Ella Barron is determined that even the ravages of the Dust Bowl will not affect the well-ordered life she has built for herself and her special child, Solly, who lives in a world of his own that even she can’t enter. Aware that he evokes pity and distrust, Ella holds herself aloof from her small community, but her new boarder, David Rainwater, comes into her life— and changes it forever. As economic desperation creates bitter social unrest in the town and surrounding farms, Ella finds herself relying on Mr. Rainwater’s soft-spoken advice and the steely resolve of his convictions. But tensions escalate in the summer heat, until one violent night everything they believe in will be put to the ultimate test.
Sandra Brown’s Rainwater is a poignant, lyrical novel that will speak straight to your heart, a story that bears witness to a powerful truth: love is worth whatever price one must pay for it.
My mom has been bugging me to read this book for a while. She got it from a friend, and then passed it to me. She told me that it was nothing like Sandra Brown’s usual books, and from what she described, I wondered if she was talking about another author entirely.
But yes, this is Sandra Brown of the crime novels. And as much as I’ve enjoyed her books in the past, I have to say that I truly hope she’ll write more like Rainwater. It’s lyrical and romantic, but also shows a part of history that, until recently, I knew almost nothing about. Ironically, in A Wilder Rose, Susan Wittig Albert talks about Rose Wilder Lane’s experience travelling through the “Dust Bowl” in the 1930s, and it was the first I had ever heard of FDR’s Agricultural Adjustment Act, and the horrors that happened in the attempts to save farms. I can’t even imagine how painful it must have been for livestock farmers to have to watch their starving cattle be shot. There’s a lot more to it, of course, but Brown does a wonderful, terrible job of describing the agony of the situation.
The characters are all well-developed, from Ella and Mr. Rainwater (SPOILER ALERT: I did have to wonder why she still even referred to him in her thoughts as “Mr. Rainwater” when they were already romantically involved) to Margaret, the maid, and Brother Calvin, the new preacher in town. The main villain of the book, Conrad Ellis, is enough to make your skin crawl. Ella’s struggle with her son, Solly’s autism – which in the 1930s was a virtually unknown condition – and how to protect him from those who mocked, or even wanted to hurt him or institutionalize him, was heartbreaking. Don’t even get me started on her relationship with Mr. Rainwater.
If you’re looking for a happy, neatly tied-up ending, this probably isn’t the book for you, but if you enjoy a love story with complications, I really recommend Rainwater.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
PS – If this is your first time here, you can read more about MY books here: http://cynthiahillbooks.com/about-the-books/