Source: Review copy from publisher
Back Cover Description:
Jude, Toni, Bebe, and Mare make an interesting quad. First joined together as college roommates in the 70s, their memories consist of antiwar protests and tumultuous times--and Rain, the baby Jude bore but whom Bebe loved. Now as Jude, their ever-feminist friend, fades in her fight against cancer, they reunite for a Celebration of Life weekend in Monterey.
But what's to celebrate? Rain, the "new woman" they all helped raise, is now in her thirties and back on her own after her longing for a baby sent her boyfriend packing. And the rest have left their protest-loving days behind--all except Jude.
Award-winning Debbie Fuller Thomas weaves together the feelings of the times and the realities of life in this tale of five women brought together not by fate, but by God. As they grapple with the choices they've made and the consequences that ensued, each woman is forced to examine where her faith lies--and if all they've done can ever be forgiven.
Raising Rain is an excellent contemporary Christian fiction novel.
The characters were interesting, realistic, and varied. The problems they struggled with were complex and realistic. Four of the women were in their late fifties and Rain was in her late thirties. There were some flash backs to their college days in the 1970s. I suspect that women who are dealing with a newly empty nest or fertility issues will enjoy this book the most, though the characters were written well enough that I (who couldn't relate to the specific problems they faced) came to care deeply about them.
I liked the atmosphere of the novel and the nuances of how the characters related to each other. The pacing was a bit slower than is typical of modern novels, but I didn't feel like any particular part dragged or was boring--it was just part of what created the atmosphere.
The author often put off revealing the full reasons behind why certain characters acted the way they did, but either the necessary information was explained soon afterward or enough information was given that I could figure out the general gist reason so that this didn't bother me.
Christianity was an underlying current in this novel. The character's beliefs (whether feminism, their religion or lack or it, etc.) were the motivating forces behind their actions. The novel didn't have a lot of God-talk and I didn't find it preachy, but I suspect many non-Christians wouldn't enjoy this novel due to some of the issues that were raised.
There was no bad language. Sex (including unmarried encounters) was hinted at or referred to, but it wasn't graphic. Overall, I'd highly recommend this novel as well-written, clean reading.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
When Bebe heard that Jude Rasmussen didn't have long to live, she felt a curious mixture of sadness, guilt, and relief. Not exactly normal feelings for a friend of over thirty-five years, though you couldn't exactly describe their relationship as "normal"--more like a thinly veiled hostage situation.
"Her cancer is back," Rain said, gently swirling her coffee. "She didn't want sympathy, so she kept it to herself. I haven't connected with Mom in a while, so it wasn't hard to keep it a secret. William finally made her tell me."
Bebe put her hand on Rain's arm. "I'm sorry, honey. I guess the hysterectomy didn't help much. What can we do?"
Rain glanced up at the line of people snaking around their small table and leaned in toward Bebe. "Well, actually, she had her reasons for giving in to William and agreeing to tell me. I'm here on a mission." She winced.
Bebe leaned in as well. "Go ahead. What is it?"
"She wants to have a Celebration of Life before she dies. Not a memorial--a send-off, she calls it. One last chance to do something significant and she wants us all to help plan it. You, me, the old college roommates. You know Mom. It's got to be something big. I'm not exactly sure what she has in mind, but it sounds...complicated."
Bebe blew out a breath and sat back in her chair. "That's putting it mildly." Then she added, "Oh, I'm sorry, Rain."