Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: After the Rain by Renee Carlino

Goodreads Profile 
ARC via publisher in exchange for an honest review
Published November 11, 2014

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.

So here’s a sort of kind of maybe confession that is not really a confession but more a statement of fact: I freaking adore sad books with heartbreak and make me feel something. Those are my favorite. Now, here’s a real confession. It’s something that has never happened to me in all my years of living: this book made me cry before the second chapter. Not just cry. Nope. It was full on body trembling sobs with snot and tissues and coughing and trying to breathe. Ava’s story is one of my worst nightmare and Carlino’s ability to capture the emotions of not only Ava, but everyone else around her as well, was captivating.

“After the Rain” began with love: heart stopping, all consuming, head over boots love. It was Ava and Jake along with the world and their horses in the Rodeo Circuit. God, I want a love like that. Before the accident, Jake worshipped the ground Ava walked on. He would do anything for her, go anywhere for her. After the accident, everything changed. The way it changed is what made me cry. Jake’s story end with suicide after a final goodbye/ I love you / apology.  Five years pass before Ava opens up her heart to emotions other than guilt and fear. Five years.

‘Everything reminds me of you’ has never meant so much.

I love that Nate had issues too. Is that sadistic. I love the letters. I love that Ava was broken and how her story sort of kind of mirrored that of her mother. I love all the minor characters.

So I bet you’re wondering what I didn’t like. Honestly, not much. I love that Ava began to see her late husband’s flaws. I didn’t like her overreaction in this one scene. Yup, that one scene. Overall, I felt like the story development was epic and the characters were scarred and selfish and scared but they still had the capacity for hope and they still liked the sunshine and warm water and horses. That’s what made them them.

They’re what made this contemporary novel worth reading. “Sweet Thing” has been on my shelf for a while. I think I’ll go read it. 

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