by Karen White

April 2003
ISBN: 0-821-77339-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Ms. White takes us back to Walton, Georgia, where everyone knows everybody and everyone cares for each other. A town that rallies around each other when they are sick or in trouble - and trouble it seems is what brings the Warner family together.

Joe Warner lost his wife to cancer over three years ago. He is trying to raise six children from the age of 17 down to 3 years old. He has help from Aunt Lucinda but she is away for two weeks, and during that time, his life just seems to fall to the wayside, including the laundry for the kids and him. But when Joe goes to pick up Lucinda from the bus stop, not only does Lucinda get off the bus but so does another female, Suzanne. Let's just say that their first meeting is not even remotely polite or nice. Imagine six kids running around a little store, one wearing a diaper, cowboy boots and a shirt and two other kids trying to catch him, when a lady says “Don't they have leash laws in this state?” Needless to say, I laughed out loud at that. Plus a later comment from one of the kids had me laughing so hard.

Suzanne “Paris” stepped off the bus in Walton. She felt the pull of this little town tugging at her so she got off. The only thing was she didn't know there are no cabs or hotels within the 30 mile radius. So she sets out on foot to find a place to stay - only Lucinda would not let Joe just let Suzanne walk away. Suzanne grudgingly accepts the ride that will take her to a place that she has only dreamed about - to live in a house with a picket fence.

Suzanne is hiding from her most recent past and doesn't want to get involved with anyone. She knows she will leave, as she has never stayed in one place for long, and doesn't see Walton being any different. Only things do not work out that way; being a professional photographer, she ends up helping Maddie, Joe’s oldest, with all she knows about photography.

Suzanne wears a necklace around her neck that her mother gave her, with the inscription that says, “A life without rain is like the sun without shade.” The inscription seems to be like her life. It is always raining and she is waiting for the sun to come out and play. She knows once the sun comes out, she will see the rainbow and her dreams will be coming her way. Those dreams include one Joe Warner, whom she has fallen head over heels in love with. But she lets her past get in her way, thinking it will hurt Joe in his campaign for re-election for Mayor.

Ms. White was able to bring the life of the residents of Walton right to me. I could see the houses, the people, and the events that lead up the climax of the story. Let’s just say that the family tradition started by Cassie, Maddies' aunt, now lives through Maddie, and she brings her own imagination to the cause. And what a cause it was too!

Don't miss After The Rain. If you missed Falling Home you need to go buy it and read it then read After The Rain. You can read them independently but you will get a much better feel for Ms. White's talent as she weaves her tale of Walton, including the residents and their lives by reading both of them. Don't let these books slip by you; if you do you might regret it.

Reviewed in March 2003 by Pam.

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