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The Night Rainbow

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,267 ratings  ·  386 reviews
Under the sweltering heat of the summer sun, five-year-old Pea - and her vivid imagination - run wild in the meadows behind her home on the edge of a small village in Southern France.

Pea’s father died in an accident, and now she only has her little sister, Margot, for company. Their mother is too sad to take care of them; she left her happiness in the hospital last year, a
Paperback, USA Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Bloomsbury USA (first published February 14th 2013)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,267 ratings  ·  386 reviews

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Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I put down my copy of The Night Rainbow a few days ago and it is still tugging at my heartstrings. Tugging because inside its pages I met a child whose voice, whose world, whose entire existence was so utterly perfectly realised.

We met in southern France in a blisteringly hot summer when Pea – short for Peony – was just five and a half years old. She spent that summer outside, running wild in the country and in her own imagination, with her little sister, Margot, in tow.

Maman stayed inside. She
No rating causes me as much consternation and angst as the three-star rating. In my time on Goodreads, I've used it to mean everything from 'this was a great concept/something I was really looking forward to, but the execution was quite poor' to 'this was a really good book, but it just lacked something/wasn't essentially my kind of thing'. The Night Rainbow is another should-have-been-3-and-a-half (but I can't quite bring myself to give it 4). Claire King's debut is a thoroughly charming tale, ...more
Deborah Pickstone
A rather charming debut novel that deals with death and childhood sensitively and believably. I will look for more from this author.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The word seems to come out of me all on its own. I think it's strange my mouth would do that. The rest of my head knows she's never there.”

This was something i never read before. I came across this book at a Bookconvention and thought that it would be fun to read from a little girls perspective. Well Pea, short for Peony, is the most smart and beautiful little five year old i have ever read about. We meet Pea in a very troubling time in her life. Her mother is depressed, because of the
Angela M
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
A touching story of sadness , loss , death and grief see through the eyes of five year old Pea will at times break your heart . This is A beautifully written story of how Pea copes with her life and ultimately how kindness eases the pain .
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Claire King's debut novel is an absolute delight with a narrator who will grab your heartstrings and never let go. Set in Southern France, during a blistering hot summer, this is the story of five year old Pea aka Peony aka Pivoine and her younger sister Margot. Their mother has retreated into herself following a miscarriage and the later death of their Papa. Maman is heavily pregnant again but Pea and Margot are left to their own devices, wandering the countryside where they meet up with Claude ...more
TM Upchurch
At five and a half, Pea understands that sometimes babies don't come home from the hospital, fathers die, and mothers need a lot of rest if they are pregnant again -- so Pea makes her own food, tries to tidy the house to cheer up Maman, and takes four-year-old Margot to play and eat peaches in the meadow.
It's the kind of story that makes you want to adopt the main character; to jump through the pages, run in, and make it all right -- but we can only watch as Pea tries to mend her family.
This is
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book made me laugh and cry, something which rarely happens for me..... the writing is lyrical and beautiful, the story is all embracing; impossible to put down, and the twists are subtle and satisfying. Pea, the central character is someone i won't forget in a long, long time. ...more
A.J. Waines
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
It's hard to put into words just how good this book is. I normally read crime and psychological thrillers, so it was refreshing to look at another genre for a change. In a nutshell it is about how a little girl copes with her mother heavily pregnant (and barely capable of scraping a meal together) and an absent (deceased) father. It takes place during a hot summer in rural France and follows Pea as she explores her world, tries to make sense of what is happening and struggles to look after herse ...more
Patrice Hoffman
I can't say I've read any books written from the perspective of a child as young as Five and a half. The Night Rainbow by Claire King provides us with the voice of Pea who lives in the south of France with her younger sister Margot, and her mother. Pea is tasked with helping her mother feel happier after having lost her husband and child in the same year and with helping her sister Margot create new games for them to play in their expansive fields.

Pea and Margot are definitely independant, fun
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
First of all let me just say ... this book made me feel all the feels!
The Night Rainbow is a beautifully written book about 5 year old Pea and her Maman (Mother). After the death of her new born baby and her husband Joanna is in a serious depression, neglecting her daughter and spending all of her time in bed. Pea and Margot look after themselves, spending their days out in the meadow and in the beautiful French countryside. Maman does not feed them properly or bathe them and they are basically
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked The Night Rainbow up from the library on my way out of town without a clue about the subject or author, solely on the recommendation of a relative who wanted to discuss it when our vacations at the same cottage overlapped this summer.

I read this through in one day, beginning to end. It has short chapters, which made it easy to put down when I needed to see to dinner or tuck my daughter into bed. The short chapters also made it easy to sneak one in while tending a pot on the stove or wa
This is an amazing, must read book. It's not my usual genre - which is romance, which I read like crack!

But it is sooooo beautiful. I read this for a real life book group I am part of and I'm so glad my friend picked this as it's very different to anything I've read in a long time.

It is told from five year old Pea's pov and her voice is very strong and real. If you've ever been lonely or unhappy as a child Pea will take you right back there to those feelings.

This book broke my heart but it als
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a haunting story, narrated by a little girl whose pregnant, recently widowed mother is lost in grief. Unique and intense in a quiet way, The Night Rainbow transports the reader back to the thought processes and perceptions of a young child. You see the world through her eyes. I suspect it takes a talented writer to do this, and Claire King has succeeded beautifully! A few colorful characters lend warmth and some humor - a welcome relief to the underlying loneliness. Parts are funny, and ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Claire King's debut novel, The Night Rainbow, is a beautiful book. Set in the French countryside, it is a poignant and gripping story written from the point of view of five-year-old girl whose mother is too grief-stricken to properly care for her. Read full review at Wordhorse. ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great read told from the perspective of 5 year old Pea. Her Maman is heavily pregnant, grieving and suffering with exhaustion. So Pea takes care of herself, goes out to play and tells their story.
There are lovely colourful characters throughout. This book makes you laugh out loud and cry in equal measure.
I could not put it down, it’s delightful.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Night Rainbow, Claire King’s debut novel, has been highly praised by such firmly established novelists as Joanne Harris and Maggie O’Farrell. It has been promised that the book is ‘an unforgettable novel about innocence and experience, grief and compassion and the dangers of an overactive imagination’.

The Night Rainbow is told from the first person perspective of five-year-old Peony, called by the affectionate nickname of Pea. Pea lives on the edge of a small village in the South of France,
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Review originally published 5 July 2018 at Falling Letters.

The Night Rainbow was one of the books that’s been on my TBR the longest. I added it in March 2013. I always get a sense of accomplishment when I knock off one of those pre-2014 TBR books! I read about 10% of The Night Rainbow before bed one evening. I went to sleep not sure if I would stick with it. I finished the rest of it the next day. Even though the first-person narration by a five year old completely differentiates itself from
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
“You should be careful with opening doors to secrets, says Claude. Sometimes secrets are secrets because that's the best way.”

"The Night Rainbow", follows Pea and her little sister, Margot as they spend their days running free, inventing games in the meadow behind their house. But Pea starts to worry, because recently her father has died in an accident, and her mother has just lost a baby. Pea's mother is English so she is already isolated in this small French village and begins to retreat even
Annette S.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Telling a story, especially an adult story, from the point of view of a child is a very difficult thing to get right. Among authors who have been successful in achieving this are Emma Donoghue in Room, John Boyne in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and John Harding in Florence & Giles. With the publication of The Night Rainbow, Claire King joins their ranks.
Pea and her sister Margot live with their English mother in the south of France. Their French father died a few months previously and maman, h
This Review was first published on my blog Lecture toute une Aventure

My opinion:
This is really a sweet and moving story, some parts are a little sad but as a whole it ‘s really a great tales about the children’s resources and their view of the world. It’s was quite magical and I could not avoid to tear a little from time to time especially since I understood early the double meaning but it’s not a book you want to give up once started. You get quickly fond of Pea and you want to see her get he
Karen Mace
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that should have been an extremely upsetting and difficult book to read due to the subject matter - a mother is engulfed in grief after the loss of a baby and her husband in an accident - but this book becomes extremely poignant, magical and heartwarming due to the story being told from the perspective by the daughter Pea. Her innocence and imagination as a 5 year old girl who just wants to make her 'Maman' smile and have happy days is beautifully expressed and has you ...more
Dan (aka Utterbiblio)
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Night Rainbow is a wonderfully involving novel that transports the reader to, not only the meadows of France, but also a life of isolation. Everything about Claire King’s debut is questioning and desolate. The reader is left constantly pondering nuances of the melancholy world and the characters. Each member of the cast is a portrait of sadness. They each hold their burdens, none more so than the central character, Pea.

Claire writes about the missing piece of people’s lives with a sharp accu
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Night Rainbow is a beautifully written tale of childhood wonder told from the perspective of 5-year old Pea, who is living in rural France with her heavily pregnant, widowed mother and her younger sister Margot. Pea's mother has become reclusive and sleeps all the time, with little time for the two girls, and so they make it their challenge to "make Maman happy again". Whilst stories written from the perspective of a child can sometimes be hit or miss, the tone in this story is spot-on, it i ...more
Alice Lippart
A lovely book that's well written. In points quite moving as well, and sometimes it has something special about it, but not always. To me it also felt like the middle part was a bit long and the ending a bit short, but otherwise a good read. ...more
Pea and Margot are lonely. Their beloved Papa has died in a tragic accident, and Maman is exhausted with grief and with the extra exertion that comes in a woman’s final few months of pregnancy. The girls do everything possible to help their mother – stay out of the house, clean up, make meals, and take care of themselves while Maman sleeps – but her despair seems to grow. Rescue from their own growing despondency comes in the form of a mysterious man. He looks scary but is not and soon provides ...more
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You can't mend everything that gets broken."
Its one of the best birthday present I could ever ask for. Some books make your heart open in such a way you didn't know was possible. The Night Rainbow is a very special book. Pea is a character you'll get attached to very easily. I fell in love with the author's writing style.
To read from a child's perspective changes the way you think and feel.

Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“We stand in the courtyard and wonder where we will go today, although the answer has been the same for two summers, one winter and a birthday. Our choosing began when Maman came back from hospital last year. She had changed from fat to thin, but she didn’t bring back a baby like she promised. She left it at the hospital, along with her happiness”.

This is a beautifully written and poignant story and I totally fell in love with Pea. When the story begins we are introduced to the narrator, 5 year
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
"This all began when Maman came back from hospital last summer, but she didn't bring back a baby like she promised, she left it at the hospital, along with her happiness"

This is the beginning of the story of The Night Rainbow, narrated by five-year-old Pea who is accompanied by her little sister Margot. The girls live in an old, shabby farmhouse in rural France with their mother. Maman is doubly grief-stricken, mourning both her lost baby and Pea's Papa who died in an accident. Heavily pregnant
This book was the most recent Book Buddy Box book and I hadn't heard of it before receiving it for my box. I definitely think this has some wonderful elements to it, but for me it felt a little bit predictable and also a bit longer than necessary. I think this would have been an excellent novella, but as a novel it did stretch on for a bit longer than I really felt necessary.

As always, with the BookBuddyBox books, this book had added annotations from Elena with her thoughts and ideas on the sto
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Verbeelding Bookclub: Augustus boek 7 73 Sep 01, 2015 02:51AM  
What's the Name o...: Two sisters, set in France, mother lost a baby, father died... [s] 5 40 May 19, 2014 02:54AM  
Duplicate entry under wrong author. 2 16 Jul 31, 2013 07:20AM  

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Claire King's debut novel, The Night Rainbow, was met with critical acclaim.

Her prize winning short fiction has been published online and in print including The New Scientist, The Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology and Writers Forum magazine.

She lives with her family in the Cotswolds.

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