Title: The Five Stages of Falling in Love
Author: Rachel Higginson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Mark My Words Book Publicity
Source: Review copy from publisher
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.
Let me start by saying this book made me feel, all kind of feelings… a lot of feelings. Rachel Higginson’s writing is emotive, evocative and realistic, so get tissues ready because you are going to need them.
The story starts with a prologue in which Liz’s husband, Grady, is in the hospital. In their interactions you can see the love they have for each other and the deep connection they share and then you see Grady die.
The first chapter starts six months after Grady’s death. Liz is trying to cope with her new circumstances, losing the love of her life and raising alone four children under the age of 8. The house is a mess, her life is in chaos, the kids are acting up and her grief is tearing her apart. She has the occasional help of her sister, but it’s not enough.
To add to her discomfort a new neighbor moves to the house next door. Ben Tyler is very friendly, but the last thing Liz wants is to pretend to be fine and act nicely towards him. Liz tries to keep her distance from Ben, but he knows she needs help and he likes her and her kids and helps her in anyway he can, like mowing her grass, taking the trash out, shoveling the snow, helping the kids with their homework and such.
Slowly and over time Ben becomes a good friend and somebody Liz knows can count on. The only problem is Liz is still deep in her grieving and having Ben close makes her feel guilty, like she’s cheating on Grady. Ben knows this and understands it. Everyday that passes he gets closer to her and to her kids; he wants to be a part of their world, but he also knows he needs to be patient and not to put pressure on Liz, she needs to experience her grief and move out of it before they can start something.
Liz is going through a lot and her emotional conflicts only get worse with time. She can’t understand how she can feel something for Ben when Grady was the love of her life, her best friend, her everything. How can she move on with another man while her heart still aches for her husband? She needs time to understand that is okay to fall in love again and that moving on doesn’t mean she has to stop loving Grady. Ben knows this and is willing to wait for her until she is ready.
Liz, OMG poor Liz! Page after page my heart ached for her. Rachel Higginson does an outstanding job with her characterization. She made her so real that it was impossible not to feel and experience what she was feeling. She was so real it was impossible not to put myself in her shoes and think what if that was me? And let me tell you, that something I don’t wish on anyone.
Liz goes through the five stages of grief and due to Higginson’s writing we don’t have another option than to go along with her on her healing journey and what a journey that was.
I don’t have enough words to express how amazing Ben was. He is a bit too perfect, but it doesn’t feel false, he is simply that special. He knows a relationship with Liz won’t be easy; she is a widow and a mother of four. He knows they are a complete package and he loves them and accepts them just the way they are. He knows Grady will always have a special place in their hearts and he is not there to compete with Grady’s memory nor is he there to replace him. He just wants to be part of their family and be the man/person they need. *swoon*
Higginson also does a great job with the kids; they all are experiencing grief differently and according to their ages and personalities. It was very difficult to see them grief their father and come to terms that he was not coming back. *grabs Kleenex*
I loved the relationship they have with Liz and how supporting they were with her. I also loved their interactions with Ben and some pearls of wisdom they share with Liz.
The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson is a very emotional and moving story. It’s a story that will make you question, “What if that was me?” It’s a story about loss, healing, second chances and the power of love.
The Five Stages of Falling in Love was my first book by Rachel Higginson, but I can guarantee you it won’t be my last.
I recommend this book to all of you. The Five Stages of Falling in Love is an amazing book that needs to be read.
My Verdict: 5 Paws
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