If you don't want to read a book by Deborah Smith, don't read the the first sentence because, after you do, it's all over.
I ought to know. I did not want to read A Gentle Rain. It wasn't that I don't like Smith's books.In fact, like would be the Grand Arch Duchess of understatement. Blue Willow was my first. Then there came--among others--A Place to Call Home, Sweet Hush, Stone Flower Garden, Legends, On Bear Mountain, not necessarily in that order. I don't remember the order because I have read and reread her books.
Then, why, you ask, if I had such a love affair with this author, did I shun A Gentle Rain? I knew it would be a good story becuase it always is. I knew the writing would be like magic.
But it just sounded so sad.
Kara learns upon the death of her parents that she was adopted. If that was not shocking enough, she finds out her birth parents are mentally handicapped and working on a ranch in Florida. Ben was orphaned at sixteen and left with a little brother with Down's Syndrome and few options for taking care of him. Now years later, he has populated his ranch with a cast of handicapped workers who need more from him than he does from them.
In the fall, I always get a hankering for Deborah Smith. I don't know why. Maybe it's all those apples in Sweet Hush. Anyway, I thought, "I will just look inside." And I did.
This is the kind of book that you close and lay next to your heart because you want the words to seep in and mix with your blood like some kind of literary IV.
I used to wish I could write like her. I don't anymore. I've learned that a writer shouldn't want to write like anyone else. Voice is personal. Mine may be worse than most and a little better than a few, but it is my own.
And Deborah Smith's is her own. Her characters have such distinct voices, that I am not sure her dialogue even needs tag lines.
A Gentle Rain should be required reading for the world at large. And small.
Have you ever resisted a book that turned out to be a book of your heart?