THE SWEETEST RAIN
As the drought of 1930 burns crops to a crisp, Bryony Linwood dreams of cooling winter snows and the life she would have had if Daddy hadn’t been killed in the Great War and Mama hadn’t moved Bryony and her sisters to their grandfather’s struggling tenant farm in tiny Eden, Arkansas. Now Mama’s gone, too, and as times grow tougher, Bryony will do whatever it takes to ensure her family’s survival.
Michael Heath barely survived the war, and twelve years later all he wants to do is forget. A virtual recluse, his one passion is botanical illustration. Lost in the diversity of nature’s beauty, he finds escape from a troubled past and from his wealthy father’s continual pressure to take an interest in the family plantation.
When Bryony accepts employment at the Heath mansion, it’s just a job at first, a means to ward off destitution until the drought ends and Grandpa’s farm is prosperous again. But Bryony’s forced optimism and dogged determination disguise a heart as dry and despairing as the scorched earth . . . until she discovers Michael Heath and his beautiful botanical illustrations. As their relationship deepens, friendship soon blossoms into healing for wounded souls and a love that can’t be denied.
I have to admit to a fascination with stories set during the Depression era and there just aren't enough of them out there. In The Sweetest Rain, drought-stricken Arkansas takes on a personality all its own. It makes for a gritty read at times, but also for an awe-inspiring one. And that's because these characters are more than survivors. Somehow they find a way to flourish in the midst of impossible odds.
Take Bryony. She's endured so many losses in her life. Dealing with a failing farm in the middle of the worst drought in history is almost more than she can cope with. Feelings of responsibility towards
her grandfather and her sisters keep her from surrendering to despair. She faces the impossible every day -- and wins by sheer grit and determination.
At a glance you might think Michael is the pampered son of a wealthy man. After all he's still living under his parents' roof. But take a closer look and you'll see a wounded soldier who can't quite shake the horrors of war. Shell shock is what they called it back then and Michael's coping strategy is seclusion...until Bryony.
And here's the incredible strength to their love story -- they both have what the other wants most. Bryony hungers for life-sustaining basics like food and security. The lack of both is constantly gnawing at her. Michael has a less tangible hunger -- he yearns for love and family. Acceptance and support. The way Johnson meshes these needs, merges their worlds and brings them together is truly
Compelling secondary characters flesh out the story, bringing depth and no shortage of surprises to the plot. A complicated, emotional read about learning how to let go of the past in order to grab hold of the future.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The Sweetest Rain please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 20 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!