The Five Stages of Falling in Love, by Rachel Higginson ★★★★✰

★★★★✰

The Five Stages of Falling in Love is a Contemporary Romance.
Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.

My Casting:

This was such a beautiful, romantic, heart-wrenching standalone.

I wasn’t sure I was going to love this book, because we already know from the blurb that our protagonist, Liz, is consumed with grief, after her husband passed and childhood sweetheart passed away from cancer, leaving her to raise their four children. So, I knew this was going to break my heart. And it really did.

I loved Grady, even though we only actually get a few pages of him in the very beginning. But he is such a huge part of Liz’s life, and of her childrens’ lives, that you really feel like you know him as if he’d been alive throughout the whole book. Rachel Higginson dives straight in with the prologue and doesn’t pull any punches. So have tissues prepared from the off.

“This story is about me learning to live again after love left my life.”

What really makes this book is the family dynamics and the love and support that Liz and her children offer one another. Liz’s youngest child is only two and her oldest is eight and Rachel Higginson has done such a beautiful job of giving each of them a role in the family, illustrating how each of them deals with the loss of their father differently and differentiating between their ages and genders. Some of the most heartbreaking moments in this story come from when Liz talks to her kids about their Dad. Trying to get a four year old to understand that her Daddy won’t be coming back, and why, and that he hasn’t stopped loving them. Oh my goodness, I bawled like a baby.

The tragedy of these vibrant children growing up without their Daddy, never really knowing such a wonderful, kind, family loving man. And something that, as you read this book, you realise happens all too often. To me, this was just a sad story that I could pick up and put down, in between my real life. But I couldn’t help feeling torn apart for all of the single mums and widows that this book might be resonating with. It just makes you incredibly thankful for everything you have.

“Liz, he died. And you’re still alive. And there is so much of your life left to live.”

So, now we’ve discussed the parts that will make you ugly-cry… Let’s talk about Ben. if anybody is going to heal your heart, it will be Ben Tyler. *sigh* The patient, kind, sensitive, strong, handsome next door neighbour, Ben Tyler.

I absolutely adored the slow build of Liz and Ben’s relationship. Nothing felt rushed or unrealistic. You could feel the conflict that Liz went through, trying to move on from her husband, but not wanting to let him go. And you can’t help but fall head over heels for Ben as he handles Liz with such care and love. He’s so selfless and giving and just everything Liz needs, right when she needs it. I have no doubt that he was a gift from fate. He will stitch your heart together again and melt you into a puddle of goo!

Ben had been my saviour. Ben had been breath back in my lungs. Beats back in my heart. Blood back in my veins.

Honestly, I was concerned that this story was going to come across as tasteless or a little insulting to women in this situation. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to move on when the man you thought was going to be the big love of your life, is taken from you far too early. But Rachel does a fantastic job of conveying the warring emotions, the push and pull, the guilt, the desperation, the need for companionship and a helping hand. It’s all there. The narrative is patient and honest. And it’s all believable.

“Emma, I have had four children! Four of them! Do you understand the state of my vagina? What kind of man goes out on a date with a woman that has four children?”

If you’re looking for something super hot, then you’re looking in the wrong place. This book has it’s moments, although they are diluted and classy, and I feel this fits with the theme and emotion of the book. However, Liz and Ben’s story is full of palpable chemistry and sensuality. It’s full of love and affection and withheld desires.

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This entry was posted in Emotional Reads, Four & a Half Stars, Friends to Lovers, Stand Alones. Bookmark the permalink.

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