Friday, November 24, 2017

Another New Author for Me - and Another Big Hit

By now, you all know that I get a bunch of great recommendations from my East Coast blogger, Melissa.  Well, she recommended Before the Rain Falls, by Camille Di Maio, many months ago.  In fact, I just saw that I messaged the author back in May that I would be reading it soon.  Does May to November constitute "soon?"  I don't believe it does.  Even though I shirked my responsibility at the time, at least I'm making up for it now.  Let's start with the back cover:

After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar.  She's free from confinement - and ready to tell her secrets before it's too late.
She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears.  He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who's visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens.  Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as "Port of Regret."  But they don't anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.
Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della's dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick's present-day search for answers - about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.

I am a big fan of books that go back and forth...when it's done well (like This Is Us, for example).  And this one is done very well.  I liked everything that takes place in the present but still wanted to know what happened to Della in prison.  In fact, you needed that to really overall appreciate the book.  What else did I like about Before the Rain Falls? I'm glad you asked.

1.  Truly great lead characters - Della, Paloma, and Mick
2.  Romance, which I was not expecting
3.  Several very surprising moments for me, including one real shocker
4.  A definite emotional connection to several of the main protagonists
5.  Some gut-wrenching moments
6.  Well-written (have you heard this from me before, perchance?):
"Her smile.  A smile that made him feel warm inside.  Like there was goodness in the world, and it was right in front of him." - something we've all experienced, I would venture to say
7.  A couple of passages that brought to mind other favorite books, including Goodnight June and The Storyteller
8.  References to Kerry Lonsdale (an RBC author) and Melissa Amster (see paragraph #1 above) in the acknowledgements

How much did I like Before the Rain Falls?  I've already ordered her 1st book, The Memory of Us, from Recycle Books.  I have no choice but to scoot it up the TBR pile very quickly.