Publish Date: Out now
Publisher: Pink Kayak Press
How I got this book: ARC from the authors
BP NOTE: Earlier this month we had a guest post by Ruthie Knox one of the contributors to the Summer Rain anthology. Once again this particular charity anthology is near and dear to my heart so I will just provide general thoughts on each contribution. In addition because I support this cause I am going to give away at least one copy to any location I can gift it via Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Details at the end of this review.
What happens when love gets caught in the rain?
In this romance anthology, RITA-Award winning author Molly O’Keefe shows us the power of a city thunderstorm from the top of a skyscraper, while Amy Jo Cousins soaks us in a rain in Spain. New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox’s heroine is devastated by a winter storm, while a summer thunderstorm grants Alexandra Haughton’s hero and heroine a second chance at love. Rain sparks self-awareness in the robot in Charlotte Stein’s story and allows Mary Ann Rivers’s heroine to fall in love with her hero and her own art. Rain causes romance between the college students in Audra North’s and Shari Slade’s stories, while romance causes rain in Cecilia Tan’s myth-inspired tale of a sacrifice to a demi-god. Nine romance novelettes, edited by Sarah Frantz.
All proceeds from the volume will be donated to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.
This blurb came from Goodreads.
Redemption by Ruthie Knox: This story struck me as two people whose dreams have almost entirely been snuffed under life’s weight and a series of unfortunate circumstances. Any one of which would have been recoverable from but one after the other created a no-win situation. And yet there was a glimmer of hope at first from just physical contact but then the possibility of more. So while this might not have felt like a traditional romance I finished the story on a positive feeling.
The Heart of It by Molly O’Keefe: O’Keefe took two seriously wounded people and gave them a chance. My heart about broke as I realized how much their childhood had ruined any real sense of comfort with intimacy even with a support structure. I absolutely loved how even once a certain barrier was down change/growth/healing didn’t happen immediately but slowly with introspection. And at the end again that hope/chance for happiness with another person.
Sacrifice by Celia Tan: This was such a great twist on the sacrificial maiden trope. This really spoke to the mindset of people who were willing to sacrifice one of their own and the price it took on the people, the sacrificial one, and on the one receiving the sacrifice. I loved how action spoke so much louder than words and really fleshed out the “rest of the story”.
Real Feelings by Charlotte Stein: This is really for anyone who grew up with Asimov’s Laws of Robotics and ever wondered if robots/androids could/would ever feel. I don’t usually notice POV and remember it but this was in 1st Person and I think it made all the positive difference. I was able to believe in the growth of both characters and see why the android turned out the way he did.
Rainy Season by Mary Ann Rivers: There are some people that I view as a well. And they are able to keep giving from that well to others but eventually the well runs dry if no one gives back. River’s heroine seemed to be that type of person whose constant giving had sapped her well of creativity until one walk in the rain with a man who gave just by asking. Seeing the impact of conversation, questions, a different perspective, and almost a reassurance that it is ok to let go brought color back to life. I thought this was sweet, almost innocent in a way yet contained so much symbology.
The Rain in Spain by Amy Jo Cousins: Order and structure vs wandering and whimsical. Strong family ties vs abandonment. Fear of holding too tightly vs fear of being let go. All brought together by an irresistible love. I was so worried about this couple. They seemed such opposites but they had such depth of feeling for each other and what they had found. I loved how things ended up working out and the line about being still so the butterfly felt safe to light. **sigh**
Fitting In by Audra North: This story was really like a gut punch but in a very good way. As the forward said it was all about shame, choice, and society’s reaction towards an individual who doesn’t meet the expectation of feeling shame in certain situations. I loved how this was primarily from the hero’s perspective but not entirely because it made the thoughts and emotional hits all the more powerful. And yet again at the end, there was hope, relief, and happiness even knowing things weren’t perfect.
Private Study by Shari Slade: Yet another moving story. In some ways I think this heroine was probably the strongest one in this anthology because she was enough to try to learn about herself, sexuality, and its pull in a medium up for public consumption. I loved how she decided that she was going to keep going and not let the arseholes of the world stop her forward progress. I also liked the twist on outer perception vs inner reality. And the grovel at the end made me cheer!
Storm Warning by Alexandra Haughton: Oh, the power words from those we love can have. Sometimes their words give us the strength to keep going and accomplish miracles while other times their words result in a never completely healing wound. This story was about healing that would, and getting a second chance at what might have been if certain words were left unsaid. I loved how the weather played a key role in forcing the discussion instead of letting the problem continue to fester. And it was very good to see an earnest apology.
BP NOTE: I think this has been one of the strongest anthologies I have read in a long time. While I didn’t grade any of the stories, I took something away from each of them regardless of how unsettling some of the topics raised might have been. Once again I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their generosity of spirit. As I said at the beginning of this review, I am going to give away at least one copy of this anthology. To enter leave a comment about something you do for other people because you care. Open anywhere I can gift the book via Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Winner(s) will be announced Wed 9 Jul. Good luck!