I think I have read every romance that Jessica Scott has published. She writes contemporary romance that involves members of the U.S. military, and her familiarity with this world really shows. She is an active duty army officer and her knowledge and experience in this world ensure her world building reads as authentic and very real. I know some think that world building applies only to the make-believe worlds in science fiction or fantasy, but Scott’s books are an example of how necessary and satisfying good world building is in contemporary fiction as well. Reading her books, you just know that what you are reading is true to the real world. I usually find it disappointing to read other writers in this genre because the books do not feel as authentic as Jessica Scott’s books do.
Until We Fall is the 5th book in the Falling series. This series tells the stories of soldiers who have returned from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their struggles to connect with regular (non-army) life and people again. Caleb and Nalini are both graduates of West Point, both veterans of the current American war in the Middle East, and both damaged individuals. Nalini appears to be a bit more successful at life than Caleb, but in reality they both are struggling.
This series of books is quite emotional and affecting, and Until We Fall is no exception. Everything that the characters have experienced in the past and are currently experiencing is difficult. Caleb has appeared in previous books, and he was quite an unlikeable character. In this book, we learn why he has been behaving the way he has, and see his struggle to do better. At first it does not seem that someone so damaged is a match for Nalini, a seemingly successful Yoga studio owner, but as the story develops we see that she also has issues that are affecting her just as much as Caleb’s are affecting him. Their paths of recovery become stronger as their relationship develops. You really want them to succeed individually and as a couple.
This is a deeply moving, well-written book. My only issues with it are due to its short length. It really is more of a novella than a novel, and I wish that it had been longer so that the characters and their relationship had more time to develop. I wanted to spend more time with these characters and their journey to finding each other, and in turning their lives around.
This book can be read as a standalone. Other characters from previous books in the series do make brief appearances, but familiarity with their stories is not necessary to enjoy this book, it merely adds a bit of flavor to the enjoyment of it. I highly recommend this book.