RAINSHADOW ROAD (Friday Harbor #2) by Lisa Kleypas
Trade Paperback, 308 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: contemporary romance novel, fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
This is the review of an Advance Reader EditionI have received through Goodreads First Reads.
I am a huge fan of LK historical romance novels: some of them are actually my all-time favorite in this genre. Rainshadow Road is my first LK contemporary novel so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, except for her “trademarks”: the smooth and flawless narration, the incredibly accurate descriptive style, the fully nuanced characters, the heart-wrenching plots, the well-portrayed family dynamics, the perfect balance between sensuality and emotional connection. Rainshadow Road features them all as a further proof that Ms. Kleypas is a great story teller and a consistently good writer. This is what I love about her writing, it never disappoints me, never lets me down.
In my opinion this contemporary novel doesn’t top her historical gems (see Devil In Winter, Again The Magic or Where Dreams Begin), but still, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I found it very pleasant and heartwarming. And, as it usually happens with her books, LK has the ability to get you into it since the very first pages, no dull moments or superfluous dialogues. I started reading and in no time I found myself halfway into the book and it all went down smoothly like one of those glasses of wine the characters happen to drink here and there.
What I loved the most about RR is the choice of topics LK made: the heart-wrenching experience of being cheated on and abandoned, the betrayal within your own family ( by the way, Lucy’s and Sam’s are both dysfunctional families), the difficult childhood and the emotional issues caused by abusive and alcoholic parents, unexpected love after a heartbreak. Everything sounds so real and it makes you look back into your own life.
The characters (you’ve got to love Lucy’s overzealous/super-sweet friends Zoe and Justine, the Bikers, Sam and his brothers, even troubled Alan) are never a flat imitation of life. As for the male hero, Kleypas did it again…there’s more to Sam than meets the eye. Under the armor he built around himself, underneath the surface of his handsome looks, lay hidden depths and extreme vulnerability that make him even more appealing and interesting. Layer after layer, you will get to know the abused kid with no family structure except for a wonderful and loving couple leaving next door, the geek bullied in school, the math genius, the nurturing soul of a vine grower, awesome uncle and, despite himself, generous lover.
Another great thing about the book: the sensuality, always steamy without being blunt and obvious, never off-key or awkward, always emotionally charged, is the natural result of an emotional connection that builds up page after page, telling sign of that love Sam and Lucy are so afraid to admit feeling for each other.
As far as regards the magic element, I really don’t know what to make of it and where to place it. I think I would have liked RR even without it, because I believe it not to be essential to the development of the events or to the depiction of the characters’ personality. There is already a magical aspect in Lucy’s and Sam’s talents (she’s a great glass artist and he is a vine grower in deep connection with Nature), and this is enough to portray Lucy and Sam as special and unique human beings. Not to mention the magic and the healing power that a new wonderful love can bring to wounded souls like theirs. That’s the real magic.
I would love to see more of the Nolan family and their emotional issues (Alan’s addiction to alcohol, most of all), their need for the healing power of love, the renovation of Sam’s beautiful Victorian house as a way to restore a reassuring family structure that was always missing as the Nolan brothers grew up.
Looking forward to the sequel, Dream Lake.