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Falling Short

by Lex Coulton

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Humour (fiction) Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on Falling Short

Regrets. Teacher Frances has a few. She’s 39, single, and beset by dissatisfaction with all aspects of her life - personal, professional and familial. Her dad vanished from her life when he was lost at sea when she was only five and now her mum is vanishing into the fog of Alzheimer’s. On top of this, her relationship with Jackson, fellow teacher, former best friend and one-timer lover, has taken a painful downturn following a night of wine-fuelled passion. As Frances is led to question her father’s disappearance, it becomes clear that she’s the one who’s lost in a sea of doubt. 

After a lifetime of secrets and hiding, she’s steered by the words of a blind man she guides from a station: “Sometimes you just have to feel your way”. Realising that she’s been drifting for far too long, Frances shakily decides that it’s time for her to feel her own way in the world, and so she sets off on a journey to discover the truth. 

The snappy, short-tempered exchanges between Frances and Jackson are humorously and movingly authentic, and the race-against-time climax makes for a gripping reading experience. Often funny and always tender, this accomplished debut explores the cycles of life, messing up and making amends with charm and wit.

Joanne Owen

Falling Short Synopsis

Sometimes getting it wrong is the only way to get it right . . . Frances Pilgrim's father went missing when she was five, and ever since all sorts of things have been going astray: car keys, promotions, a series of underwhelming and unsuitable boyfriends . . . Now here she is, thirty-bloody-nine, teaching Shakespeare to rowdy sixth formers and still losing things. But she has a much more pressing problem. Her mother, whose odd behaviour Frances has long put down to eccentricity, is slowly yielding to Alzheimer's, leaving Frances with some disturbing questions about her father's disappearance, and the family history she's always believed in. Frances could really do with someone to talk to. Ideally Jackson: fellow teacher, dedicated hedonist, erstwhile best friend. Only they haven't spoken since that night last summer when things got complicated . . . As the new school year begins, and her mother's behaviour becomes more and more erratic, Frances realises that she might just have a chance to find something for once. But will it be what she's looking for?

Falling Short Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A refreshingly unique style and compelling storyline makes this an excellent read. Full review

Val Rowe

A really outstanding book, a must-read!! Full review

Catherine Bryce

Not a bad book, worth a read Full review


Enjoyable contemporary fiction but a little predictable Full review

Sharon Wood

A well-observed, character-driven read with a startling secret at its heart. Plenty for fans of contemporary fiction to enjoy. Full review

Clare Wilkins

A very companionable book which intriguing multi layered characters. A book you can easily romp through or ponder and dissect. Full review

Isobel Finbow

I loved it. I recommend this to all, keep tissues close at hand! Full review

Edel Waugh

Lex Coulton leads us through a moving novel where Frances, Dog and Jackson try to find their place in each other's life, whilst they suffer from misunderstandings and mistakes. Full review

Paul Garland

This book was such a satisfying read. It has been beautifully written and the portraits of the characters slowly reveals all their hidden depths. Highly recommended. Full review

Ann Quintilla

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781473669581
Publication date: 14/06/2018
Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781473669581
Publication date: 14th June 2018
Author: Lex Coulton
Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Humour, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Lex Coulton

Lex Coulton studied English and later creative writing at Oxford. She spent fourteen years teaching English in secondary schools before taking a sabbatical year in Paris, to focus on her writing. Lex grew up in Herefordshire, and has recently returned to live there with her husband, John, and their dogs Bazil and Sadie.

More About Lex Coulton

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