I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House, NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas
Published by Baker Publishing Group on November 7th 2017
Genres: 20th Century, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Religious, Romance
Source: Bethany House, NetGalley
Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother--and nearly his own life--in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It's 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company.
Larkin Heyward's life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more--maybe moving to the 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 devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together.
When I started reading this book I was on the phone with Kristin (it’s a thing, just embrace it). She hasn’t read it yet and I was so into this story I kept telling her she needed to start it ‘right now’. Just to chapter 7 so we can talk about this thing. Just start it so I can get your opinion on this other thing. She still hasn’t started it yet and I’ve finished it just as enamored by the book’s first sentence as I was the last.
Imagine waking up in the most complete total darkness that you can imagine. So dark that the idea of light becomes foreign. Literally no light, fragments of anything resembling light. So dark you aren’t even sure you are alive. And that shoe you feel touching your head? It’s your own, but it’s still attached to your body. OK, I think I just painted a creepy vibe and this was totally not a creepy vibe. This was a moment of life that changed all the future moments of life. This was surviving a mine cave-in in the coal mines of West Virginia. This was surviving when your baby brother did not. This was healing from injuries that will forever be a reminder of what you lost. And in losing, what you gained.
This book had such interesting and quirky characters. They were true to their roots, who they were, and where they came from. In the healing from some deep hurts comes lightness and laughter. I’m gonna have to spoiler you here for a moment. Larkin is the quintessential spoiled daughter of a wealthy businessman. She’s got a heart that wants to help people, and an ego that has decided it must be the Appalachian Mountains. ‘But Appalachia is such a poor, backwards place. You hear about hillbillies and barefooted children who leave school before the eighth grade – things like that. I want to help.’ The same day she meets Judd she insults his heritage and can’t begin to understand why he won’t help her help ‘his people’. It’s good to know that entitlement was a thing, even in the 50’s. Even in his healing, Judd has an openness to him. An awareness that life is still living and he’s a part of that. He’s not quite ready to jump in the fray but he’s not holding himself back either.
Let’s be honest. They both had some growing up to do. Judd, with his straight arrow way, has to learn to be the man he was meant to be, not the dream of his brother’s that he is chasing in Myrtle Beach. Larkin has to learn that not everyone needs saving. Modern conveniences, like indoor plumbing and gas stoves, don’t fulfill your life. Sometimes the people who need the most help are the ones you don’t go looking for. There’s a lot of smaller stories in the greater story. They all weave together for the betterment of the whole. Reading as characters grow and change, for the better, with a little levity along the way is what makes this book a winner. It’s not a laugh a minute. It’s also not a dreary downer. This book is the perfect balance of finding your place in the world when you didn’t know you needed to find it.