We read The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard (2010) as the first selection for the book club I started at the hospital where I work. (We're up to thirteen members in the e-mail book club now, and just getting started on our second book. I'm so excited!!)
One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-three years since that stormy night when her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody’s three uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents’ ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.
Now Billy Crosby is free, thanks to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father’s innocence. Despite their long history of carefully avoiding each other in such an insular community, Jody and Collin find that they share an exclusive sense of loss.
As Jody revisits old wounds, startling truths emerge about her family’s tragic past. But even through struggle and hardship, she still dares to hope for a better future—and maybe even love.
While drawn to the overall story and Pickard's skill at creating her small-town Kansas world, complete with geography and weather conditions as a character/force in a way that's true of this part of the country, I found my mind wandering in parts. I know you're tired of reading this in my postings, but I truly think a virtual masterpiece could have resulted from the sure, strong hand of an old school editor. Do any of them exist these days? Sigh.
This is a very popular book right now, though, and not just as a selection for book clubs. I won't be terribly surprised if they turn the book into a movie at some point.
However, my suggestion is to read a book I need to revisit, Plainsong by Kent Haruf, instead.
My overall rating of The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a C+.