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Eme McAnam
Freefalling: a Novel of Senior Romance
Eme McAnam, author
As the owner and operator of a successful five-star hotel, Charlotte had always put her work first. But when she entered the autumn of her life, she realized that her dedication to her career had left a void in her heart - she had never found true love. Despite the complications that come with finding romance at her age, Charlotte sets out on a journey to fill that emptiness. Through extreme challenges and unforeseen obstacles, including dementia, Charlotte discovers that the golden years of her life can still hold happiness and fulfillment. Senior romance might come with its own set of hurdles, but ultimately it allows Charlotte to experience true contentment for the first time.
Debut novelist McAnam offers a unique romance, flashing between a woman’s battle with dementia, her father’s battle with the same illness, and her successful career running a five-star hotel and her discovering romance while in her sixties. Charlotte O’Malley relishes her satisfying career at the Tiffany Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, and though she occasionally wishes she had found her soul-mate, she enjoys her friendship with best friend and assistant Christopher. As her father’s dementia worsens, Charlotte faces the reality of her father not recognizing her. When she meets Lutheran pastor Brandon Peterson while staying at a resort on Lake Superior, Charlotte is surprised by her almost instant attraction to him, feeling as though she has found the perfect man. There’s a catch, though—he’s married, leaving Charlotte feeling guilt and pain.

McAnam’s senior romance capably highlights the allure and physical attraction between Charlotte and Brandon and the ensuing complications, focusing on her timeless beauty and the empowerment she feels as a result of her life experiences. During the on-again, off-again relationship, Charlotte meets Stefan, a trail guide at the lake resort, as they enjoy hikes together and cement their relationship. As Charlotte encounters further tragedies, Brandon returns, and through it all McAnam touchingly depicts her sensuality and femininity, a refreshing departure from the typical portrayal of over-sixty women as merely senior citizens.

McAnam also highlights Charlotte’s struggle with the sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her father. This material is thoughtful and humane as Charlotte reconciles her concern for her father with the reality that, due to the disease, he is no longer the same person who abused her, even as she still bears the physical and emotional scars. McAnam’s richly drawn novel, complete with enigmatic characters who face real-life struggles, is sure to resonate with romance fans of all ages.

Takeaway: Flashbacks reveal a woman with dementia’s rewarding career and romances in her sixties.

Great for fans of: Pamela Kelley’s The Nantucket Inn, Julia Clemens’s Sunset on Whisling Island.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A