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WFTRWaiting for the Rain

M. Jean Pike

Champagne Press, 2007

ISBN 978 1 897445 21 1

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Rain-M-Jean-Pike/dp/1897445210/

 

This has been a rainy week in my world so it seemed the perfect time to settle in with Waiting for the Rain by M. Jean Pike. I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the description on the back cover. The book had more depth and beauty than I expected. I found it to be a breath of fresh air in the paranormal romance genre. It is skillfully written, full of unique scenes, a few colorful characters, heartache, sacrifice, drama, suspense and of course a sexy leading man. In some ways the story reminded me of a modern, adult version of Tuck Everlasting. This book is a love story that offers hope but . . . is that hope medical, miracle or magic—readers will have to decide. If you like unpredictable books you will enjoy the many twists the author takes you on in this story.

The book is categorized as a paranormal romance novel and although it is a romance, it is not light, fluffy or full of silly sexual innuendos. The romance in Waiting for the Rain is believable and tasteful. The paranormal aspect will come upon readers slowly and quickly build into a beautiful tale. This book is easy to read in one sitting, but you better start it early in the day because you may not want to put it down until you get to the end. This is an emotional love story that shows the hope a sacrifice can offer one we love. Readers will go through a swing of emotions while reading of a love that sacrifices and heals but may not be destined to endure forever.

Readers will enjoy the way the author gets right to the heart of the story. It only took me a page or two to be hooked. The leading lady, twenty-eight year old Willow (Willy) is diagnosed with cancer. Before telling her husband, Tom, her sad news, he announces that he wants a divorce because he has found someone new. Having no desire for his pity, Willy refrains from telling him her medical news and instead agrees to the divorce and turns to the help of her friends. Realizing her time on earth may be coming to an end she desires to follow one of her dreams. Always an admirer of the majestic eagle, she wants to photograph one before she is too frail to do so. Her journey into the woods proves to be a life-altering trip. After experiencing car trouble and lack of cell phone reception, she meets Darby, a reclusive, gruff but handsome stranger with plenty of tragedy of his own. War veteran Darby lives in Baker’s Gully away from humanity with his faithful dog Lucky as his main companion.  The beautiful art work on the book cover gives a brief glimpse into the world that will captivate Willy who is strangely drawn to Baker’s Gully and can’t seem to rest until she finagles a way to stay in the abandoned rose covered cabin not far from Darby’s place.

Readers won’t be surprised when Willow and Darby begin to fall in love, but will be surprised by the direction their love takes them.  Both have lost a first love, neither is looking for a new love yet they are drawn to each other as in a fairy tale. If you believe in true love, if you believe miracles or magic can get you where you want to go, this book is for you.

The book is well written with accurate portrayals of the time period involved.  The main characters are fully developed and the scenes are beautifully described.  Through clear and vivid descriptions, readers will feel like they have been to Baker’s Gully before. I enjoyed getting to know Willow and I was fascinated by Darby. I appreciated the depth of both characters. Willow’s situation is easier to figure out but readers will have questions as they get to know Darby, his past and his beautiful property. Could Darby have the secret to the fountain of youth? Will he be able to help Willy? Will Willy let him? These are questions that come to mind for the reader. The author introduces to some colorful minor characters with interesting pasts and hearts of gold. Some readers may not approve of the lifestyles and choices of certain characters but will find them believable and true to form throughout the story. Readers will sense a heart of friendship in Sid, the loyalty of hard as nails lawyer Zoe, the jokester in off-color, disgruntled Toots, and the weakness in the loves of Tom and Marilyn.  The development of these characters allows the author to insert scenes written with humor, sarcasm, grief, romance, sacrifice, sorrow and love.

The ending of the book causes one to stop, think and review the story as a whole. If you are like me, you will reflect upon it for a time. Willow and Darby stayed with me for several days after I left Baker’s Gully. This is a thought-provoking story that reminds us that into every life some rain must fall. Rain is there for all of us. Our lives can be spent remembering the rain, waiting for the rain or embracing the rain. A choice is offered.

Jean Pike has given us a fresh, unique love story: A love for all times.  Waiting for the Rain is a keeper! I predict that readers will want to return to Baker’s Gully to read this story more than once.

–Pearl

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blueWhere Blue Begins

By Janice Deaner

Signet Books, 1993

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Blue-Begins-Janice-Deaner/dp/0451179196

 

I love poking around in used book stores. Aside from the fact that these are tough economic times and it just plain feels good to buy a great book for a dollar or two, there’s the thrill of discovering something wonderful. You just never know what riches might lay at the bottom of  those dusty stacks, hidden away in those shadowy corners. A couple of weeks ago on a visit to my favorite used book store, I found an absolute treasure in Where Blue Begins, by Janice Deaner. Written in 1993, it’s easy to see how I missed it the first time around. The early nineties were my crazy, busy years of trying to work, keep my house in order, and raise a toddler. I was lucky to shave both of my legs in one sitting, in 1993, let alone read a 464 page novel.

 

Told from the viewpoint of ten-year-old Maddie, Where Blue Begins is the story of a young girl’s desperate search to understand her world, herself, and her emotionally disturbed and highly secretive mother. The story opens in the summer of 1967, when the family relocates from Detroit to the rolling, peaceful hills of New York state. Despite their lovely surroundings, the family relationships soon begin to disintegrate. Maddie and her older sister, Elana, are desperate to understand their father, Leo, and his stifled passion for jazz music; their mother, Lana, and the terrible unnamed illness that hangs like a dark cloud above them all. Soon after the move, Maddie is befriended by Lizzie, a young mulatto girl whose home life is even more dysfunctional than her own. When the girls discover Lana’s journals hidden away in a box in the attic, they begin to piece together the shocking mystery of Lana’s illness and Maddie learns the hard way that some of life’s secrets are better left undiscovered.

 

It is rare that I come across a novel of this caliber. The writing was so powerful, and the story so compelling it seemed to wrap me in a warm embrace that I could not free myself from until the very last page was turned. The writing was lovely, flowing effortlessly from one unpredictable scene to the next with a cast of characters so deeply flawed and endearing that I cared about them like they were my own family. Janice Deaner is not merely a writer, but a true storyteller. Where Blue Begins is one of those books that will stay with me for a long, long  time, if not forever.

   

Reviewed by Honeybee

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