Ruby Lambert is the eldest daughter in the eccentric Lambert family of Hingham, Massachusetts.
Angus Aleshire is a charming, smart and athletic boy who the Lamberts try to help, and who shares Ruby’s unconventional bent and love of the piano.
And, in Amanda Holmes‘s novel “I Know Where I Am When I’m Falling” Ruby and Angus fall in love.
But Angus has a dark side. His boyish charms start to wear thin, costing him family and friends. And when his clever schemes and misbehavior get him in trouble, culminating in a spectacular art heist, Angus tries even Ruby’s love for him.
Holmes’s story poses uncomfortable questions about why love is sometimes not enough, and why we sometimes fail to see what’s right before our eyes.
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Does Amanda Holmes believe in hauntings?
In a recent blog post, excerpted here, she recounts the following:
I wrote the novel with thoughts about a man I once loved – and the story is largely about him – although some of it is imagined. For instance, at the end of the novel – I imagined how the character of Angus might have died at sea.
I was living in Rome when I wrote a lot of the novel. And while I was writing the part where I imagined Angus dying, I was also teaching at The American University of Rome. This particular afternoon, I had been deep in my writing, imagining how Angus might have gone missing at sea, and the writing took a lot out of me. I had gone very far into my imagination, to pull up certain elements of the man who inspired Angus.
I needed a break. So I stopped writing, and turned my thoughts to a course I was teaching. Suddenly the opening lines of Dickens’ Hard Times came to mind – “Now, what I want is Facts.” It struck me as amusing, and I thought I might begin my lecture here, so I turned to the bookcase behind me, to see if I had a copy of that novel. It turns out, I didn’t. My Dickens set was incomplete.
Bear with me — because here comes the haunting – either that or a series of coincidences worthy of Dickens himself. My husband Ben and I have traveled all over the world, and our books have followed us from country to country. Some of them we had not opened in years – and this became evident in what was to follow. Because when I saw I didn’t have a copy of Hard Times, I took down another Dickens’ novel, Bleak House. I don’t know why I did it.
I opened the book at random – and to my surprise, I found a card, that had been slid into the book many years before. tucked into a copy of Bleak House
It came from the man who inspired the character of Angus.