The Fastest Way to Fall
The Fastest Way to Fall is Denise Williams’ funny and charming second romance novel. While characters from her début How to Fail at Flirting make an appearance here, you don’t have to read that volume to enjoy this one.
Britta Colby has spent four years as an editorial assistant at Best Life, a millennial focused lifestyle website, but her goal is to be a staff writer. The third Friday of the month is pitch day and Britta offers to write about her experience with a hot new body-positive fitness app that includes personal coaching. Her boss initially demurs, not wanting yet another take on fat-shaming women into working out and dieting, but Britta believes the piece could be inspirational to plus-size women like herself who are looking for exercise tips and nutrition information that aren’t tied to weight loss. Her idea eventually makes the cut and Britta joins FitMi, excited to be assigned a coach and begin training.
Wes Lawson founded the FitMi Fitness app with his best friend Cord and girlfriend Kelsey. They worked hard to pull together investors, build a solid reputation, and develop a unique product. Then Kelsey received an offer to be CEO of a rival app, and she quit FitMi and dumped Wes all in one quick, painful conversation. It has taken Wes a while to recover from the betrayal. It has taken him longer to adapt to filling her former position at their firm, a job he definitely doesn’t enjoy. Add in his complicated family situation and that means neither work nor home is bringing him much pleasure. At Cord’s urging, Wes decides to take on a couple of clients and reconnect with what he enjoys about fitness – helping people be their best, healthiest selves. Britta winds up being one of his new clients and Wes finds himself loving her quirky sense of humor and sunny approach to life.
But this is an app and all their communication is occurring through the chat function. Wes deliberately set up procedures that established a professional distance between customers and trainers, protocols he now finds himself bending. It’s not long before he and Britta have moved from chats to texts, exchanging personal information about where they live and how they spend their time. Then he gets a text that says simply “help” and breaks all the rules to rush to Britta’s side.
Britta had dreamt of meeting Wes – but not after a tumble down the stairs. She had been texting him as she fell and was fortunate she had the good sense to type “help” before passing out. Wes races to her side, calls an ambulance, accompanies her to the hospital and stays by her side throughout the checkin process. She’s amazed at how sweet and supportive he is even after she’s home, bringing her dinner and then working out with her so she can literally get back on her feet. Having a one-on-one, in person trainer is definitely helping her recovery, but Britta knows this is dangerous for both of them. The mild flirtation they had going on over the phone has turned into burning hot chemistry, but it would be deeply unprofessional for Wes to date his client. It would be equally unethical for Britta, who is supposed to be reviewing his company, to date him. With so much at stake for both of them, the smart thing to do would be to move the relationship back to its proper sphere – but sometimes the heart overrules the head.
Britta and Wes are both wonderful, loveable people, so it is very easy to see why they fall so hard for each other. Wes is a kind, caring, giving person whose primary focus is on helping others. Britta is funny, sunny and smart. Together they are dynamite and their rapport is sweet and delightful to read about. For around the first thirty percent of the story, they only connect through chatting/texting but it works, because they put their true selves into their communications and they have such witty exchanges. Once they do meet, the transition from text to talk goes smoothly, their friendship deepens, and physical attraction is added to the mix.
The primary conflict comes from their work situations potentially being compromised by a romantic relationship, and also by the secrets they keep surrounding those issues. Britta takes a long time to tell Wes she is reviewing FitMi for her magazine and Wes is equally slow to tell her he isn’t just a trainer at FitMi but an owner as well. Additional conflict comes from the fact that Britta has some work relationships that are problematic and Wes has an evil ex. Wes also has a sister who left home as a teen and is rarely in contact, and a mother with addiction issues. The latter is handled extremely well, showing us how recovery can be a journey with lots of ups and downs. The book is light-hearted and joyous in spite of everything because of the positive energy generated by Wes and Britta’s love story.
Body positivity is another theme liberally sprinkled throughout the tale. As a plus-size heroine Britta occasionally struggles with accepting herself as beautiful and lovable, a battle reinforced by some of the relationships in her life. Moving beyond other’s opinions of her and focusing on who she wants to be is an important aspect of the story.
A few quibbles kept the book from DIK status. A lot of page time is spent on exercising and dieting, to the point that I almost felt like I should only read on the treadmill. The conflict here is similar to the author’s first novel and the resolution is similar as well – I would have liked her to show us what could have happened if the characters had taken a different route to the HEA. There are also moments when the pacing lags a bit.
Those are minor issues in an otherwise very good book. I recommend The Fastest Way to Fall to anyone looking for a sweet, heartfelt contemporary romance between two very likable protagonists.
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I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.