cover image Fallen


Kara Stanley. Greystone (PGW, U.S. dist.; HarperCollins Canada, Canadian dist.), $17.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-77164-103-6

Stanley's debut book is a love story about the way the author's life changes after a traumatic injury leaves her musician husband, Simon, paralyzed from the waist down. It traces Simon's journey from his fall at a construction site to Vancouver General Hospital, where he reawakens from a coma, and along his long road to rehabilitation. The story moves between the past, as Stanley recounts the course of her life with Simon and their son before the accident, and a present filled with excruciating anxiety about Simon's health and future. It's a difficult story to follow, both because it is so painful for Simon and his family, and because they endure a laborious trek through the labyrinthine passages of the medical system, but the man whose portrait Stanley paints is endearing, and her love for him is resilient and unquestionable. Along with descriptions of personal healing experiences, including the important role of music in Simon's recovery, Stanley also includes some recent neuromedical research. This doesn't always feel like a natural fit and slows the book down, but otherwise this is a compelling story of strength and love. Agent: Carolyn Swayze, Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency (Canada). (May)