Books Magazine

Fiction Fridays-The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

By Shawndrarussell
I am a sucker for good titles...and this one grabbed me for the vivid imagery that just those six little words together creates. Then you throw in the instant thematic connection that water and storms have for rebirth and renewal, and I had to read this book. I am so glad I did because Pickard truly wrote a beautiful, heartbreaking novel that initially reads like it will just be a family saga and quickly develops into a twisting, disturbing mystery and crime thriller. I do not gravitate toward crime-focused literature, but this novel is written in such a poetic way and with so much emotion that you can't help but empathize with all of the victims that have been lied to for nearly 25 years.
The main character Jody's world is turned upside down in the first chapter, just as she is finishing a romp with her current love interest. Thinking that the novel would mostly be about their relationship (he wanted more, he works for her family, she uses him for companionship and sex, but doesn't love him), it quickly escalates into a "whodunit" mystery with nearly everyone Jody has ever known and loved serving as a suspect for the murder of her parents that she thought was a sealed-and-shut case way back when that reopens when the man convicted is finally released early from jail.
Pickard examines human nature and the impossibility of a perfect person or perfectly lived life by showing the good people do bad things (good little Jody having a secret lover, her seemingly womanizing uncle Chase actually having a heart of gold) and bad people occassionally do good things. The layering that Pickard creates for each character no matter how minor they are makes this small town, powerful family at the heart of the storyline appear as both heroes and tyrants or bullies and best friends to the rest of their hometown. You will be shocked by the ending and the relationship between beauty and tragedy that can draw people together or force them apart forever.
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*4.5/5 stars*

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