Tuesday, January 1, 2013

After the Rain by Karen White

After the Rain. Karen White. Penguin Group (USA). December 2012. 384 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9780451239686.

Suzanne Paris, as she is now calling herself, is a freelance photographer who is running away.  We don’t know for a long time where she’s from but we do know that she is a woman who for years has had no “hometown” and immediately goes on the run whenever anyone tries to get too close or begins to start connecting dots to the mystery of her past.  It’s a lonely life; and despite Suzanne’s tough exterior appearance, underneath she’s like a tightly-wired machine that is super-exhausted underneath. 

Suzanne’s luck is holding so far when she decides to get off a cross-country bus in Walton, Georgia, a typical Southern town with extraordinary hospitality and just as extraordinary nosiness.  Everyone knows everyone and makes sure everyone else knows the whole story about each resident, guest and visitor!  One has to laugh if it didn’t freak out Suzanne more, yet one does as the caring nature of these “strangers” is warming to the heart, a counter to the irritating qualities of town busybodies.

The first person Suzanne meets is the town mayor, Joe Warner, a man totally blasted from taking care of his six kids and grieving today for his wife who died years ago. In fact, he grieves as intensely as he did the day she died.  He seems to always be showing up in situations where Suzanne is desperate for help and at first her irritation at his questioning is downright annoying.  That takes quite a while to overcome and their relationship begins to improve when Suzanne shares her gift for photography with Joe’s daughter, Maddie, and gradually becomes a major influence in her life.  So the story goes on and on and on….

All the characters have something to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.  Suzanne may look “tough as nails” but has a heart of gold and is a very, very talented, skilled, sensitive photographer.  Slowly but surely the picture gets better and better until the past returns with a vengeance and seems to make everything go wrong.  Will it all be sorted and resolved – no spoilers here, LOL!

After the Rain is another hit novel for Karen White who knows how to balance the ups and downs of emotional women and crisis situations with just the right amount of revelation to make each scene more than credible. She is one very knowledgeable and talented writer, proven again in this wonderful work of romance and/or contemporary fiction!

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