Friday, May 11, 2012
Review: If I Fall by Kate Noble (5 stars, historical)
Full Description: Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thoughts After Reading:
I always enjoy it when an author successfully gives a minor character his or her own story. In Kate Noble's Follow My Lead, there is a very lengthy and depressing separation towards the end of the book in which the hero - a duke - tries to forget the heroine and marry a nice, respectable girl. He goes as far as getting engaged before accidentally crossing paths with the heroine, and his entire resolve crumbles. Kate Noble's latest book, If I Fall, is about that nice, respectable girl and the fallout that results from her broken engagement. The storyline of If I Fall is essentially about two childhood friends finding the love that they almost missed out on. And I say "essentially," because the storyline and characters are infused with so much originality that the novel becomes so much more - especially if one also considers the fast-paced action of the plot and the lightly comedic elements. Unlike the severely mixed feelings that resulted from Follow My Lead, I found If I Fall to be a nearly flawless historical romance.
The heroine is a twenty-one year old woman whose life fell into pieces before her eyes. She had been courted and a proposed to by a duke. She wasn't in love with him, but he was a kind man and it seemed that they could have a good life together. And then, when she suddenly found out he was desperately in love with another, she had to let him go. Months later, she doesn't know how to face the ton. No matter what she does, the crowds pity and speculate about her. So she becomes a ton darling. She learns to live a facade, to flirt and to control so that no one remembers her as the "The Girl Who Lost a Duke." But in doing so, she loses her defining characteristics, the girl who enjoyed life and valued her family. That's when the hero comes in. In a position reversal, the hero is not a rich and titled lord. He is a gentleman, but also someone whose family barely had enough money to help him achieve his dreams of being in the navy. As a child, he became playmates with the heroine and her sisters as he attended the navy academy. Shortly after the book opens, the hero comes back to London after years at sea. The positions in the navy are dwindling, since the country is at peace, and he has his own crisis of figuring out what to do with his life. He is invited to visit the heroine's family, and that's where the real fun begins. The hero and heroine have to come to terms with who each other has grown up to become, all the while teaching each other they haven't changed as much as they thought. There are plenty of engaging conversations and interactions between the characters, and the hero ends up getting roped into a spy subplot that provides plenty of action to keep the storyline moving. It's quite fun to have the hero and heroine subconsciously in love with each other, and the relationship appears genuine as they hazard difficulties to redevelop a closeness as adults. There was a final romance conflict that bothered me a bit, but - like many romances - it ends up getting tied into external conflict (you know, the "you almost died! - now I must totally reevaluate my priorities" type of thing). I was mostly satisfied with the resolutions, though, and well as the resulting HEA.
There's really not many complaints I can make about Noble's If I Fall. It was extremely engaging, had humor, had a meaningful and ultimately happy romance between childhood friends, and it was a book that had originality in spades. It is, in short, a novel that I wholeheartedly enjoyed and can recommend. But what do you think? Let me know if you've read If I Fall - or any of Kate Noble's other books - in the comments below.