I am so excited to share with you today about a brand new release from Bethany House Publishers! This sweet novel shares a beautiful story of two young people who begin to seek God's will for their lives and futures, while falling in love and learning the value of family, friendships and faith.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own. Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.
"In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water, In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through. Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more--maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there--until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.
Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together--or maybe, it will take a miracle." - Synopsis from the Sound of Rain
★★★★ Book Number 47/50 | This lovely book is near and dear to my heart for many reasons. First, I live in the Appalachian mountains and have vacationed in Myrtle Beach so I easily identified with the characters and the locations set in this story. In addition, I have experienced several hurricanes and their aftermath firsthand during my years growing up. The Sound of Rain beautifully ties tragedy, young love and personal growth together in a sweetly woven story that takes place between the mountains, the ocean and the hearts of two yearning people.
I loved the easy flow of this story... It was soft and touching with many author-induced smiles along the way, especially when referencing the humidity of South Carolina versus the cooler air of the mountains. I appreciated how Judd wanted to carry on his deceased younger brother's memory while courageously embarking on a new path and welcoming change. The author created a character whom we can all fall in love with as a man of integrity, grit and perhaps even a quiet passion. As for Larkin, I enjoyed seeing her pursue the repairing of a relationship between her family members. In her pursuit, she becomes the main tie in connecting her family and helping them grow back together. The author beautifully portrayed Larkin as a delightful caring, willing spirit who should be an inspiration to us all.
Amidst all the glory of this tender story, a massive hurricane and quite possibly one of the largest of it's decade, makes landfall in the heart of this book. While I do believe the author accurately described the historic details of the storm, I wondered where the fear of such an intense storm was. Oftentimes, witnessing howling winds shake the very walls of your home while weathering a category 4 storm is quite unbelievable. The aftermath of such is a state of disarray; so much so that life doesn't easily resume, especially without power, aid from neighbors and the accessibility to roads, food and stores. I am certain, however, that the author merely included this historic storm as a way to draw her characters together and give them a deeper connection while using the event as a bridge for the rest of the book's plot, rather than as a show stopping experience like this hurricane most likely was for life at that time.
As the story continues to unfold after the storm, readers begin to soul search along with the characters and learn that God has a way of honoring our dreams and changing our hearts to see His dream for our lives. That was, perhaps, my favorite part of this book and a beautiful thought to absorb.
For readers who enjoy historic fiction and the 1950's era particularly, I know you'll love this book! You'll not only fall in love the characters, but you'll find yourself enjoying a look back in time at coal mining, beach trips to the oceanfront and a well-researched peek into timbering the land and the U.S. Forestry division.
I gave this story four stars because I eagerly looked forward to every moment I could spend in this book and it truly was a heartwarming story with a beautiful, underlying message. The book was so well written and it flowed naturally, and easily. In addition, I just have to add that the cover with it's gold foiled raindrops, is simply stunning!
Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Sound of Rain on Amazon or borrow it from your local library.
Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below!