THE SOUND OF RAIN
In the dark of the mine, in the face of rising waters, in the shadows of the hills, faith will see them through.
Judd Markely knows he can never send foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more -- maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there -- until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.
Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together -- or maybe, it will take a miracle.
"Sometimes the people who needed the most help didn't look like they need any help at all."
Sarah Loudin Thomas has a lyrical style that is sheer poetry. I find myself reading out loud from time to time just to hear the impact of her words. The Sound of Rain is an exquisite escape into another time and place. And I have a secret fascination for all things Appalachia. Stoic people, hardworking and proud. They blend faith and culture into a fascinating seize-the-moment kind of living that really speaks to me.
But Judd leaves that life in a bid to escape heartbreaking reminders of all that he has lost. He flees the darkness of the coal mines for the promise of light in work above ground in South Carolina. What he doesn't realize is that he carries that darkness within him.
By contrast, Larkin's light shines brightly. Enthusiastically. Misdirected at times but she has a gift for brightening the lives of the people around her. It's a dangerous gift in the hands of someone who doesn't recognize its power -- and Larkin doesn't in the beginning of the story. She's spoiled and idealistic which Judd finds both frustrating and fascinating. But he's drawn to that inner glow and Larkin is equally intrigued by a real-life mountain man.
In some ways, Judd and Larkin's stories seem independent of each other as their goals lead them in different directions. That doesn't mean they don't share a lot of 'page time', because they do and when that happens there's an undeniable connection that speaks of hope in their future. Of course, there's a lot to work through before Thomas brings us to that end. Larkin needs to grow up some, and Judd need to open up more. There's a lovely spiritual undercoating that binds their stories together even when they are miles apart.
Sarah Loudin Thomas delivers another stunning portrayal of life and love and the faith that connects it all.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Sound of Rain, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday March 11 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.