Falling for Gracie
Even though Falling For Gracie contains a rather weak suspense plotline, the interactions and the intense emotions between the characters make for a fun and interesting read.
Gracie Landon grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business. That, combined with the fact that fourteen year-old Gracie was very vocal about her love for eighteen year-old Riley, and her adorable crush became the focus of the town gossip. But Gracie’s mother thought the crush was anything but sweet and sent Gracie away to live with her aunt and uncle. Although Gracie was devastated, Riley was relieved to be rid of the clingy girl who embarrassed him many times over.
Now an adult, Gracie is back in town for her sister’s wedding. Instead of the town focusing on her success as a popular wedding cake designer, however, they still harp on her adolescent crush. Even worse, Gracie finds out that Riley has moved back to their home town.
Riley Whitefield returns to the small town of Los Lobos in order to do one thing: Prove he is reputable so he can inherit his uncle’s millions. What better way to show his respectability than to run for mayor and step in to manage his late uncle’s bank? But Riley is not only back for respectability, he has revenge on his mind. The same dead uncle – the one who forced him to return to his childhood home – abandoned him and his mother, reducing them to a life of poverty. Riley plans on winning the money and destroying his uncle’s hard work by closing his bank. Then Gracie explodes into his life once again, only this time she is all grown up and making him feel things that he never expected. Not only is he surprisingly attracted to her, she also makes him reevaluate his plans.
Someone with plans of their own is out to catch Gracie and Riley in a compromising situation. When the town hears that Gracie and Riley just may be dating, they worry that Riley will break Gracie’s heart all over again. Suddenly, Riley’s popularity in the polls plummets. But Riley isn’t the only one with problems. Someone is out to ruin Gracie’s reputation as a superb baker. With time running out, Gracie and Riley must come together to find out who is setting them up so they can maintain both their livelihoods and their chances at a relationship.
The suspense in this novel is a rather major point, after all, since it is what brings Gracie and Riley together, yet it feels rather feeble and almost unnecessary. From the beginning it is obvious who the culprits are, and those villains are a bit melodramatic and very clichéd. The suspense culminates with a scene in which Gracie’s career is threatened by a set up and the fact that her career might actually be ruined because it was farfetched.
Equally problematic, the unnecessary focus on the suspense ends up taking away from the delightful interaction between Riley and Gracie. The emotions that Gracie deals with are what pull the reader into a story that is deeper than other books I have read. There are also many emotional tangents that readers can relate to, mainly Gracie’s relations with her mother and sisters, her feeling of being an outsider, her stressful career, her embarrassment over her childhood crush, and her current grown up feelings for Riley. Who hasn’t had to deal with one or all of these feelings? However, at times the emotional outbursts of she and her sisters made them seem a bit immature. For instance, Gracie calls someone a poophead, a term I hadn’t heard since my nephews were five. No doubt this is a brilliant slam for a five year-old, but not for a grown woman.
Riley is also a likable character and there is almost something refreshingly believable about his desire to get back at his uncle at the disregard of others, making him seem more all the more human as he almost reluctantly changes his ways.
Ultimately, it is the many realistic emotions and the silly sense of fun – and decidedly not the half-baked suspense plot – that make this one worth the read.