Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: Before the Rain Falls

Summary: After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.

She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.

Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers―about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life. -- Lake Union

With seventeen days and counting until my daughter's high school graduation, reading and writing reviews isn't exactly the same priority it's been for me for almost a decade. When I'm not getting ready for the parties and many events, I do try to read. Notice the word "try." I'm not having much luck focusing on books right now... or finding time to write reviews, but I did want to take the time to share with you a book that came out yesterday called BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS by Camille De Maio.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS tells the story of three complex individuals whose lives intersect in a small Texas town. First, there's Della Lee, an elderly woman who has served 70 years for the murder of her sister Eula. She is now a free woman and wants to set the record straight about all of the secrets she's been keeping for almost her entire life. Then there's Mick. Mick is a big city newspaper writer who has recently been suspended and sent away to Puerto Pesar to look into the story of a painting of Eula that appears to be crying. And finally, there's Paloma, a doctor who grew up in Puerto Pesar who has returned to take care of her ailing grandmother and teenage sister.

Mick isn't exactly excited to be assigned this story; however, he quickly realizes that Puerto Pesar does have its advantages -- namely, the beautiful and smart Paloma. He also discovers that Della's life story might be the story he's really supposed to cover. Paloma is torn between starting her new life in New York and taking care of her loved ones when they need her the most. As Mick and Paloma become closer, they both realize important things about each other and, more importantly, what they value in life.

I was pleasantly surprised by BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I enjoyed the characters and the story. I also was very impressed with Ms. De Maio's writing. I especially appreciated how she wove the story between the three main characters and also went back and forth between the present and the past. All in all, it was an entertaining and compelling novel.

There were quite a few things that I enjoyed about this novel. First and foremost were the characters. I truly liked all Della, Mick and Paloma; and I found myself rooting for all of them. I also definitely wanted Mick and Paloma's romance to develop! I thought the author did a terrific job in making them multi-dimensional, and their interactions with each other were interesting. I also liked how each one of them evolved by the end of the story.

As a lover of mysteries, I admit that I did enjoy the mystery angle of the novel. I wouldn't classify this novel as a mystery; however, there were definitely some secrets surrounding Eula's death. (And I guess the crying portrait was a mystery too... in a way!) It wasn't a mystery that I spent time trying to figure out -- it was more like secrets were eventually revealed, but I did find the resolution to be satisfying.

Another aspect of the book that I appreciated was how the author brought the setting of a small Texas town to life. In addition, I thought she did a good job of making the earlier time period come alive. I think that the details she incorporated into the novel definitely contributed to my enjoyment of BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS as well as making the characters and their lives more real.

I believe BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS is a special story that will warm the hearts of fans of women's fiction.

Thanks to Get Red PR for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

Great characters and a mystery to boot? Sounds good to me!

Kim@Time2Read said...

I just saw this one earlier today and wondered about it. After reading your review, I'm adding it to my list!
Congrats to the graduate!

The Book Sage said...

You're the 2nd one today that has raved about this book. And the 3rd person overall to rave about the author. I'm getting my hands on this one!