Book Review: Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan


Genre: Contemporary Fiction

This was a slow burner of a story. As I began to read it, I reckoned I knew where it was heading. I reckoned I knew the territory the writer was leading me into. This was going to be a tale of English, middle-class, bored and desperate housewives getting up to all sorts.

I was wrong. I should have known better, having read other books by this author. Gilli Allan doesn’t do stereotypes. She’s also always original in her approach to character development. And she’s a clever writer.

Yes, the story begins slowly, but there’s enough detail and intrigue to hook the reader. Yes the characters seem at first to be familiar types, but there are layers of complexity to them and lots to be discovered as the story progresses. The characters are not even particularly likeable at the start, but as you get to know them, you warm to them and soon begin to care what happens to them.

Nell, the main character, is in her early thirties, but boy, has she packed a lot into her three decades including being mother to teenage twins. Fly or Fall sees her life going through upheaval and change and she has the choice of letting it all overwhelm her or of at last making a stand and refusing to be the victim.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the story, the originality of the characters, and the unpredictability of the plot – and the ending was unexpected but satisfying.

Despite everything that happens, this is a life-affirming story. It reminds you that life is what you make it and its obstacles are there to be overcome.

Type of read: Tea and cake to hand, on the sofa, raining outside, cosy inside – and just indulge and enjoy.

Back Cover Blurb: Wife and mother, Nell, fears change, but it is forced upon her by her manipulative husband, Trevor. Finding herself in a new world of flirtation and casual infidelity, her principles are undermined and she’s tempted. Should she emulate the behaviour of her new friends or stick with the safe and familiar? But everything Nell has accepted at face value has a dark side. Everyone – even her nearest and dearest – has been lying. She’s even deceived herself. The presentiment of disaster, first felt as a tremor at the start of the story, rumbles into a full blown earthquake. When the dust settles, nothing is as it previously seemed. And when an unlikely love blossoms from the wreckage of her life, she fears it is doomed. The future, for the woman who feared change, is irrevocably altered. But has she been broken, or has she transformed herself?

Fly or Fall is published by Accent Press and is available as a paperback and as an ebook.

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