Book 16 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from February 16 - 28
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
Summary (via Goodreads)
One beautiful summer afternoon, from her bedroom window on the second floor, Jody Lindner is unnerved to see her three uncles parking their pickups in front of her parents' house - or what she calls her parents' house, even though Jay and Laurie Jo Lindner have been gone almost all of Jody's life. "What is this fearsome thing I see?" the young high school English teacher whispers, mimicking Shakespeare. Polished boots, pressed jeans, fresh white shirts, Stetsons - her uncles' suspiciously clean visiting clothes are a disturbing sign.
The three bring shocking news: The man convicted of murdering Jody's father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-six years since that stormy night when, as baby Jody lay asleep in her crib, her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody's uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents' ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.
Now Billy Crosby has been granted a new trial, thanks in large part to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father's innocence. As Jody lives only a few doors down from the Crosbys, she knows that sooner or later she'll come face-to-face with the man who she believes destroyed her family.
What she doesn't expect are the heated exchanges with Collin. Having grown up practically side by side in this very small town, Jody and Collin have had a long history of carefully avoiding each other's eyes. Now Jody discovers that underneath their antagonism is a shared sense of loss that no one else could possibly understand. As she revisits old wounds, startling revelations compel her to uncover the dangerous truth about her family's tragic past.
Engrossing, lyrical, and suspenseful, The Scent of Rain and Lightning 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. For Jody Lindner, maybe even love.
First, a quibble about the description...Jody was not in her crib, or in the house at all, when her dad was shot. She had already left to spend the night with her grandparents. Also about the description, it sounded like this was going to be a story between Jody and Collin but over half of the book was in the past. It was hard to be invested in backstory that long when I knew what was going to happen.
The last few chapters gave me the relief and resolution I was looking for (I wasn't completely wrong with the prediction I made early on but there were still surprises) but by that point it was too little, too late and had been drawn out for so long, I was over it.
Quote from the Book
"On this particular day, Jody wasn't worried about anything worse than how to ease away from her lover and whether or not she'd prove to be a good high school teacher. And then her uncles walked into her parents' house and reinforced her belief in bad following good as inevitably as the moon chased the sun.
Billy. Crosby. Released from prison. Coming home."