Sandra Brown’s Rainwater


Rainwater by Sandra Brown | LibraryThing

Brown, S. (2009). Rainwater. New York: Simon & Schuster. 9781439172773

Reasons for Reading : I sought a quick read and noticed a copy of Sandra Brown’s Rainwater setting on the shelf. Seeing the book reminded me that someone had recommended this as something different written by Sandra Brown. So, I checked it out from HCPL.

Summary : An older proprietor of Solly’s, an antiques store out in the middle of Nowhere, Texas receives a visit from well-to-do customers on their way back to Oklahoma. The wife asks the proprietor about the cost of his handsome pocket watch. The proprietor shakes his head and says it’s not for sale. The peculiarity of the name Solly leads the proprietor to tell the story of how the store came to be.

Back in 1934, Ella Barron runs a boardinghouse she inherited from her late parents. She rears her son Solly, a young boy like no other.  Ella works hard and does her best to ignore pitying glances. Things aren’t going well for the town as government slaughters cattle and leaves them for dead in order to drive up prices. Then, the town doctor brings his enigmatic cousin, David Rainwater, to the doorstep of Ella’s boardinghouse. Now, a woman who wishes not for charity has to make room for Rainwater as he is the only one who can work with Solly. Rainwater also turns narrow-minded town bullies on their heads. Ella’s existence of order and chores turns as she comes to life.

What I Liked : I liked the change of pace for Brown. While Brown doesn’t neglect her textured character studies and rich dialogue of her thrillers, Rainwater is not what I’d call a thriller. It’s historical fiction; it’s romantic. Some may call it a gentle read, even. I appreciated the tenderness the author extended to Solly, a child with autism but without a climate to accommodate him. I identified especially with the story line of the cattle slaughter as I had heard about it.

What I Disliked : I only wish Brown would write a few more along these lines. Yes, I enjoy thrill rides but I like leisurely strolls, too.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song : Sam Cooke – Summer time (w/ Lyrics)

Setting  : Texas

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Sandra Brown’s Lethal


Lethal by Sandra Brown | LibraryThing

Brown, S., Slezak, V., & Hachette Audio (Firm). (2011). Lethal. New York: Hachette Audio. 9781609419172

Reasons for Reading : Since I’ve gotten back into the habit of reading Sandra Brown books, I requested her latest through HCPL. I read both the hardcover and audiobook version of Lethal.

Summary : Widow Honor Gillette lives with her four year old daughter, Emily, on a remote property outside a small Louisiana town. When Emily tells Honor there’s a sick man in their yard, Honor goes out to offer aid to the ill man, she discovers Lee Coburn. Coburn is on the run under the suspicion of killing seven people the previous night. He swears to Honor that she and Emily will not be hurt provided that Honor does as Coburn tells her. Beyond this point, Honor questions the trustworthiness of all in her life.

Review : Before I delve into the negatives, let me mention a few things I truly appreciated in this book. 1) Brown notes at the end of the novel that much of the action involved cell phones. I enjoyed what she expressed about this and since it’s post-novel, I’m not saying anymore. 2) Not always, but often, Brown spoke of her characters “cursing profusely” (Brown, 2011) rather than reveal what choice words characters employed. 3) Brown shines when it comes to dialogue. I believe she has an ear for it.

However, this wasn’t my favorite Sandra Brown book. She had some really nasty characters in Lethal. Also, I found some of the answers to the mysteries with rather unlikely. Lastly, the following comment isn’t about Brown but rather about the narrator. This guy didn’t read the female dialogue in falsetto but I dreaded each time little Emily spoke. He shouldn’t ever do child voices.  

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song : Creedence Clearwater Revival – Born On The Bayou – YouTube

Setting  : Louisiana

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Elin Hilderbrand’s Silver Girl


Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand | LibraryThing

Hilderbrand, E. (2011). Silver girl: A novel. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316099660

While in England, my roommate gave me a book she just finished. It was Silver Girl. This was the first book I’ve ready by Elin Hilderbrand.

Hilderbrand relates a story of two estranged friends in addition to a tale of a Ponzi schemer. The author gives us two perspectives – that one of Meredith Martin Delinn, the wife of the “Bernie Madoff” character – Freddy Delinn, and her childhood friend Constance “Connie” O’Brien Flute. Forty-nine year old Meredith has lost it all thanks to Freddy cheating rich people out of loads of money. Nobody wants to associate with Meredith and she can’t talk to her grown sons because they’re also implicated in her husband’s crime. Connie’s got problems of her own in addition to the rift between her and Meredith. Then, Connie calls Meredith and the two head out to Nantucket for the summer. Here, Meredith and Connie make way for reconciliation as well as ghosts from the past. Meredith also has to face her old boyfriend, Toby O’Brien, Connie’s brother. 

I found Silver Girl easy to read and the characters realistic. I liked that Hilderbrand offered a point of view such as Meredith’s. Also, I liked that the title was a reference to a song by one of my all-time favorite music acts. I wanted to know more about Connie, though. Also, I was annoyed by how the author stated the characters’ full names. For example:

“The ring had been inherited from her grandmother, Annabeth Martin, and not bought with dirty money.”

“And the way that Meredith knew that Veronica O’Brien drank was because her own parents talked about it. . .

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water Original Version‬‏ – YouTube

Setting :  New York City, Nantucket

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Sandra Brown’s Smoke Screen


Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown | LibraryThing

Brown, S. (2008). Smoke screen. Waterville, Me: Thorndike Press. 9781410405630

When I desperately needed a book, I spied a Sandra Brown book on the large print shelf at HCPL – one I hadn’t read. So, I took the book home and read it within days.

Charleston, South Carolina broadcast journalist Britt Shelley wakes up in bed with the dead body of police detective Jay Burgess. Britt doesn’t remember how she got there or how Jay died. While recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, Britt looks suspect.   

Just five years ago, Jay’s former best friend, ex-fireman Raley Gannon, experienced something similar, waking up next to a dead party girl after one of Jay’s wild parties. At the time, Raley was investigating the big fire at the police headquarters. This fire resulted in seven deaths even though Jay and three others heroically saved many. Britt and Raley team up to investigate what really happened with the fire. They also seek vindication.

While I’ve read many Sandra Brown books, Smoke Screen is the first one I’ve reviewed. She bundles explosive chemistry between Britt and Raley with sleuthing. I continue to read Brown’s books due to excellent dialogue, characterization, and description. Smoke Screen meets this criteria. I liked this novel better than a few others by Brown simply because she offered up not one but two characters seeking exoneration. She’s wickedly good at conjuring the thoughts of some rather icky characters and I was relieved Smoke Screen wasn’t one of those – see Unspeakable or Fat Tuesday for these nasty villains.

This wasn’t my favorite Brown book but I didn’t feel I wasted my time reading it. I saw that it was made into a Lifetime Movie. Maybe I’ll see it at some point.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: YouTube – ‪Deep Purple – Smoke On The Water w/ lyrics‬‏

Places : Charleston, South Carolina

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