When I read romance novels, there are certain components that make or break the book for me. Of course, at the most basic level, the author has to knows how to write and execute a story. Given that, I have to like the main character and find myself rooting for his/her happiness, laugh aloud at least once in the story, and ultimately be left with a heart warming ending.
Rainshadow Road focuses on Lucy and her family and stayed true to the storyline without all the extra fuss and dramatics that often get thrown in gratuitously. I strongly dislike dramatic irony in fiction, especially in romance novels. Knowing the main character was deceived and will suffer because of it throughout most of the story or that something terrible has to happen in the end for the story to be resolved gives me anxiety and takes the joy out of reading for pleasure.
This is only my second contemporary novel (the first being Christmas Eve at Bar Harbor) by Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoyed her Hathaway series and Wallflower series and decided to try her contemporary fiction. Rainshadow Road does not disappoint. Lisa Kleypas has a way of infusing humor and witty banter in her dialogues. This book is definitely one that I will listen to again.
It's not absolutely necessary to read the first book in order to enjoy Rainshadow Road, but I would highly recommend starting with Christmas Eve at Bar Harbor to appreciate the interactions and development of the characters.
After reading Rainshadow Road I know I'll be waiting for the Friday Harbor books as they are released. I'm looking forward to reading Zoe's story when it comes out in August.
The description of this book leaves out a crucial part of the story. The publisher's summary reads "But when Haven marries a man her family disapproves of, her life is set on a new and dangerous course. Two years later, Haven comes home..."
Half of the book is full of descriptive and detailed scenes of spousal abuse, including rape. The words "dangerous course" is way too general. I was blindsided and felt mislead - even though nothing in the summary is incorrect or inappropriate.
I usually read the reviews of books I'm purchasing on Audible at Amazon's main website, and I really regret not having done so with this book. One of the reasons why i didn't take the time was because I really enjoy Lisa Kleypas' books and made an assumption that this wouldn't be that different.
What made it more difficult was that the narrator did too good of the job playing out the scenes. I would recommend getting a print version of it so you can skim/skip over the more disturbing parts.
While the story itself was okay once she leaves her abusive situation, I still felt frustrated and exasperated. The worst part was that the story sucked me in, and I chose not to put it down because I kept thinking... okay she'll leave soon... okay she'll leave now... this has got to be the part when she leaves. Wrong. Then, my thoughts ran more towards... the story will get much better... the characters will develop nicely... I'll magically start to love Haven. Not so much.
I may have enjoyed this book a bit more had I listened to it with different expectations and a different perspective.
The story is decent enough for a couple of hours of mindless entertainment, but the narration is TERRIBLE. I can make myself get over the child-like voice, but the way she voices the men in the story is often unintelligible. She pitches her voice low and just mumbles on. It's frustrating to spend the time trying to process what she's saying rather than focus on the storyline.
The story is told from the perspective of a 22 year old who is whiny, annoying, immature, and so incredibly frustrating. Her stupidity was just too much to bear. The story line is slow, and you can definitely tell it's a set up for the coming series. I kept listening to it thinking it would get better as the characters developed, but sadly this was not so. Don't bother wasting your time. I bought this when it was on sale after reading one of the author's Highlander books. I regret every penny.
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