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Saturday 20 February 2021

Falling Short by Lex Coulton


This was one of those books in which I wanted more pages to turn at the end. Not in a 'I love this so much, I don't want it to end' way, but in a 'wait, that's it? What about….' way.

Not that I didn't enjoy it…I did. It's witty, engaging, funny, poignant, sad…but the most crucial question of the whole plot just wasn't answered.

Both main characters' stories dart from past to present throughout, trying to explain why Frances is 39 and still, reluctantly, single. Jackson is nearer 60 and newly single. Both are teachers in the same school, both with baggage. They have a fairly special relationship: a bit love/hate/will they/won't they.

The staff-room interactions are great fun…the dialogue is humorous, catchy and snappy. Actually, all the dialogue is good. It's a well-written novel, well observed, with some robust and relatable characters. It takes a moment to settle into the flashbacks…with the book being written in the present tense (which is my number one aversion!), the only thing singling out the flashback is the use of the past tense, and it takes a moment to decipher whose flashback it is and when it took place. Perhaps the chapter titles could have given an indication.

Nevertheless, and despite the answers to questions, one in particular, being wanting, this is a book you find yourself wanting to pick up at any opportunity.

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