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WHEN IT FALLS APART – Catherine Bybee
A Perfect 10
The D’Angelos , Book 1
ISBN: 978-1542034869
June 21, 2022

Contemporary Fiction

San Diego, California – Present Day

Brooke Turner had a good life in Seattle with her boyfriend even though they were not headed toward marriage. One night she receives a phone call from a hospital in Upland, California that her father is there. Brooke has not been especially close to her father, Joe, but he needs her, and she heads to California. Unfortunately, her boyfriend calls her decision a dealbreaker and they decide to end their relationship. Arriving at the hospital, it becomes clear that Joe will be unable to return to the condo she’d bought for him, and it also means that she is likely going to have to remain near him. As the days continue, Brooke’s best friend arrives and a trip to San Diego leaves a good impression. Instead of living in Upland, she will settle down in San Diego and place her father in an assisted living home nearby.

Eating at a restaurant in San Diego’s Italian district, Brooke meets the D’Angelo family. They are friendly and she is soon telling them that she is looking to rent an inexpensive apartment in San Diego. To her surprise, the matriarch of the family offers to rent the top apartment in their building to her. The only drawback is that their family lives in the other apartments. The rent is reasonable, and she soon moves in, much to the chagrin of Luca, the oldest son. He feels like Brooke is invading their space. Yet, there is a spark of attraction between the two. Add in the affection Brooke feels for Luca’s little girl, Francesca, it’s no wonder she is soon a part of their family. Luca begins to see Brooke in a different light, and they start to fall in love. But her life is still complicated. Is there a chance of a future for them?

Soon after I started reading WHEN IT FALLS APART, I fell in love with Brooke and Luca and that is why I am giving it a Perfect 10. Their lives aren’t perfect right now, but they are trying to keep it all together. Luca is the chef at the restaurant and trying to raise his daughter without the mother, Antonia, who suddenly left when their child was two. Of course, this means that he’s protective of Franny, but Brooke is patient and kind toward the little girl. How can he not be attracted to her for that reason alone? Brooke didn’t meet her father until she was a teenager after he abandoned her and her mother. Brooke’s relationship with her father is complicated. They’re not close, yet she is there for him because there are no other relatives who can step in. Joe still thinks he can go home but it’s clear that he will be unable to. As Brooke navigates getting him settled into the assisted living home and her new life in San Diego, it isn’t easy.

I found WHEN IT FALLS APART hard to put down as I rooted for Brooke and Luca to find happiness together. Of course, along the way, there are obstacles to impede the road to a happily-ever-after. The characters—Brooke, Luca, Franny, Mari (Luca’s mother), and the rest of the people in WHEN IT FALLS APART give this tale a real-life feel. This is a feel-good tale that will leave you warm and fuzzy, even if the subject matter is not always pleasant. Don’t miss this joy and happiness by picking up a copy of WHEN IT FALLS APART.

Patti Fischer

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