Book Highlight: Freefall: A Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Book Review: Freefall: A Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Title: Freefall: A Divine Comedy

Author: Lily Iona MacKenzie

Publisher: Pen-L Publishing

Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

The story of four old friends reuniting to contemplate their 60th birthdays turns into a marvelous, magical mystery tour with plenty of surprises and laughs along the way. An enchanting exploration of aging, art, philosophy, feminism, and motherhood, written with style and a heavy dose of humor. A Divine Comedy, indeed!

During a four-day reunion in Whistler, B.C., Tillie Bloom, a wacky installation artist, reconnects with three women she had hung out with in the late ’50s and early ’60s. While in Whistler, secrets surface and a near death experience occurs during a hike, both of which bind the women at a deeper level.

Their new intimacy prompts them to celebrate the millennium as well as their approaching sixtieth birthdays in Italy. So a few weeks later, Tillie travels to Venice to have an extended reunion with her friends. While the women assume they’re in Venice to vacation and deepen their relationships, Tillie has a hidden agenda: she intends to crash the Venice Biennale, hoping to find a larger audience for her art. Cupid’s arrows complicate her goals when she and an Italian priest fall for each other.

The reflective quality of Venice’s canals also create unexpected changes in the women, causing them to turn inward. They all end up with a fresh take on themselves and their lives. Tillie, in particular, experiences a deeper understanding of herself. But will it take her on a path she’s ready to travel, and will Venice finally give her the recognition she seeks as an artist?

Why This Book

Freefall is the story of Tillie, a nearly 60 year old installation artist who reconnects with her friends and convinces them to head to Italy with her so she can crash a major art event and gain more exposure for her work. While this is primarily Tillie’s story, her friends also play a really fun part. There are four women in total, all of whom were friends in the 50s and 60s and, now all around age 60, they’re reconnecting and reminiscing. It was great to see so much of the friendship over the years, and they were all so much fun together. They very much felt like a group of friends who had been close, but who had drifted away a bit as life took them in different directions.

My favorite part of this novel is that there is this great friendship. They felt real, and I enjoyed them as they tried to regain their youth. This novel is focused on Tillie, but her friends also get a chance to live it up and have fun and lives in Italy. It was fantastic to see all they’d gone through and survived, and so beautiful that, so many years later, they still managed to hang on to their friendship.


My review: “I thought it was lovely and a lot of fun. The four women are just so full of life that it’s hard to not find enjoyment reading this”

Book Reviews & Musings by D.B. Moone gave this 5 stars, saying “Whether writing about the grizzly bear, the pigeon, the snake, the termites, or the dynamic relationships of the four women who have been friends for life, MacKenzie’s unique descriptive narration entrances the reader, keeping the readers riveted throughout her story, whether writing the comedic or ruminating on aging and mortality”

N.N. Light’s Book Heaven gave this 5 stars, saying “Freefall: A Divine Comedy is exactly what the titles imply, a spiritual story about four women and their renewed friendships told in comedic precision. Beautifully-written with lush descriptive narration”

Linda Appleman Shapiro said “Her writing is a medley of metaphor and poetry, expressing our fears about living and dying and all that’s in-between. Some reviewers have referred to FREEFALL as a coming of age novel of old friends”

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