wonderfully painted in words, both the beautiful fall leaves in New Hampshire and the snow-filled landscape towards the end of the story. I could picture the scenes and the emotions they stirred within Josh.
Josh and Mark’s blossoming friendship progresses at a delightful pace—perfect for them and their situation—and when they finally express their desire for each other, the days afterwards are filled with affectionate and steamy love-making.
And all through the happy times they share, I was anticipating the snow with a sense of dread and what it might mean for Josh.
“No matter what else happened from here on out, no matter if he stayed with Mark or had to leave. No matter if Josh lived till he was ninety or found his peace in the snow, he would love Mark ’til the end. He was suddenly so grateful to have experienced that.”
The final chapters of the story had me on the edge of my seat for what seemed like a long time. I was willing for things to turn out well for them. And thank goodness they have their happy ending.
This is such a beautifully written story—definitely one of my favourites. I loved the characters and everything about the story.
Michael Stellman captures the story and emotions well in his narration. His voice suits the characters and the pace of the story. My only grumble is with a few minor technical issues—there are overly long pauses after most scenes, making me wonder many times whether I had reached the end of the chapter. Plus there are the occasional words and phrases that are repeated.