Sometimes it’s hard to find a book that suits your mood. Even when I consider my tall TBR stack, I often still can’t find one that I want to tackle. For instance, “Nine Dragons” by Michael Connelly, one of my favorite authors, is still lying on my nightstand unfinished after months have gone by. I just haven’t been in the mood for Harry Bosch.
So a couple of weeks ago, I was wandering through my keeper shelves for something and I came across “A Gentle Rain” by Deborah Smith, one of my all-time favorite authors.
“A Gentle Rain” was released in 2007 and was a RITA finalist. I read it the first time back then. But you forget the fine details in books after a while, so I set out to read it again. I’m so glad I did. This is such an entertaining book and revisiting Deborah Smith’s writing is like enjoying a scrumptious chocolate sundae. No one is better at placing you right in the middle of a setting and right at the center of her characters’ hearts.
I started enjoying the re-read so much, I went to GoodReads and gave it a five-star rating.
The story is set on a struggling cattle ranch in humid, swampy Florida. It’s full of quirky characters you can’t help but grow to love, including a smart-mouthed South American parrot, and a hero and heroine who will steal your heart.
The heroine is Kara Whittenbrook, a young woman who grew up in South America. Her rich hippie parents adopted her when she was an infant. The parents are killed in a plane crash, leaving Kara fantastically wealthy and her journey begins.
Her one desire is to find her birth parents. The manager of her estate tells her who they are and steers her to the Florida cattle ranch, where she goes incognito. The ranch owner, believing her to be a homeless wanderer, gives her a job, which enables her to get acquainted with her birth parents as well as his odd assortment of ranch hands. In the course of her stay there, she learns that both of her parents are mentally challenged. One suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and the other from shaken baby syndrome. For those reasons, when she was born, they were forced by her father’s family to give her up for adoption.
She also finds Ben Thocco, a salt-of-the-earth, half-Seminole ranch owner who not only takes care of her birth parents, but half a dozen other mentally challenged souls, including his own brother who has Down’s syndrome. And it doesn’t hurt her feelings that he looks like Keaneau Reeves.
Kara and Ben travel from one adventure to another, with her becoming more beloved by the group as the story unfolds. Even Ben falls in love with her. He’s a man with a past and gradually, it manifests itself and it turns out they have a connection from years back.
It’s a romance, so naturally there’s a happy-ever-after ending.
I don’t know Deborah Smith personally, but I do know she’s one of the most respected authors around. She’s an author’s author. No one tells a better yarn or writes it more exquisitely. She’s a New York Times Bestselling author from years back and has won many writing awards. She’s now part owner of a small publishing company and continues to write in several genres. I’ve lost track of all of her pen names. You can visit her Web site at www.deborah-smith.com
If you’ve already read “A Gentle Rain,” be sure to stop by the blog and leave a comment. If you haven’t read it and want some pleasurable reading moments, try this one.