“Dreams of Falling” by Karen White once again proves why readers have fallen in love with her books. Blending together friendships, betrayal, loyalty and forgiveness over three generations makes for a gripping plot. At the heart of the mystery are the secrets each character is hiding.
The story can be considered anti-Cinderella.
“I wanted to have it realistic, where dreams do not always come true,” White said. “I wanted to show it is not the end of the world if they don’t. Another door will open, and that everyone should have a Plan B. I had the Tree of Dreams, a moss-draped oak on the banks of the North Santee River. The three girls, Ceecee, Margaret and Bitty, wrote their dreams on ribbons and placed it into the tree’s trunk, including the most important one: ‘Friends forever, come what may.’ I personally have had really bizarre dreams, which my daughter tries to interpret. My imagination and the desire to learn more about dreams is why I decided to put this in. But the story is not about nocturnal dreams, but the dreams of the three girls, what they hoped for the future.”
This is a story about three generations of women and is told from the perspective of Ceecee, Ivy and Larkin. The main story goes from the present day (2010) to 1951 flashbacks. Set in Georgetown, South Carolina, the story begins as Larkin returns home to help locate her missing mother, Ivy, and realizes there is a dark secret centering around the death of one of Ceecee’s best friends from high school.
Margaret, Ceecee and Bitty have just graduated from high school in 1951 with all their dreams ahead of them. But they are shattered when Margaret finds she is an unwed mother who lost her fiancé who was fighting in the Korean War. Years later, her daughter Ivy has a similar experience when she loses her recently-married husband who fought in Vietnam. Now the third generation, Larkin, must piece together what happened during those turbulent years.
The mystery comes into play as the 50-year-old secrets are slowly unveiled.
“I wrote how each character had a different reason for keeping them,” White said. “It presented the family and friend dynamics. Maybe they were used to save a friendship or to protect those they loved. I do not think people who keep secrets always have bad intentions. The mystery is what happened between the friends. To emphasize this point I put in the quote, ‘It’s easy to be kind and giving and loyal when you have everything. But the mark of a true friend is when everything is taken away and you’re still kind, giving, and loyal.’”
White masterfully crafts a story that has deep emotion, a riveting mystery, and surprising twists. Readers will keep the pages turning to find out what happens to all the characters.