RT Reviews Top Pick, 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.
I enjoyed reading Can’t Help Falling and loved the English setting in Oxford. The story chronologically follows on from Close To You and I recommend reading the books in order. Jackson and Allie from Close to You are minor characters in Can’t Help Falling.
Emelia Mason is an American who creates a brand new life for herself in Oxford, England. She changes her appearance and does her best to forget about her previous life as tabloid journalist Mia Caldwell. She’s desperate to obtain a job at a charity based in Oxford to make amends for a tragedy that took place as a consequence of her tabloid story.
Peter Carlisle is the second son of a viscount. He’s struggling to recover from a shoulder injury that killed his Olympic dreams on the Great Britain rowing team. His older brother is a brilliant rower who is living Peter’s rowing dream. His brother treats Peter like a doormat and the reasons behind their dysfunctional sibling relationship unfold during the story.
Emelia and Peter first meet when he discovers her hiding in a wardrobe in an antique store. They share a mutual attraction despite the weirdness of the situation and her seemingly unhinged obsession with Narnia. Peter also finds the elusive teacup in the wardrobe that completes the tea set he has collected over the years for his mother. The next meeting between Emelia and Peter is also unique and their paths cross when Peter becomes her boss at his late cousin’s charity. They share a common goal of fundraising an enormous sum of money to prevent the charity from folding.
Emilia is determined to hide her past connection to Peter’s family and her big secret threatens to destroy their growing relationship. The faith element, in particular Emelia’s faith journey, is an intriguing aspect of the story that deepens the characterisation. The Narnia connection is fascinating and adds to the humour in the story. I highly recommend Can’t Help Falling to readers who like fun contemporary romances, and especially for readers who are familiar with the writings of C.S. Lewis.
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