cover image Heaven Should Fall

Heaven Should Fall

Rebecca Coleman. Harlequin Mira, $15.95 trade paper (354p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1389-2

In her second novel (after The Kingdom of Childhood), Coleman again explores how ordinary lives can quickly devolve into tragedy. Despite how well things seem to be going for optimistic college students Jill and Cade, Cade is reluctant to introduce Jill to his family. But when Jill gets pregnant, to save money they decamp to Cade's family home in New Hampshire, where Jill encounters family feuds, insular politics, and a militia mentality. She forms a fragile friendship with Cade's brother, Eli, a hard-drinking vet suffering from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. Jill, whose mother was an alcoholic, tries to help Eli, but her efforts seem in vain. Meanwhile, an increasingly resentful Cade retreats into his own paranoid revenge fantasy. Coleman's portrayal of a deeply damaged soldier is genuinely sympathetic and complex. But, despite chapters told from both Cade's and Jill's viewpoints, motivations (Cade's abrupt and jarring shift toward anti-government rhetoric; Jill's passive acceptance of her fate) remain murky, but chapters that adopt Cade's mother and sister's perspectives add layers to this hazy tale of family loyalty gone horribly awry. Agent: Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management. (Oct.)