Falling (Elizabeth Jane Howard novel)
The book tells the story of a relationship that develops between Henry Kent, a sociopath and fantasist who preys on lonely rich women, and Daisy Langrish, an ageing novelist with two broken marriages behind her.
After meeting Daisy – who has recently bought a cottage in order to start a new life in the country – Henry quickly falls in love with her, and sets about tricking his way into her confidence.
He initially offers to become her gardener – something she reluctantly accepts – then later begins to correspond with her after she suffers an accident during a prolonged trip abroad. These letters start as run of the mill pieces, but as he perceives that she is taking an interest in him, Henry begins to weave her a series of elaborate stories about his life – all designed to gain her attention and win her affection.
When Daisy eventually returns home and Henry makes himself indispensable to her after she suffers a fall, they begin an affair. But when Daisy's family and friends learn about the nature of the relationship, they become concerned and start to investigate Henry. However, they soon begin to fear that the facts they unearth about his past might have come to light too late to save Daisy from harm.
Howard wrote this novel based on her real life affair with a con-man, as described in her memoir, Slipstream.
In 2005, the book was made into a drama for ITV, starring Michael Kitchen and Penelope Wilton in the two leading roles. It was directed by Tristram Powell, while the screenplay was written by Andrew Davies.
- Howard, Elizabeth Jane: Falling ISBN 0-330-36889-3