Published by Selfpublished on January 27, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Kindle Purchase
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.
I was super excited to read The Five Stages of Falling in Love as it’s a favorite of my friend Lenore’s as well as being by one of her favorite authors. Having never read RHigginson before I had no idea what I was getting into and HOLY WOW! What a read!
The five words I’d use to describe The Five Stages of Falling in Love?
Honestly, I loved everything about this book. There’s just so much gooey goodness to love! I’m going to share my highlights.
- Liz & Ben’s first meeting. It allowed Ben to see Liz in all her chaotic, hot-mess glory. Seeing Liz trying to coax her 6 year old out of Ben’s pool, knowing she’s at her wits end, scared and feeling like a failure…then Ben comes to the rescue with Pop-Tarts. Oh my goodness! Good stuff!
- The friendship that blossomed between Liz and Ben over wine nights and Ben doing neighborly things like mowing the lawn or shoveling snow – it was beautiful. That it slowly grew into more as he spent time with her and her 4 kids was even more so. Ben knew Liz was dealing with so much – grief and sadness as well as trying to be all things to these 4 small humans she was left with when her husband died. That he was all in, there for the long-haul… well, I fell a little in love with him myself. I felt for Liz – feeling like she was betraying her husband – she fought her feelings for Ben. But he won her over and her kids and family. This quote kinda says it all:
“Listen, I get that Grady was your first great love. I get that you had this incredible marriage with him and he was your soulmate. I understand that. And I would never want him to be anything else. Never. I have endless respect for him. For loving you the way that he did, for raising these amazing kids. I don’t know if I can ever live up to the legacy that he left behind. I don’t know if I want to. But Liz, he died. And you’re still alive. And there is so much left of your life to live. I want to live it with you. I want to be a part of everything that remains for you, good and bad. I want to be there for your kids, for your stressful days, for your amazing days, for all of your nights and for every moment in between. We tried the time apart, but we are better together. Both of us. Yes, Grady was your great love, but you are mine. And if you would let me, I would be yours too. There isn’t a limit on how much we can love, Liz. You had Grady. Now have me.”
- It was a slow-burn between Ben & Liz and it wouldn’t have felt natural any other way. I could sense Ben’s frustration when he felt Liz pulling away but her actions, while angst-inducing, were also genuine. There was a lot for her to process. Wanting happiness but feeling like it was a betrayal, needing love but knowing she came with so much baggage (especially 4 kids), wanting her kids to have Ben but worrying about what that meant as well as the exposure to possible hurt. Ben made sure to hold her hand through it all so she’d know he was solid.
- The kids and Liz & Ben’s families only added to the richness of the story. And they had to be present or the story wouldn’t have been so powerful. I loved how RHigginson incorporated them all and made it feel so real. And Liz’s kids were a handful. No lie. But they were also AWESOME. Of course, Ben feel for them and Liz.
Thank you, Lenore, for sharing such an incredible story with me. I’m forever grateful and I’m eager to continue with RHIgginson’s backlist.
I read The Five Stages of Falling in Love as part of COYER’s Recommend Me a Book Readathon. It was, obviously, recommended by Lenore. 🙂
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: