(Originally posted on Blogger)

Jaye Ford is an internationally published Australian author of suspense novels. Her first novel, Beyond Fear, was the highest selling debut crime novel in Australia last year. It also sold in Europe and will be translated into six languages this year. Her second novel, Scared Yet, is released today (March 1, 2012).

For the Australian Women Writers Challenge, Jaye has chosen to review Nicola Moriarty’s Free Falling. It was a novel that touched her deeply, for reasons she explains.

Jaye writes:

In Nicola Moriarty’s Free Falling, Belinda is on a downward spiral as she struggles to cope with the sudden death of her fiancé, Andy. Her almost mother-in-law Evelyn is on her own difficult journey but actually free-falling – from planes. For a story about grief and closure and finding yourself after the pain of loss, it is unexpectedly hopeful and funny.

I write thrillers and for several years, haven’t dipped into much beyond the crime genre. But that’s not the reason why, after only a couple of pages, I wasn’t sure I could write an objective review of this book.

I lost my father last year and, strangely, I have a friend called Belinda who lost her husband
of less-than-a-year while she was pregnant with their first child, as Moriarty’s Belinda discovers of herself. For me, this story was difficult to read, both for the reminder of my own and my friend’s loss and for the light touch on such painful subject. Also, because it brought me to tears several times while I was on a long-haul international flight.

As I read Belinda’s point-of-view, I kept wanting to get her some help and find her better friends. While Evelyn was written as hard and unforgiving, I empathised with her need to deal with the loss of her son in her own way.

That’s not to say Moriarty hasn’t done a terrific job, demonstrating she has her own fair share of her family’s genes – her sisters Liane and Jaclyn are bestselling authors. In Free Falling, Belinda and Evelyn are believable and sympathetic in their sorrow. In telling their stories, they both skirt around the intense pain of Andy’s loss – Belinda trying to avoid the truth of her future and Evelyn attempting to ignore her past. And don’t we all do that?

There is also humour – nutty moments that work amidst the sadness. Just like real life. The ending is sweet and hopeful – and although at the start, I thought it wasn’t a book for someone who was grieving, I’m not sure something sweet and hopeful would be so bad.

Jaye is a former journalist and public relations consultant, who now writes full-time. Her website:www.jayefordauthor.com

Print copy available from AWW supporters:

Pages and Pages Booksellers, Mosman NSW

Better Read Than Dead, Newtown, NSW

Abbey’s Bookshop, Sydney

Umina Book Bazaar

The Book Shuttle

Ebook available from AWW supporters

AvidReader, West End, Brisbane, QLD

Readings, Vic

Fullers, Leichardt, NSW

Australian Online Bookshop

If you are an Aussie Bookshop who has been actively supporting the AWW challenge and you’re not represented here, please let AWW know by leaving a comment.