I don't very often emote when I read. The last time I can remember openly crying during a book is on a plane with my son beside me wondering why mommy was a blubbering mess. Last night I finished Rain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard, nominated for The Silver Birch Award®. It didn't take me long to read, but I was on the verge of tears and at times crying through it's entirety. I'm not trying to be dramatic. It's that sad. What's the correlation between the two crying incidents? The book on the plane was another Valerie Sherrard book, The Glory Wind. Clearly this author has my number.
In Rain Shadow I literally felt like Bethany. Yes, yes, we often feel for our characters. Remember my earlier speech - if you aren't connecting to the book/characters, you either don't like it or you are daydreaming...blah blah blah. This time I really really was immersed into the story. I was sad, devastated, horrified and mad for Bethany. I wanted to yell at the characters who mistreated her, dismissed her, blamed her - what right do they have to make her feel that way when she was clearly hurting all on her own? I can't remember a time recently when I've felt so moved by what was happening to a character. My character. Bravo, Valerie Sherrard. You've done it again. I've been moved.
I also enjoyed the descriptions that Bethany uses in the beginning and how they take you through the entire book. I even went back to them when I finished to go over them again. i.never.do.that.
Her sister told her she was a jewel and Bethany was a stone:
The truth is, I do not mind the idea of being a stone ... Jewels are
nice with their colour and shine. But I think stones are
more interesting. Holding a stone can make you feel peaceful and
calm. Some stones are mysterious, with lines and drawings in them.
It is a mistake to ever think a stone is not worth looking at.
Then her classmate Luke makes reference to a rain shadow:
...the plants that grow on the rain shadow side are actually
stronger than the ones that get lots of rain...They have to
try harder to make it. These plants never give up...They're
strong and brave, like you.
We all should aspire to be stones and rain shadows. A great read!