Review of “Rainwater” by Sandra Brown

There I was, trying to find a nice trashy [sort of oxymoronic, that] book to read, so I thought Sandra Brown would be reliable in that department, and she goes and writes this lovely piece of literary/historical fiction instead. This is the second time I’ve been thwarted in trying to find a trashy book! [Clearly, I need more practice.] It also provoked yet another instance of The Sobbing-in-Public Reader as I finished it on the plane.

This story, inspired by actual events during the Great Depression (see, for example, this first-hand account here), takes place in 1934 in the small town of Gilead, Texas. Ella Barron is a young single mother who runs a boarding house. The local doctor brings her a new boarder, David Rainwater, who is dying of cancer, but Ella agrees to take him in because he is Dr. Kincaid’s relative.

Much to Ella’s chagrin, Mr. Rainwater gets involved in the local politics, which include conflicts over a very distasteful (and historically authentic!) government program to help farmers and ranchers; the tension between rich and poor; and the hostility between black and white. He also takes time to help Ella’s autistic son Solly.

Ella has tried to keep her emotions bottled off all these lonely years struggling to support herself and her son, and had built a wall of protection around her heart. But David Rainwater teaches her that life is like Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms: even knowing the ending is sad, why deprive oneself of the beauty of the story?

Evaluation: I’ve seen this called “a little gem” and I agree. Definitely worth the short time it takes to read. Don’t forget the Kleenex.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2009


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23 Responses to Review of “Rainwater” by Sandra Brown

  1. I liked this one a lot when I read it soon after it was released. (we are all enjoying the recommendations of our fellow bloggers I see 🙂

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    I didn’t realize Brown wrote books like that. She was at SIBA last year and she is really funny!

  3. June says:

    Oh my…sounds like a great read! I’ll have to have something cheerful on tap for after!

  4. The sobbing-in-public-reader thing can be pretty embarrassing, but this does sounds like a good book!

  5. Barbara says:

    I never know what to expect from Sandra Brown. As for trashy novels, I find it heartening that not one of the bloggers I follow has mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey. Obviously we don’t just follow the crowd; we’re more discerning than that.

  6. Trisha says:

    I have never read a Brown quite like this one…

  7. awww lol trashy books hide themselves from you!!

    This sounds like something i should read, I think, I need to remember the lesson myself!

  8. Well it’s cool that you found a lovely book to read even if you weren’t looking for it. My generic meter for trashiness is the ratio of bare chest to cleavage showing on the cover. 😉 I guess it’s just what kind of trashiness you’re looking for though.

  9. Ti says:

    You need trashy? There’s always 50 Shades to keep you company.

  10. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I loved this one and I don’t worry about crying in public!! 😀 Glad you enjoyed it. Now, if you’re looking for trashy but good, then pick up Lucky by Jackie Collins!!!!

  11. bookingmama says:

    This one wasn’t even on my radar. I thought she wrote thrillers!

  12. zibilee says:

    Who knew Sandra Brown wrote historical fiction? I am intrigued, and the story sounds excellent! I need to see if I can find this one soon. I love stories about The Great Depression, and this seems like it would be just my cuppa. Great review Jill! If you want a trashy, fun read, I would suggest The Rothman Scandal. It’s the book I always go to when I need that type of thing. It’s very fun and flavorful.

  13. Marion says:

    A great review, sounds like a must read!

  14. Ha! I like what Alyce said about cleavage on the cover. Or – just try anything shelved in romance with “wild” or “bad” in the title. 😉

  15. softdrink says:

    If you wanted to be sure you were getting trash, why didn’t you just pick up 50 Shades??

  16. Athira says:

    I read this before I knew the genre Brown usually wrote in. And I’m glad about that, because I actually enjoyed this book. Glad that you did too!

  17. Keishon says:

    Read it and enjoyed it but typically I enjoy Sandra Brown

  18. Jenners says:

    Stupid Sandra Brown … not giving you trash but something better. Who does she think she is? Next time, you need to pick a cover with someone having their bodice ripped open … or something in Fifty Shades of Gray .. HAHA!

  19. This sounds like an emotional, but good read. Thank you for your review. This is the first time that I have seen this title, so thank you for the introduction as well.

  20. stacybuckeye says:

    No Kleenex please. I used to read a lot of Sandra Brown but became bored. I should take another look.

  21. Lisa says:

    If you needed Kleenex, I’d say this one definitely failed as a trashy novel. But it certainly seems to have succeeded as a good read.

  22. Susan Jacques says:

    Sandra spoke at WOSU and talked about this book. I bought the book and JUST FINISHED reading it and ABSOLUTELY LOVED RAINWATER….LOVED IT. THANK YOU, Sandra, for writing this book and YES, I needed Kleenex. Susan JAcques

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