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Child of a Rainless Year

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  442 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Art teacher Mira Fenn's life was curiously lacking in color until the day she learned of a mysterious inheritance from her birthmother--a long-abandoned house in New Mexico. Dim childhood memories begin to brighten in Mira's mind--her colorfully exotic mother, the curiously silent women who were her mother's servants.

Returning to New Mexico, Mira discovers that the house
Paperback, 464 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Tor Fantasy (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 04, 2010 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Terri Windling's The Wood Wife
Mira Bogatyr Fenn is fifty-one and unfulfilled, having sublimated her artistic talents for reasons she doesn't quite understand. Her adoptive parents pass away, and Mira finds herself drawn to the Victorian house she inherited from her long-missing birth mother, and realizes there's more to her mother's disappearance than she ever suspected as a child.

In Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold leads the reader into the mystery slowly, letting the weirdness accumulate until Mira can no longer de
May 25, 2011 Karen rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2011 Angela rated it it was ok
This book started off with a bang and really grabbed me. Itbegins with a 9 year old girl living in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Her mother disappears and she is brought to Ohio to live with foster parents under mysterious circumstances. When the story was about her childhood and teenage years it was interesting but once she was in her 50's and went back to Las Vegas to find out what happened to her mother it got very strange.
The book just dragged for about 200 pages. The best parts were the beginning
Nov 12, 2015 Tanya rated it really liked it
Read this book several years ago and thought about it again today. Such a great read!
Meredith Galman
An extremely interesting premise, marred by uneven pacing, clunky dialog, and spotty continuity. The heroine takes an unconscionable amount of time to ask the most basic questions. The character who emerges most clearly is Maybelle Fenn, who's dead.
Jul 21, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
I actually read this book 5 years ago and I still think of it from time to time, which isn't something I can say about most books I've read. There is something about it that lingers with you.
Apr 03, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book, one of the few that survived the Great Book Purge of a few years back and still rests on my shelf.
Sep 13, 2008 Joyce rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-and-f
So the good - great to see fantasy that is not tired Celtic mythology rehashed or the annoying current Vampire craze which seems to be 90% of what passes for fantasy these days.

The disappointing - the story was a wee bit of a letdown.

I really have enjoyed other books by Jane Lindskold. I enjoyed this one too, but not as much as some of the others. It pulled me in at first, and I liked Mira. I think it could have been edited down in some parts. I wish we'd seen more through Maybelle's eyes too as
Miki Garrison
Jul 14, 2009 Miki Garrison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Artists, and fantasy folks who dig regional history
Shelves: my-faves, favorites
It's hard to believe that it took me so long to come across it, but Jane Lindskold's Child of a Rainless Year is the best new book I've read in a long time. I'd read some of her short stories here and there, but none of her novels had jumped out at me from the bookshelf until now.

I'm struggling to put into words exactly what it is that makes the book such a great read. A good part of it is the pacing, I think, as well as just the right balance (for me, at least) between between description and a
Feb 25, 2008 Jeannen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I first saw this book at Queen Anne Books the day I went there to buy “Through the children’s gate”. I already had three books picked out so I didn’t buy this one; I wouldn’t have regretted it if I had. This one I read while I was home sick, and it drew me in so much that I think I read it in one day. The story is told in the first person, which I don’t often like, but I was drawn in immediately. This is a fantasy book – there’s magic in it, centered around an old house in a small town in New Me ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Chavonne rated it really liked it
This was recommended to me by a New Mexican as something to make me even more excited about the region. He was correct. This was a really compelling novel written by a New Mexico author about a woman who returns to the Southwest after the death of her adoptive parents to learn more about the disappearance of her birth mother when she was a young child. It is chock-full of magical realism, symbolism, and evocative imagery of the Southwest. There's also some good education about the history of the ...more
Sep 25, 2015 EL rated it it was amazing
Okay, perhaps this should be 4 or 4.5 stars. But how often do you come across a great fantasy where the protagonist is an intelligent older woman? And when you do, how common is it for the book to focus on the protagonist and how she evolves rather than inserting gratuitous sex so that it can be called an adult novel? So far, I have not run across any other book which does this. In addition, the fantasy portion of the book is seamlessly integrated into the "real" world. Science Fiction has sever ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Riley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awful, reviewed
Although the pacing is too slow in the beginning, and much to fast towards the end, this book still captured and held my interest. Written from the perspective of a recently orphaned 50-year old woman, the story follows her journey back home to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and what she finds utterly shakes her entire perception of herself - and reality. An interesting take on a magical story from the perspective of someone other than a headstrong teen, this book offers a deeper and more layered experi ...more
Betty Newell
Jan 20, 2014 Betty Newell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of mystery and time travel
This book dealt with liminal spaces and time travel. A 9 year old girl, Mira, is left orphaned when her mother disappears suddenly with no trace. She grows up with foster parents who know very little of her background. The trustees of her mother's estate are very secretive about her heritage. With the loss of her foster parents, Mira returns to her roots and discovers the mysteries and talents of her family. This is an intriguing story that does seem to drag at times, but keeps the reader intere ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Judith rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It's magical realism--and it's a story of a middle-aged woman coming to terms with her strange inheritance and unusual gifts. In so many fantasies, the hero is young, perhaps because someone thinks only young people read fantasy. I've been reading it all my life, and am happy when the heroine is someone more like me.
Sep 26, 2011 Jillian rated it really liked it
A fun urban fantasy novel with an intriguing concept. The narrator, mid-50 year-old Mira, is not the usual protagonist for a fantasy novel, but that fact alone makes her story intriguing. Starting from her childhood, Mira talks about her seemingly ordinary life, albeit with a few mysterious twists. The entire plot of the story moves fairly slowly until the last fifty or so pages, but I believe it is all the better for the story. By the time everything is explained with the main mystery of the di ...more
Jun 30, 2009 Liriel27 rated it liked it
Shelves: odd, fantasy
I liked the inclusion of the ideas about liminal space in the magic system of the book, but there were a few loose ends in the plot that are bugging me. Also, the author's research was clearly extensive - but perhaps the readers didn't need as much of it as was included. After a point, I was tempted to just skip the chunks of information in search of the plot.

I was irritated by Mira; her internal dialogue sometimes seems out of character for her backstory/apparent maturity at other times. I did
Dawn Henri
a very self indulgent author I would not likely recommend if not for the other aspects "liminal space" "magic" "colours" etc. couldn't put it down says something here. it's "light reading" therefore eat it up in one go.
Jun 21, 2012 Marya rated it really liked it
Jane Lindskold deals with liminalities. For me so many things fall in those in between spaces. Lindsold brings the beauty out in all those in between spaces. The woman who is not yet old, but no longer young. The house that is falling apart but not yet condemmed. hte land that is not Santa Fe, but not Albuquerque. [return][return][return]Lindskold writes the characters to make them real, to make them flawed but never ugly. The landscape is beutiful, the house is beautiful. She captures what it m ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok
I read this. I remember a lot about the beginning of the book, but cannot for the life of me remember what the stories with the mother, the house, or the ghosts are. So this one was not that memorable I guess.
Mar 05, 2011 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful idea with a compelling backstory. This would have garnered four stars if not for the fact that the book was bogged down in so many places with meaningless detail (for example, we are treated to full listings of every single meal the characters eat) and stair-stepping action (Mira arrives at a real estate agent's office. They agree to go out to lunch, but Mira must use the bathroom first). It became quite tedious. Also, a major plot thread is introduced that calls the love in ...more
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A young woman returns to her birthplace to find her long-lost mother"," and discovers a deeper mystery than she could ever imagine.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
One-sentence summary: Orphan Mira Fenn returns to her native New Mexico after the death of her foster parents, and discovers the house she has inherited holds dark secrets about her birth mother's disappearance.

Why did you get this book?: Requested it via ILL thinking it was something else.

Did you enjoy the book?: Actually, I did. It was far more entertaining that I expected.

Other thoughts?: I'm not sure if I would recommend it -- kind of interesting but also a bit bland. At times I felt like I
Oct 06, 2010 Maren rated it really liked it
This is a bit of a stretch from my usual genre, but I read it on the suggestion of a good friend of mine who has similar tastes in books. While it took awhile to get into - the first hundred pages took a bit for me to get through, and I almost gave up a few times - but I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. At times kind of weird, and often downright creepy (but in a good way), the book is still an incredibly fascinating read and I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever lived in and fallen in ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Tonya rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the characters and how well developed they were. I didn't want to put the good down.
Jun 05, 2007 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: favorites
A beautiful book that quickly became one of my favorites. Set in New Mexico, it's got magical realism, an intriguing mystery, believable and enjoyable characters, history both real and imagined. I love Jane Lindskold's writing and imagination.

When Mira Fenn's adoptive parents die, she returns to New Mexico, to the ornate Victorian house she grew up in and has discovered she inherited. In Mira's search to discover why her mother mysteriously vanished when she was a child, she soon realizes the ho
Dec 19, 2012 Carla rated it liked it
This was a nice read because it took me from the world of YA literature and kind of threw me into real world with a bit of fantasy mixed in. The book is designed to be a fantasy but that part of it doesn't really come in until the end of the book and it's more like a glance at it instead of a full fledged "this is fantasy" book.

I think it was also refreshing to read from an older protagonist's point of view. I saw her through her own eyes, but it was also good because I could make my own judgmen
What a fantastic book! I should not have liked it; it is a fantasy about subjects that would normally turn me off, liminality and the importance of color. I remember thinking how pompous all the talk about liminality was when I was in English class in high school, and the color business can drive me insane. In addition, I do not immediately identify with fifty year old women who have spent their lives hiding their lights under baskets. But I loved, loved, loved this book. It flew by.
May 10, 2007 Pioden rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
"With captivatingly simple eloquence, Lindskold presents Mira's story, culminating in her latter-life discovery that a lifetime fascination with color is the product of her unique heritage. Matter-of-fact, fantastical, and mysterious at the same time, Child of a Rainless Year provokes thought and speculation, drawing us through a threshold into a slightly altered world." That was the blurb I wrote for it to go on a shelf while still working at Schuler, and I still agree with it.
Ms. Jen
May 09, 2007 Ms. Jen rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I found this book when I was looking for a new Mercedes Lackey book at Barnes & Noble and looked down a shelf.

It looked intriguing, so I bought it.

My favorite fiction book that I have read in the last year. New Mexico magic realism meets the the life of a middle aged woman who goes to her hometown to uncover her past. Mira, the heroine, is a very engaging character and the true delight of the book is to watch her bloom in the course of the story.

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Jane Lindskold is the author of more than twenty published novels, including the six volume Firekeeper Saga (beginning with Through Wolf’s Eyes), Child of a Rainless Year (a contemporary fantasy set in Las Vegas, New Mexico), and The Buried Pyramid (an archeological adventure fantasy set in 1880's Egypt).

Lindskold is also the author of the “Breaking the Wall” series, which begins with Thirteen Orp
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