I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.After the Rain by Karen White
Published by NAL on December 31st 2012
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Southern
Source: complimentary review copy
Amazon / IndieBound
Whenever I pick up a Karen White novel, I know I am in for a great few hours of reading, living vicariously through vividly drawn characters and their crazy Southern-fried lives. After the Rain takes us back to the small town from Falling Home, little Walton, Georgia. Not only do we return to Walton, but we are smack dab in the middle of the lives we left in Falling Home. I still remember the moment I finished Falling Home and how I was laughing and crying at the same time! Such a fabulous book! Here’s a guest post from the author regarding the Southern Perspective and Falling Home.
After the Rain begins with Suzanne Paris stepping off the Atlanta Greyhound Bus in Walton, Georgia. Almost immediately Suzanne offends the Mayor when confronted with his six children in various half-dressed states running around the small-town store, and she states “Don’t they have leash laws in this state?”
Upon discovering that Suzanne has no place to stay, is not visiting “her people” and as a matter of fact, doesn’t know any people in Walton, the widowed Mayor finds a place for Suzanne to stay, although there is not a motel anywhere near Walton. Soon, Aunt Lucinda (sister and caretaker to the Mayor’s six children) has Suzanne working for her in her lingerie shop and the oldest of the Mayor’s six children has Suzanne teaching her the finer points to photography upon discovering Suzanne is a gifted freelance photographer.
What no one knows in this small town is that Suzanne is on the run from her abusive ex-fiance. And she has never been in a small-town community where everyone knows everyone and people care about you. Suzanne comes from a life of moving in and out of foster homes and from a mother who chose the bottle rather than her daughter. To be welcomed in Walton, to make friends and discover a life she didn’t even know she craved, Suzanne lays down her armor and allows her heart to be melted. But there’s still one person intent on destroying Suzanne’s life.
Karen White has a way of pulling the reader into the story and can have you laughing one sentence and in tears the next. It was so nice to re-visit several of the characters from Falling Home (one of my all-time favorite Karen White novels!). Although in After the Rain I was put off by both Suzanne and the Mayor’s characters; I came to love the growth and development each went through in the novel ~ Suzanne learns to trust and heal while the Mayor and his brood of children learn to love and heal. Karen White is also quite adept at pulling a community into the novel to where it is almost a character of itself ~ Walton, Georgia becomes a prime example. And although After the Rain is a follow-up novel to Falling Home, it is not necessary to first read Falling Home. (but I would recommend you read Falling Home simply because it’s one of White’s most entertaining!)
It is with many thanks to Penguin that I received a complementary copy for review.