Drift Stumble Fall by M. Johnathan Lee Book Review

This book was sent to me by the lovely people at Hideaway Fall in exchange for an honest review. Drift Stumble Fall is the newest book from M. Jonathan Lee.

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As I really enjoyed Lee’s previous book, Broken Branches I was looking forward to reading Drift, Stumble, Fall. I can’t say the blurb gripped me, but it sounded so simple, just two men observing each other’s lives, I was eager to see how Lee would make it interesting. I was waiting for the twist in the story like with Broken Branches.

Richard Brown has had enough of his life of commitment, resentment, routine and responsibility. Staring out of his window, he enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, the neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From his lounge, Bill keenly watches as Richard’s young family grows.

Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater then either could have imagined. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people’s lives are never what they seem.

There wasn’t much to the story as it took place almost exclusively within one house. Despite this, the book has good pacing. It’s set within the space of a week and it does well at building the suspense through the week. At times I felt a sense of cabin fever reading it as the characters were trapped because of the snow.

It kind of put me off having children, but I think it was just Richard’s perspective on fatherhood. Throughout the book Richard makes plans to leave. He even plans how to fool the hotel staff so they don’t know he’s in the hotel. I was propelled to read with thoughts of ‘Does he leave? Will he decide to stay?’ I was eager to see his decision.

I liked the ending. Obviously I won’t spoil it, but it was quite satisfying. It might not have been the ended that I wanted, but it was the one the story needed.

I also like the production quality of their books and I commend their designers and typesetters. The books don’t feel cheap, like some independent publishers I’ve found. It feels as good as books from the big publishers. I’m a really rough reader and I like a book to withstand a lot so I was glad this book stood the test.

I look forward to the next book from Hideaway Fall and to see what lives I get to live next.

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