Format: eBook, ARC from NetGalley
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Blurb: Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart.
As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised… with lasting repercussions for both families.
And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.
Review: I very rarely read and review the books I’ve been asked to organise book tours for – only if they sound exceptionally good. The blurb for ‘When He Fell’ stood out instantly to me so I knew that this was going to be one of those exceptions. Two children, two families, two very different childhoods. Ben and Josh are both nine and are best friends but their lives are worlds apart. Hyperactive Ben’s mum Maddie is single whereas shy, quiet Josh lives with his parents Lewis and Joanna who look like the perfect couple but who’s relationship survives on silence. When a terrible but suspicious accident at school occurs, it puts strain on both mothers to find out exactly what happened to their sons but they soon realise that this “accident” may go back a lot further than that day on the playground.
I simply do not know where to start. I’ve been finding it very difficult to read over the past few months, with things getting in the way of me being able to just sit back and enjoy my favourite ever pastime. But as soon as I started reading When He Fell, I knew I was onto something gold. The opening begins straight in the action: You’re only in a couple of pages before the first ‘thing’ happens so there’s no messing about with any build-up, which I love. The information you need to build the big picture within this book is drip-fed to you, very gently and very gradually – particularly in the first half – adding and adding to the suspense and the tension.
The thing that stood out massively for me in this book was how dramatically my opinions of the characters changed over time. Being written in a very clean two person narrative: Maddie and Joanna, you get a full view of each of them, their lives and their boys. You get absorbed into each of their worlds completely so build up a very elaborate picture of each. But somehow, Kate manages to make sure you see each of these pictures through misty glasses because as the book went on, the characters I felt for, I no longer did and the characters I thought were innocent no longer were and so on. It was a huge characteristic of the book that I’m not even sure was intentional – but it worked!
No particular character stood out to me: Maddie and Joanna definitely both had their flaws, although very different from each others but I loved the initial contrast between the two but also the sneaky little things that make you realise that maybe, these two women aren’t that different after all. I was deeply intrigued by Ben and Josh however and the genuine contrast between these two best friends. A friendship that really, shouldn’t have happened, with one being loud, boisterous and hyperactive and the other being quiet, shy and with a history of not talking to anyone for long periods of time. There was a good number and mix of characters – not too few but not too many that you get confused with who is who.
‘When He Fell’ was, quite simply, amazing. Kate Hewitt has a compelling and effortless writing style and approach to storytelling and I’ll definitely be keeping her on my radar. ‘When He Fell’ teaches you that imagination can be a dangerous thing – if you let it. It is a book first and foremost, about consequences. About a chain reaction that you could never fathom and whether you can genuinely place blame. It will make you question karma – does it exist or are some things just freak accidents? And how the phrase, ‘be careful what you wish for’ can have more of a significance than you ever thought possible. Rating: 5 Stars
About Kate Hewitt
Kate Hewitt is the author of over 40 novels of women’s fiction and romance. She loves telling an emotional story in a variety of genres, and has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award twice. An American ex-pat, she lives in the Cotswolds of England with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can follow her adventures in village life on her blog, A Cumbrian Life. You can also find Kate on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Fancy getting your hands on a paperback copy of Kate’s other book, ‘This Fragile Life’? Enter the giveaway below to be in with a chance!