REVIEW: The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson

This book has been on my TBR list for many months – since before its release. A few book friends did a buddy read following the release but I just wasn’t in the mood at the time to read it. They all gave it rave reviews so I knew eventually it would make it to the top of my TBR list.  I finally decided to read this book and regretted that I didn’t read it sooner.
“This is my story. I’d already met my soul mate, fallen in love with him and lived our happily ever after. This story is not about me falling in love. This story is about me learning to live again after love left my life.”

Thirty-two year old Liz Carlson has recently lost the love of her life and father to her four children, Grady, to cancer.  It’s been six months since Grady’s death; Liz and their children are not doing well. That’s putting it mildly…Liz and her family are drowning in grief and sorrow. Liz and the kids are missing Grady and each day is a battle to just do the most basic things.
When Liz’s oldest daughter, Abby, decides to take a swim in the neighbor’s pool before school Liz meets her newest neighbor, Ben Tyler. I was a fan of Ben from the moment he lured Abby out of his pool with the promise of Pop Tarts.
Liz and Ben become friends and their relationship evolves over time from a deep friendship to love. Neither is expecting to fall in love, especially Liz who believes that that part of her died with Grady. Ben is patient and compassionate, yet firm when in his feelings for Liz  move beyond friendship.

Five Stages completely gutted me. I felt every iota of Liz and her family’s grief for Grady. The pace of the romance is slow but perfect for the situation. Insta-love wouldn’t have been fitting here and I’m infinitely grateful for the realism in this story. I spent a better part of this book with tears in my eyes and had to put it down to take a break multiple times, even though I loved the writing and the story.

I’m going to make this short and to the point…this was one of THE BEST books I’ve read in a very long time. I’ve never read this author’s work but I’d happily read more by her in the future.