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Rain Village

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  303 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Young Tessa is a diminutive girl, far too small for farm work and the object of ridicule by both her own family and the other children in their isolated Midwestern community. Her father seems to believe in nothing beyond his crops, certainly not education for his misfit daughter. When a mysterious, entrancing librarian comes to town, full of fabulous stories, earthy wisdom...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Unbridled Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Tessa is considered to be too small to fit in a regular sized world. Her family scorns her inability to pull her weight on their Kansas farm, the people of the small town of Oakley consider her with pity and or ridicule.
One person considers her to be beautiful and fascinating. Mary, the town librarian, herself the object of local scorn or fascination, takes Tessa under her wing. Under Mary's tutelage, Tessa learns to read and write and begins to develop self esteem.
As in all lives,change is t...more
Little Tessa Riley is a tiny, diminutive twelve-year-old girl who barely stands four feet tall. She was born with hands the size of small plums and fingers like star fish. She is far too small to help on the family farm harvesting corn and potatoes. Tessa can’t even hold one large potato with both hands. Her mother, father, sister, and two brothers, all think she is a freak. They call her mean and hurtful names like: munchkin, tramp, and black-haired Jezebel. Her mother forces her to hang from a...more
Aug 13, 2009 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: Booking Mama Blog
Shelves: nypl
Tessa Riley is a young girl growing up on her family's farm in Oakley, Kansas. She has a brother, sister, and parents. But she's no ordinary girl. She's only four feet tall. She is relentlessly teased by the community because of her height. Her family are very straight laced farmers who's sole concern is maintaining the the extent that the children are discouraged from learning (they can't even read) to work on the farm. Tessa is too small for most farm work so she is told to hang from...more
Have been trying to read this for several months, as in started it in December, and it became a mission for me to finish. Enjoyed the circus life descriptions and found the plot intriguing. Appreciated that main character Tessa was naive, but just couldn't like her. Writing was mostly trite and very redundant - same sentences over and over again without advancing the story. Story dragged but then ended with a lot of pieces unexplained (motivation; unfinished characters) a bit confusing since so...more
Serra Belan
I found this to be a book with a great start, then it just dragged on and on. The last 40 pages I skimmed through the dialogue just to get the book over with. I just couldn't like the main character after about half way through the book. If you want a book that describes everything down to the last grain of sand, this is your book. It was just too much detail. I felt like the author was trying to drag out the number of pages in the book. The idea was there, but not a good follow through over all...more
I had to quit reading this book because it got evermore disturbing as I read. There are just some things I don't like to read about and incest is one of them. Call me crazy.

Initially, it had a good plot... could have been quite interesting, but Mary starts getting really slutty, really fast and the main character's story is just SAD.

Another book that could have been, but isn't.
Having enjoyed Godmother, I wanted to give this one a try. Tessa is tiny and unhappy until she meets the bewitching librarian, Mary. With Mary as her employer, teacher, and friend things do improve a bit, especially when she is introduced to the trapeze and the idea of life in the circus. The story does ramble...
I adore Carolyn Turgeon's work. I remembered the first time I picked up Mermaid at Barnes and Nobles. It was as if it had been waiting for me to walk home with it. I knew I had to read Rain Village someday and I finally snagged a copy of it online!

This book is... hmm... peculiar. The plot is shrouded in mystery and even till the end you don't know what truly happened to Mary when she was in Rain Village, and why she took her own life in Oakley. The narration is simple to read but often heavy to...more
Melissa Chung
I give this book 4.5 stars only for being a bit repetitive. Other than that this was a beautifully written story.

Tessa Riley is a 12 year old farm girl when the book starts out. She is from Oakley, Kansas and is a little person.

This is the first book I have ever read that had a little person as its protagonist. Tessa stands 4 feet tall has starfish shaped hands that are the size of plums.

Tessa dreams of being important. To the world, to her anyone. Her mother continuously calls her...more
Apr 15, 2010 Lisa marked it as to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There is a hazy quality to Rain Village that disguises the harsher aspects of Tessa’s world. Everything from her familial relationships to her time at the circus is impressionistic. Readers get the idea of what happens without having to deal with exacting details. It is very much a coping mechanism for Tessa that spills over into the rest of the novel, one that causes the novel to be more picturesque than it really should be given everything that happens to her over the course of her childhood....more
Michelle Richards
This book started for me in the same vein as a Joanna Harris book (who I adore) and I quickly took to it turning each page and soaking up the imagery however I feel the later half of the book let it down somewhat with a rather weak ending (without giving anything away).

Set in the rural midwestern farm community Tessa is a small girl for her age and lives her life feeling invisible unless being tormented by her family and peers. She meets a mysterious woman who runs the local library who is full...more
Brittany Perry
I liked it but I didn't love it. For a first novel it was quite good but as with most writers her later works are much better. What killed this book for me was the ambiguous ending.I mean did she reunite with the circus people and her husband or were they too hurt by what had happened? Other than that it was a wonderful and very beautifully written novel. I loved how fast paced it was.
Danielle Maser
This book took me a couple of starts and stops to read. Eventually I sat down and gave this book a chance and what I came away with is a conflicted feeling. The character of Tessa (the narrator) is sweet though self-deprecating and her view of events is Naive/innocent. The mystery of who Mary really is and what she is hiding is the driving force behind the story but here is where I become dissatisfied with this book.
There is such buildup of this character Mary, even more than the main character...more
Tiffany Day
I did like how she tryed to make something for her self and how she was forever thankful to her Mary( even tho at point it seems she was more obsessed with her than anything else) Tessa tho seemed fickle. she married the first man she ever known really. and then after years of being so happy a stranger shows up and she just leaves with him? even when he told her that he left his wife and child for the journey to Rain Village? and did my nook loose the last chapter or did the book really end with...more
Absolutely LOVED this! A young girl in the rural midwest (early part of the century) is small in size and somewhat rejected by her farm family. She is left to hang from a bar for hours on end with the idea that this will help stretch her bones to grow. When a strange and charming woman comes to town to run the library everyone is a bit enamored, or intimidated. Tessa is intrigued and befriends her, gets herself a job (which her family approves of) and spends time learning about Mary's former lif...more
Absolutely loved this book. It's the kind of read that pulls you in and then when you're done...there's this sort of magic in the air. Like your world just changed after you read it.
I enjoyed this book with its colourful settings of the circus, Mexico, and Rain Village. The pace was gentle and the writing sometimes had repetitive descriptions but I liked the plot and the tie-ins with the stories Mary had told Tessa in Kansas.
This was the second book I have read by Carolyn Turgeon. Once again, I liked it, but I find myself feeling quiet and reflective as I turn the last page. It's not that this story is sad, but it is not happy or even uplifting either. The story is appealing, will keep you turning the pages and reading. I think that the characters jump out of the pages as real live individuals we recognize - at least their thoughts, feelings and actions. I look forward to reading more from Ms Turgeon,and although th...more
I expected this book to have magic in it, or a good dose of fantasy because it's a Turgeon novel. This world is not strictly fantastical, but the story is still a magical read. It's a coming of age story, a tale of triumph over abuse, and of friendship overcoming prejudice. Turgeon writes of the beauty of the soul, the beauty in the strength of the body, and the beauty in searching out dreams no matter how seemingly unattainable. She perfectly painted for me everything from a dingy farmhouse to...more
Oh, this book was so sad! I didn't really know what to think or how to feel. It was sad how Tessa was treated, but I liked that she finally found a friend and family with those that truly loved her. It mad me upset when her first real friend died and it upset me how her mom and siblings treated her because of there father and his opinions. Though once her father dies and her sister finds her they did truly love her, her father was just a mean man, especially the other things he did to Tessa.
Audacia Ray
I read this book in 2006 when it was it first released, and gulped it down in about a day. A lot of fragments of the story stuck with me, and I devoured Carolyn's next two books as well (good, but not stunning like Rain Village).

I found it just as magical and lovely on rereading it, and I will read anything Carolyn writes. In addition to great story and great characters, Rain Village is a beautiful meditation on grief, loss, and wounds that don't heal, but become part of us.

Leslie Fisher
This was truly a gorgeous book to read. The characters, the stories, the settings - everything was just so beautiful. I'm fascinated by circus books, and this book did not disappoint, but there was more to it than that. It was about finding yourself and also that it does no good to dwell in the past. This book was great storytelling. I could imagine everything written. I'm really interested in checking out some of this author's other books.
I hated the third part.
A sweeping story of life, love, misery, hope & hoplessness. Seemingly individual lives intersect and entwine with one another revealing once again the power of humanity. The author tells a tale in which water plays a leading role, it is no surprise that her next book is to be about mermaids. This story held no surprise reveal, but it captured my imagination and did not let go! I will earnestly be contemplating the ending for days.
There was a lot in this book I really loved. I loved Mary, and the relationship between Tessa and Mary, how one person can change another's life so much. I loved the descriptions, the entire time being in the library and when Tessa walked into the circus the first time. This book really made me feel the emotions along with Tessa. I'm glad I ran across this book.
I really enjoyed Godmother but this one could have used a bit more editing. I liked that it was about the circus and that it was descriptive. It could have been bound more tightly and the characters could have had a bit more depth. Turgeon is much better in Godmother. That one is definitely worth the read. Still want to check out Mermaid...
Picked up the book after meeting the author at a Faerie Con; as I read I kept waiting for something to happen; it never did. I found the narrative long winded and heavy, a lot of exposition with little action or dialog. Very disappointing as the basic plot could have been very, very good if handled a bit more delicately.
Well, this book is not my usual read. I tend to go with paranormal and fantasy books. However, I was so drawn in. It was a while ago that I read this so I can't exactly remember all of the characters names but I loved the lady. The beautiful woman with the sad story. It was a very pleasent read.
Darshan Elena
Loved the cover of this book and several of its plot points regarding circus performance. The narrative felt trite at times, and I didn't have affection for the characters who seemed rather hollow. Best part? Learning that there is an emergent genre termed circ-lit.
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Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels: Rain Village (2006), Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story (2009), Mermaid (2011), which is being developed for film by Sony Pictures, the middle-grade The Next Full Moon (2012), and her latest, The Fairest of Them All (2013). She edits Faerie Magazine and teaches fiction writing at the University of Alaska at Anchorage's Low-Residency MFA program.

More about Carolyn Turgeon...
Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story The Fairest of Them All The Next Full Moon Mermaids, a special issue of Faerie Magazine

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