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A Falling Friend By Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape Review By JA Warnock Published @LakewaterPress #Win A Copy
After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire – and to studying. That’s when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn’t realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.
Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn’t take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it’s all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri’s not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.
A clever, raw and hilarious character-driven masterpiece that follows the lives of two friends with the same ambitions, but who have vastly different ways of a achieving them.
People tell stories. We always have and always will. It is as natural as breathing. In ‘A Fallen Friend’ Featherstone and Pape tackle an interesting question about the way we tell the stories of our lives. Don’t worry, they haven’t produced a how-to guide for writing your autobiography although I’m sure someone, somewhere will have done if you need a little shove in that direction. Rather they have taken a look at the way we sanitise and interpret events; the way we weave together a narrative, for ourselves and others that are generally grounded in truth but is palatable to our view of the world. They pick up the notion of there being several sides to every story and intricately weave together the personal narratives of the two main characters Teri and Lee to demonstrate how disparate those perspectives can be.
Chapters are written in the first person but switch between the two narrators. At first, I was a little disappointed by the characters; I felt they conformed to obnoxious, rich girl and Catholic, good girl stereotypes but as the novel progressed, I realised my stereotypical preconceptions were being challenged. Of course, the narrative gives us the action but we also learn what each character is thinking and what they hold back as well as what they say. Essentially we learn what drives each character which sometimes fitted with my expectations and sometimes surprised me. Misunderstanding and interpretation add depth to what is essentially a simple story about life and because the reader is party to both perspectives, they too can get in on the act…That isn’t what happened but I understand why you don’t want to admit it…. That isn’t her favourite wine but I see your heart is in the right place… She’s right but you’re not going to listen, are you? I found myself in conversation with the characters and, even when I didn’t agree with their thoughts and actions, felt I understood them which is a testament to the skill of the writers.
I identified with aspects of both personalities (all the good bits, obviously!) and I’m glad to know I am not the only person who says out loud things that I mean to say in my head. The story is a little slow but I think this is a symptom of the style which covers most events from multiple perspectives. On the whole, it is a good read so worth persevering. I am genuinely interested to find out what happens next for Teri, Lee and their shared cast of characters.
About The Authors
Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists who between them have extensive experience of working in national and regional papers and magazines and public relations.
More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism to undergraduate and postgraduate students. The pair, who have been friends for 25 years, have already written two successful journalism textbooks together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction.
Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, loves reading, writing and exploring the cycle paths near her Yorkshire home. She blogs about books. Susan is married and spends her spare time walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales and on the east coast, and playing the ukulele.