Falling by D.W. Marchwell
When Scott Alan gets a phone call that his brother was hurt on a logging job, he rushes to Brian’s side, only to find that his injuries are minor—but not before he meets Hank Ballam, an adrenaline-seeking logger who’s an outcast among his co-workers.
Hank is a study in contrast: he lives for the rush of climbing and cutting trees almost as much as he loves the peace he finds exploring the mountains he calls home. Scott’s attraction to Hank is immediate and mind-blowing, and it’s what Scott has always wanted: to know what it’s like to love someone he can’t live without.
Scott needs to know if Hank’s true feelings will be a roar of passion or simply a quiet friendship, one that doesn’t match Scott’s devotion. But it may be too late… Scott simply can’t help himself from falling hard for Hank.
[This cover actually had me thinking it was a cowboy book. I guess it’s just as fitting for a logger romance but didn’t see it coming.]
Falling is a sweet romance with a lot of tender emotion and a great deal of detail regarding logging and the Canadian landscape. The characters are decent and the writing is ok, giving a book which readers may enjoy quite a bit. I had difficulty with this offering since the story lacks a lot of tension and instead sort of meanders along from start to finish. The lack of driving force to the story left me disconnected from the men and their instant love, ultimately leaving me pretty bored and struggling to finish. However, other readers may definitely feel differently and really enjoy the warm and touching romance depicted. I’d still recommend this book since beyond a few issues, there isn’t anything I can really point to as why I didn’t exactly enjoy this, simply that it didn’t quite connect for me.
Scott Alan is a successful song writer and composer, living with his band and roommates in Toronto. He’s summoned home when his only brother is involved in an accident and happens to meet Hank. Hank works for Scott’s brother in a logging company and loves the outdoor work. Hank and Scott feel an immediate friendship, which quickly blossoms into romance. The two men know they love each other and want a future, but an accident while on a job puts Hank’s health in jeopardy.
The plot is pretty basic with two men that meet, fall in love quickly, have a lot of sex, and enjoy each other’s company. The pace is slow, warm, and calm. There is very little, if any, tension or conflict injected into the story. There is an accident late in the book that throws Hank’s life into temporary jeopardy but this is almost at the end and doesn’t really prompt any new declarations or changes. It just helps to show that logging is a very dangerous profession and the strength of both men to live with such danger as a worker and loved one. Thus the story lacks a strong driving force and instead allows the men to indulge in their emotional and physical love with some fun antics and pet names. This isn’t bad and the writing offers numerous repetitive descriptions to fully convey the sweet love between these two. This type of story will definitely appeal to readers who are looking for a warm and very loving, easy relationship without a lot of dramatic action and chase scenes.
The men themselves are decently characterized although not entirely. Hank is initially described as being perpetually hung over and banging any woman he comes across. This is disconcerting since Hank is only ever shown to be a shy, hard working, deeply loving man that is a good friend and dedicated employee. So the initial description, which is never shown in the book, and subsequent comments about this behavior is at odds with the actual way Hank is always shown. Supposedly the accident with Scott’s brother snapped Hank into changing completely but since everyone agrees the accident wasn’t Hank’s fault, I’m not really sure what the motivation is to change and if there actually is any change. Hank seems to stay the same throughout the book as a steady, loving, loyal, shy man. Scott is a nice counterpoint as a more fun loving and spontaneous man that also plays cooks, cleans, and takes care of his man. Scott also changes very little and accepts his life and love with Hank extremely easily.
Part of the problem I had with connecting and investing in the story is that Hank and Scott fall in love almost immediately but there doesn’t seem to be any particular impetus for this. They just enjoy the sex a lot, like to call each other pet names, and fit together well. They enjoy the same teasing and fun antics, have similar interests, but instead of what seems to be a friends turned lovers with a gradual love, they are instantly, deeply in love. The relationship would have been more successful if the process was more spread out as their personalities seemed to dictate but a lot of readers won’t be bothered by this. Their numerous sex scenes and tender statements of love may appeal to romance fans that are looking for a warm, sweet love affair with a very strong happy ending.
The most interesting aspect of the book for me is the strong Canadian setting and vivid detail surrounding the logging industry. Hank’s job is pretty interesting and the story offers a wealth of detail showing everything from the small subtly to the potential and actual danger of such a job. Not to mention logging is a rare addition to the m/m romance genre so this departure from the norm is very welcome. Combined with the strong job is a Canadian atmosphere that flavors the book from all sides. From casual comments and dialogue additions to almost constant geography mentions, you never forget exactly where and when this story is happening. The setting is offered with care that shows the author intimately knows this area and the character’s love of the place comes across very well.
Overall this particular story just didn’t connect enough with me and the meandering, slow pace of the plot in contrast to the fast relationship didn’t work. Not every book needs to be filled with tension and conflict and a sweet, romantic tale of two men falling in love can turn into a classic, beloved book, sadly this particular offering never reaches that level unfortunately. However, other readers may still enjoy this story. The writing is decent, if slightly repetitive on physical and emotional descriptions, and the romance element is very strong. This is an author I’d try again and I think fans of his will likely enjoy this offering. If you’re new to the author, try it and see if this story is for you.
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