BLOG REVIEW: Crashing Back Down by Kristen Mazzola

24y.o. heroine is grieving the recent loss of her beloved husband who she's been since college. 
The reliable presence of her husband's attractive best friend Hero has been a comfort and help to her. 
But for her current sexual awareness of him and her growing knowledge that the attraction is very much reciprocated. 
Her attempts to move on with life without her husband pushes her to begin socializing with her friends again.
And start an affair with Hero.
However, her feelings of guilt for moving on and continued feelings of loss produce moments of confusion and anguish. 
She tries to keep it from Hero but not always successfully, affecting their new romance. When she's finally about to dive more fully into her romance with Hero, she finds out something that makes her abruptly retract.  

It helped to know that this book was part of a series because it was primarily about heroine grieving the loss of her husband and trying to adjust to life without him. It had a more chick-lit feel to it than romance. Her romance with Hero was not the central focus of this book. It was merely one of the ways she was coping with her grief.  Her romance with Hero was mostly out of comfort and familiarity. I never got the sense that she was in love with Hero.  She was attracted to him and was flattered to be the recipient of his unusual commitment and devotion.  But she often felt guilty about her relationship with him when she thought about her husband whom she was still in love with.  Her romance with Hero was very much a moment by moment HFN(happy for now).  Her reaction to her friend joking about her being engaged to Hero was telling. She was appalled at that thought and considered never marrying again. Her sexual chemistry with Hero was off and on.  She mostly thought of him as a good friend and her husband’s best friend.  I felt bad for Hero's unrequited love for her but understood how recent her loss was and the changes she had to make. Their sex scenes were mostly generalized, except for their first time together where it was more detailed. Most of the time they seemed to be hugging and cuddling like they did when they were just friends.  Hero was much more emotionally invested in their romance than she was.  As a chick-lit book, her HFN romance with Hero made more sense.  It makes me wonder if the next book(s) will progress to a more central focus between heroine and Hero's romance. I wonder what the full truth will reveal about Hero and if Hero's perspective would be featured more. 

“Crashing Back Down” was an appropriate title for this book.  When heroine took a step forward towards healing & maturity after the loss of her young husband, either more bad things happened to make her retreat to her depressed/lost state or she’d crash back to her carefree college habits of drinking and partying to forget. Heroine was in an emotionally numb or frozen state in this book. There would be a bit of thawing here and there, in which therapy helped, but overall not any significant forward movement. Heroine numbed herself a lot with alcohol. Every other page seemed to involve her imbibing in some kind of alcoholic drink. She drank when she was happy, sad, needed to relax, with her meals & snacks, and to let off steam. She and her friends frequented similar places they did in college and involved themselves in various college-related past times. Most of the time they reminisced about their college days, especially their drunken escapades.  She was known to have drunken blackouts, be an affectionate drunk, and be an aggressive drunk.  Her adult formation seemed to be linked a great deal to alcohol as well as her husband.  Maybe that’s why she reverted frequently to her college memories and behaviors.  Maybe her current drinking helped connect her with her deceased husband somehow. Her frequent reverting back to the past was part of heroine’s lack of forward movement to grow up and move on. She was hanging on to the past and was reluctant to abandon it. I'm hoping to see her mature, get strong inwardly, and stop self-medicating so much with alcohol in the next book(s). 

I partially recommend this book.
2.5-star

2 comments:

  1. I just discovered your blog and your posts are making me crack up! I love the visuals. Good review of the book - not sure if I'm going to check it out myself.

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  2. Thanks, Joy! The visuals put a bit more pizzazz to boring ol' reviews :)

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