Title: Freefall - A Divine Comedy
Genre: Women's Lit, Historical, Fiction, Comedy
Expected Publication: January 1st 2019
Can be Pre-Ordered HERE
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)
Tillie Bloom, a wacky installation artist, who reconnects with three former friends—women she had hung out with in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s—in a four-day reunion at Whistler, B.C. The new intimacy they experience prompts them to celebrate their approaching sixtieth birthdays together, as well as the millennium, in Venice, Italy, where two thirds of the book take place. During this time, secrets surface, their stories binding them closer together.
As we come to know them better, the women’s identities shift, enlarging, becoming more complex. Each one’s life has taken a different direction. Tillie and Daddy have both moved to the States from Canada, where Tillie has given herself over to art. Daddy—once a radical feminist/hippie and now a lesbian—has turned into a successful real estate saleswoman. Moll, tres sportif, a housewife and mother of three, spends her free time exploring the Canadian outdoors. Sibyl—also married and a shrewd bookkeeper addicted to 4000-piece jigsaw puzzles, cigarettes, and wine—has a cabin in Whistler, a home in Vancouver, and a flat in Venice.
While Sibyl, Moll, and Daddy assume they’re in Venice to vacation and deepen their relationships, Tillie has a hidden agenda: she intends to crash the Biennale, an art extravaganza scheduled every other year, hoping to find a larger audience for her art. But first she must find the ideal place to construct her installation that features casts she made of her three friends’ bodies as well as other zany pieces.
Soon after they arrive in Venice, they visit the church of the Santa Maria Della Salute where Tillie and a lascivious priest, Father Lazarus (a half-Ethiopian dwarf), fall for each other. Later, Tillie thinks Frank, her former photographer lover, who recently died, has returned as a pigeon, much like the one that made a dramatic appearance at his wake. It pursues her through the streets of Venice, complicating her developing relationship with the priest and offering some wonderfully comic moments.
Tillie often gets lost in the maze of streets, but she resurfaces sooner or later, intrigued by the various reflective surfaces and how they participate in the city’s love affair with light. These reflections counter the pull of darker forces, causing the four women to reevaluate themselves and their lives. Tillie, in particular, experiences a new understanding of herself that propels her into a new age, not unlike what she had experienced in the early 1960s.
I was drawn in by the cover and the title. After I read the summary, I had no choice but to give it a read.
The story follows Tillie and her three friends. They have been friends for many, many years. Like everyone, Life can get in the way and they drift apart for a while. They decide to get together for a 4-day reunion. We get to see them in the 50s and 60s and more recently. It was fun to see how they have changed.
I liked Tillie. She was an interesting character. It was fun to her morph and change throughout the stories. It was cute the little romance she gets. He was fun. I liked him a lot. A very unique character indeed.
The rest of the girls were fun to read about too. The name Daddy bugged me though. I kept thinking that someone's dad was there. However, I think Daddy was one of my favorites of the girls. I liked them all, don't get me wrong, but she was intriguing and she made me chuckle.
It did take a bit for me to really get into the story. The beginning dragged a little bit. However, once we really got to the meat and potatoes of learning about the girls was when I got into the story fully. It was worth the wait for sure!
Overall, I liked it. It was a nice people story. The friends were interesting and it was fun learning about their pasts and what they grew to be. Tillie is our main character, but her friends certainly took the spotlight from time-to-time. It was fun! I recommend this to anyone who likes a good people story. I'll stamp this with 4 stars.