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Falling Hard: A Colorado High Country Novel (Volume 3) Paperback – February 19, 2017
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About the Author
USA Today best-selling author Pamela Clare began her writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor-in-chief of two different newspapers. Along the way, she and her team won numerous state and national honors, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, Clare was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. A single mother with two sons, she writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense at the foot of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Visit her website at www.pamelaclare.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ellie Meeks is the widow of a decorated Black Hawk pilot who was killed in combat. He made Ellie promise him that if he should die that she would go on and live her life to the fullest. Dan Meeks would never meet his twins, a boy, Daniel, and a girl, Daisy Mae, as he died a few months before they were born. Flash forward 3 years, and Ellie is focused on raising her kids, trying to live her life, but she hasn't made any time for love or a relationship.
Jesse has lived a difficult life carrying guilt from when he was a child into his adulthood. He's kept himself from getting seriously involved with anyone due to the guilt he feels and he doesn't think anyone deserves to have his misery. But he does little chores and tasks for Ellie, knowing that she's a single mother and that she lost her husband in combat. He had been doing them for a couple of years since he moved to Colorado, but he did them without her knowing it was him. Then one day, Jessie runs into a very sick Ellie at the grocery store with her two little ones, trying to get her car started to no avail. From here, the story of these two broken yet strong individuals, begins into a journey each least expected.
The story touches upon how one loses a loved one, thinking they have let go when in reality, they still hold onto what they know and don't want to let go as they don't want to feel as if they're betraying the one that was lost. Even though Ellie promised her husband she'd move on and be happy if he were to ever pass on, she still wears her wedding ring, keeps his belongings in their bedroom closet and many pictures of him in their bedroom. With Jesse, it touches upon the difficulties of PTSD and guilt that one is not good enough to be with anyone in fear that he will either end up hurting them or not being able to save them. What these two find in each other is a completeness that is hard to ignore.
I absolutely loved the element of the high one gets from climbing, skiing, and skijouring. One does not know the adrenaline and freedom another feels unless they are also engaged in these extreme sports. I can strongly relate to Jesse and his need for this type of freedom. The feeling is one you just can't explain. There are actually programs now for former military men and women who suffer from PTSD that they can engage in that expose them to extreme sports and gets them to release that sadness, that stress and not-so-great feelings that they harbor after what they've experienced in war. Their stories are powerful, and their love for the outdoors and extreme sports and how it has helped them escape their heads hits you right in the heart.
I also loved that we got to visit the Cimarron Ranch again and the wonderful people, Jack, Nate, Megan, and Janet. The ease and humor with these fine people brought so much character to the story. Ellie's family is absolutely wonderful as well. I absolutely love Claire and their father. I pictured many legendary alpinists/climbers depicted in the story and couldn't help but smile.
Ellie and Jesse experience a lot of emotions in this story. You will find that your heart will hurt, will break for these two and their experiences, but also feel a fullness that we all hope to find in our lives. I would highly recommend reading this story as well as all of the books in the Colorado High Country series. Pamela has a true talent of helping you imagine, see and feel the story that is to be told. I eagerly await the next story in the series!
Jesse grabbed hold of me hard, from the start, with his background as a former Army Ranger, his PTSD and survivors grief and his powerful honor and integrity-driven need to serve in the role of a 'guardian' in his life, despite feeling that he has failed in that task more than once. By virtue of his earlier training and continued personal drive, he has earned his place in a high achieving Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team, and he is also a member of the Scarlett Springs Ski Patrol. I LOVED his character and felt a deep emotional connection to him. Pamela Clare drew his character and torment so beautifully, with gut-wrenching authenticity and yet with a delicate touch, so that you never felt the emotion went overboard. I am so deeply impressed, once again, with her character development.
Ellie Meeks is the widowed mother of twin babies, Daniel and Daisy Mae, two years old when we join her in the story, and her husband Dan was a Black Hawk pilot who was killed in combat. Like so many fine men and women in service, he communicated clearly to her more than once that he wanted her to move on to find happiness and live fully, even should something happen to him in combat..
Jesse has known of Ellie for some time when they finally, fully meet as he purchased a cabin behind her home and has been her neighbor/guardian angel since moving in; helping shovel snow, bringing up her trash, helping out in small, silent ways. Not until they have actually been introduced, does he discover that he knew her husband Daniel and served with him during several engagements where Daniels' prowess as a pilot is later proven to be a pivotal aspect of the story, further linking the three.
In addition to being a single Mom, Ellie is also a highly trained Nurse, another character in a service role and her training and experience lend her considerable empathy and understanding of Jesse's perspective of himself since leaving the military. There are, in fact, many pivotal supporting characters who share similar empathy and some of our beloved former I Team characters who are woven into this story, who contribute to Jesse's evolving understanding of himself, his past, even his troubled upbringing in an abusive home, that richly swath the landscape of this deeply engaging narrative.
It is so easy to understand Ellie's fear of some of the adrenaline driven risks that Jesse considers taking, and while he doesn't actually take the step on the really scary ones, you have strong sympathy for the pause it gives her. Yet, each time Jesse either through his actions or words, presents Ellie with an reason - sometimes almost driving her to do so - to step away, she comes back strongly and with great character in her belief that she knows the man he can be and will be as he works to resolve his demons. Not that she herself doesn't suffer doubt along the way.
It is when the beautiful twins Ellie has often struggled to raise alone become the focus of a pivotal event, that we see the entire town come together to help Jesse understand that he is a man of worth and value today, as much as he was in the yesterdays of his past. I also appreciated immensely how effectively Ms.Clare demonstrated the value of good counseling and the powerful and non-judgmental support that should accompany any prior service member - whether military, police, firefighter or other service role - who seeks to regain wholeness in their lives by seeking it.
The backdrop is storied in itself, the Rocky Mountains of the Colorado high country and the magnificent purity of view they offer, both to the outer eye seeking beauty in their vistas and the inner eye seeking surcease for the soul. I've been to many a resort in my life - both sunny and snowy - and while not oblivious, I had NO idea of the rigors of day to day sport participant rescue and care the Ski and Rescue patrols provide. In addition to the sheer idiocy so many guests can present by careless, reckless and thoughtless behavior on the slopes.
The story has one of the most personally gut-wrenching Epilogues I have read. It was perfect, it was painful and it was so beautiful in the closure it gave; it was so needed and yet I just don't know how she wrote it. I was born into, married into and have a son who is an active duty aeronautic electronics engineer in the Navy, going on many flights, keeping aircraft in the sky, honoring and serving his country. My beloved father is buried with honors in Barrancas National Cemetary in Pensacola Florida. I understand what the sacrifices mean. And Pamela, I honor you for the beauty you wrote in those closing pages.
Pamela Clare is one of the rare authors ceaselessly devoted to capturing and portraying the myriad key details of her characters lives, those that really matter, those that are endlessly experienced but often overlooked in a narrative and those that make you feel right there with them. It is so easy to become immersed in her stories and I cherish them for that, as well as for the sensitively drawn and complex characterizations. Jesse, Ellie, their friends, Ellie's parents, co-workers and the stage upon which the story played out were completely alive for me throughout. I miss them already and will return, many times, to this new favorite series with a long-time favorite author, as I eagerly await the next one.
Jessie is a war damaged Army Ranger who moves to Colorado to find some measure of peace from his PTSD by becoming a climber, search and rescue team member and ski patrol guy. He has ever been a guy who feels responsible for others and bears the heavy mantle of what he considers failure in life and death circumstances. Scarlet Springs welcomes him and provides his first real home.
Ellie Meeks is a Gold Star widow, having lost her decorated Blackhawk pilot husband just months before the birth of her twins. Alone and grieving, she moves back home to Scarlet Springs with it's small town charm and sense of security to raise her children and use her nursing skills. Her husband has been gone for 3 years but she can only find solace in her kids and her patients.
Despite being literal neighbors for 2 years, they don't cross paths in person until a snowy night and a dead car battery come into play.
As readers we are privileged to see a man with emotional scars and literal nightmares from his traumatic past slowly come together with a woman whose heart was shattered with the loss of her happily ever after. He has never known love so he is scared of it, while Ellie is afraid to take a chance and love again lest she lose again.
Complex, nuanced, gripping story of two well written adults with the wonderful town of Scarlet Springs and it's citizens providing backdrop for the story. I laughed out loud several times, and readily admit to crying twice as much.
As soon as I finished the sob inducing epilogue, I re-read the book again and savored it.
I cannot wait for the next book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
beautiful Colorado and appreciate her accuracy.Read more
Falling Hard is the third title in the Colorado High Country series, but can easily be read as a standalone.Read more