Date: April 2003
it at Amazon
Janet Elaine Smith
Previous Title: Falling Home
After the Rain
by Karen White is the sequel to her debut novel, Falling Home.
I read Falling Home, and I thoroughly enjoyed it-with one
exception: the wife of Joe Warner died, leaving him to raise six
children alone. I really disliked that part of the book, and I even
contacted the author and told her that. However when I read Joe's
story in After the Rain, I knew that both books were exactly
as they should have been.
The story opens with Suzanne Paris
riding on a bus, destination Nowhere, USA, and a woman strikes up
a conversation with her. When the other woman gets off in Walton,
Georgia, Suzanne decides to get off there, too. She gets a ride
"into town" by Joe and his brood of offspring. She immediately
is turned off by the children, and they all decide that she doesn't
like children. Joe's entire world, on the other hand, revolves completely
around his family, which also includes his wife's very pregnant
sister and her husband, who is the town's doctor.
Suzanne rents a house that is being
remodeled, and soon has a job-in the outlandish lingerie shop in
town. She is bombarded on a regular basis by Joe's children coming
in and out, the owner of the shop who continues with his construction
work, and visits from the town's busybodies. There is a whole bevy
of delightful and very colorful secondary characters.
Suzanne has a mountain of secrets
from her past, many which she doesn't even know about herself. An
old lady in Walton, whom everyone thinks is completely senile, seems
to know who Suzanne is and, as they form a bond over romance novels,
she reveals the things that will finally bring peace to Suzanne
for her mother's desertion-and a whole lot of other secrets.
As Suzanne interacts with Joe's oldest
daughter, she finds that her heart is lost not only to Joe, but
to the "whole darn brood". Suzanne is a professional photographer
and, through a photography contest, her past is revealed-not only
to Joe, but to the entire population of Walton, GA. Embarrassed
and disgusted with herself, she leaves town.
There is a fair amount of mystery
which weaves its way into After the Rain and the escapades of Joe's
daughter and her boyfriend, which includes an overturned truckload
of manure, will have you laughing. As Joe and Suzanne make their
amends, and their commitments to each other, you won't be able to
stop the tears from trickling down your cheeks.
This one is definitely a not-to-be-missed
read. I look forward to a lot more books by Karen White.