I’ll tell you right now – it was the cover that made me want to read it. Oh my word… the colors, the font, the raindrops… GORGEOUS. And the story, a West Virginia coal miner who’s afraid of the dark and a southern belle who wants to change the world? Well, that’s wasn’t exactly a hard sell either. And while – my apologies – the Christmas season delayed my review, here we go.
Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company.
Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the 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 devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together.
Alrighty. So, while I don’t exactly understand the title (I think it relates to the hurricane) the classic fifties feel of Thomas’ writing set up a gentle cadence that walks you into the story.
The Sound Of Rain is a great afternoon read. The kind of book that will leave you sighing on your couch saying, “that was a nice story.”
But I think, when you’re making up your mind about whether or not to add it to your library, there are a few things that struck me. And they’re things we always consider when we buy Christian fiction.
It all comes down to content, though. Content, content, content.
I’ll admit, I started reading Christian romance when I was in ninth grade. I LOVED a good boy-meets-girl story. And considering YA Christian fiction was virtually nonexistent outside the Christy novels (and I suppose there are two series with an MC named Christy, but I only read the ones set in Appalachia), I read a lot of Lori Wick. Innocent, sweet stories. The Sound Of Rain has the makings of that.
I would ALMOST say that this is a great one to pass off to your daughters once you finish. The romance is very light and sweet and undetailed. But I say almost because of other content that may vary in perspective from reader to reader (but overall, well handled in my opinion).
Thomas doesn’t write in a highly dramatic, tense fashion. She’s very lighthearted, and keeping in mind the Christy books, there definitely some similarities with Larkin’s desire to go to Appalachia. But considering that setting, she doesn’t leave out the realities of culture and social status. Drinking does come up, though briefly and not glorified (Gambling is also mentioned). And while one of the MCs does accept a drink, there is no drunkenness among the primary characters.
My final comment on content is spiritual arc. This one actually has more of an arc than some of the other Christian fiction I’ve read lately. And I will say… while a prominent spiritual arc can either be done VERY WELL or VERY BADLY, this one was very relatable.
Throughout the novel, Thomas explores themes of God’s calling on our lives, trusting his plans, success, failure, family and priorities. And I think, if you’re wrestling with any feelings of frustration in these areas, this book will touch you.
I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.