The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard captures the essence of small-town America—its heartfelt intimacy and its darkest secrets—where through struggle and hardship people still dare to hope for a better future. When she was just three years old, Jody Linder lost both parents in one night, when her father, Hugh Jay—eldest son of the wealthiest rancher in the small town of Rose, Kansas—was killed and her mother, Laurie, vanished. Jody was raised by her grandparents, Hugh Senior and Annabelle Linder, and with loving support from three uncles. Pickard writes vividly of ranch life and includes lots of details, possibly meant to distract one from quickly solving the “mystery” part of the story. I really didn’t see the ending coming but by then I didn’t particularly care. For me, Jody was not a very sympathetic character and the best part of the book was the title.
Acclaimed novelist and nationally recognized family expert Lynne Griffin returns with Sea Escape—a story inspired by the author’s family letters about the ties that bind mothers and daughters. Laura Martinez is wedged in the middle place as so many of us are these days. She is grappling with her busy life as a nurse, wife, and devoted mom to her two young children when her estranged mother, Helen, suffers a devastating stroke. Secrets from long ago threaten to keep the women apart until Laura finds the love letters her father wrote to her mother while he was serving in Vietnam. It turns out that the women weren’t the only ones with a secret.