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The Rainwater Secret

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews
“The Rainwater Secret” is a deeply moving, historical fiction novel about a woman who becomes a missionary in Africa after the death of her mother. Single and feeling there is nothing left for her in small-town England, Anna embarks on an adventure as a volunteer with the Medical Missionaries of Mary to teach the leper children in Africa. Life as Anna has known it, is fore ...more
Kindle Edition, 361 pages
Published March 30th 2017
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Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Camille Maio
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was an exceptional and memorable read. Inspired by the true story of the author's aunt as a missionary in Nigeria, it is full of heart, peril, love, and history. I will be recommending this one to many friends. ...more
Mary Manson
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Memoir and Definitely a Worthy Read

This is an absolutely amazing book! Beautifully written and a book I read as fast as I could because I wanted to finish learning about the life of Anna Goodwill. Honestly, I was intrigued by the title of the book but, I am blessed by reading about her lifelong fight to provide medical help and so much more for the people afflicted with leprosy in Africa.
Jenn Z at That's What She's Reading
Set in the 1940s, this was an intensely enlightening and moving look into the life of a young woman who willingly sacrificed any sense of convenience and normalcy to travel with Catholic missionaries into Africa in order to teach in a leper colony. Even more fascinating was the fact that it was largely based on the real life and work of the author's great-aunt, making this a refreshing and inspiring read about a woman choosing to live beyond herself as she tries to make a difference in a world s ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Lepers were destined to a life of seclusion from the rest of the world, yet they longed for human companionship. They rarely touched one another, since they had their own hierarchy. It was like, "I have it so bad, but not as bad as you do," That attitude kept them from touching each other for fear of making it worse. As Anna touched this lady, she appeared overjoyed."

"Another result of the injections was giving the patient the feeling that someone cared about them. Someone was tring to make the
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“There are a lot more tracks I can’t read so I’m still learning, but at least I haven’t seen a hungry lion or an angry elephant. When I have to bathe, the tracks in the mud make my trips down to the river adventurous. Before, I didn’t even blink an eye, or for that matter have a dark thought. Now, I’m stopping every thirty seconds and studying the tracks. It makes my journeys somewhat longer and certainly a bit more stimulating.”

The Rainwater Secret is a story filled with pain, loss, and resilie
Dec 30, 2018 added it
An awesome and enlightening book. Based on the life of a teacher living in England in the 1940's and 50's who travels to remote Africa with a group of missionaries to teach leper children. These babies and children were discarded in fields when they showed signs on leprosy. The author based the book on her great aunt's life - and it kept me on the edge of my chair - just waiting to start the next chapter. I learned so much about leper colonies, and life back in this era. I highly suggest this bo ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun book. it would be a great book club book because it has everything: Excitement, romance, geography, politics, religion, a purpose (treating leprosy before cures were available) engaging characters and a perilous escape. Based on more than one real characters known to the author. The author is available by Zoom for your zoom book club meetings, and has photographs of the land and people involved! Also has the original photo which inspired the cover.

An easy read and a page turner.

Lisa Peterson
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel like I’ve been to Nigeria!

I really enjoyed experiencing Anna’s life as she worked so hard to help build the leper sanctuary. Her ups and downs began to feel personal. I was right there with her! Loved it all!
Pegyy Robinson
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There is a free flowing style to Ms. Shaw's writing that connects you with the characters. I laughed - I cried - I received hope from the truly good people in this book. I highly recommend it. ...more
Sophia Galvin
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Rainwater Secret is an adventurous and moving story about a woman who is willing to sacrifice everything she’s ever known and everyone she’s ever loved to serve the people that the rest of the world has forgotten about. Anna’s love, devotion and loyalty to the mission is immeasurable to anything I have witnessed in my life. This book made me want to hop on a plane and teach children in Nigeria. I love it, I love it, I love it and I recommend it to anyone who loves a good story, a good cry an ...more
Star Cook
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Learned so much about the Leper Colony in Africa run my the medical ministry of Mary. A true tale of courage and hope any beautiful people of Africa.
Debbie C
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story I will never forget!
Peggy Hess Greenawalt
Mar 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story about leprosy and Nigeria based on the true life of Anna Goodwill. It made me smile, laugh, cry, and appreciate the amazing sacrifices of missionaries all over our world. It had me on the edge of my seat as well. I loved this book, and highly recommend it.
Lisa Mitchell
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Rainwater Secret" is the story of an adventurous, brave young woman, Anna, who travels from Ireland to Africa to carve out a life for herself as a teacher in a leper colony. Set in the mid-to-late 20th century, we mourn as she watches a potential suitor marry another. Clench our teeth as she sets sail aboard a rickety ship bound for Nigeria. Then heave a sigh of relief when she finally reaches her destination. After she settles into her life amidst wilds of the jungle, we root for her as sh ...more
Lorilei Gonzales
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I can see this book appealing to the Eat, Pray, Love set, The Rainwater Secret spoke to me on a deeper, maybe even primal level. That might seem strange since the main character, Anna, journeys to the wilds of Africa with Catholic missionaries, and I should probably be affected on some spiritual level. But to be honest, the theme of survival that runs throughout the novel didn't bring up many Biblical allusions to me. Although now that I write that broad statement, I can think of some stor ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. This book was simply wonderful all around. From the moment you pick it up and read, until the time you are on the last page, you simply will not want to put this interesting and attention grabbing book down. The author uses her words, descriptions and all-around narrative to elevate this already fascinating tale of her great aunt's life and takes it to the next level.

Even though this book is historical fiction, the characters felt real to me. There is a part where the Priest goes tho
Lone Star Literary Life
Featured on Lone Star Literary Life and reviewed by the Lone Star Book Blog Tours Blogger Team.
Erin Decker
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Rainwater Secret is a powerful historical fiction novel that reminds us that the world is bigger than ourselves and that we as a humanity need to take care of one another. This story centers around Anna, a young woman in pursuit of a life purpose following World War II. When her beau marries another woman and her mother passes, Anna is left with only her best friend. She is inspired by a young visiting priest's sermon about taking care of the lepers in Africa. Following her instinct she appl ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book by a first time novelist. Monica Shaw does an excellent job chronicling the adventures of a fictionalized version of her great aunt. Set in the 1950s in a Leprosy Settlement, the reader is entertained and educated about the culture, history, and challenges of the time. I thought the book started a bit slow with some background information on the main character (Anna), but once the story gets to Africa it is a real page turner! Would love to see this become a movie.
Pam Chantrell
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
An absolutely fascinating read made all the more amazing because it is based on a relative of the author. I read the book with incredulity that someone could have lived such a full and varied life dealing with adversity, challenge, heartbreak and joy. I read this book slowly because I wanted to savour it all. I was sad when it ended because I was so invested in the life of Anna and her friends. It is very well written in such a way that I remained engaged and interested all of the way through. H ...more
Jennifer Cross
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story of Anna Goodwill is one of courage, faith and determination. It was inspiring, entertaining and at times heartbreaking. It took you deep into the wilds of Africa where a young woman had run away from everything she knew to find everything she would ever need to know inside herself.

From the varied character descriptions to the tightly wound plot, I am so happy to have experienced Anna's story.
Lisa Schatz
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bit tedious

Interesting story but way too detailed. I had no idea it was a fictional representation of a true story until the end. And I have no idea what the relationship of the author was to the main character.
Missy M
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
3.75 enjoyed
Phil Diebel
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Apr 07, 2021
suzanne bodofsky
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Feb 16, 2019
william pless
rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2018
Mary Ruyle
rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2017
rated it it was ok
Apr 07, 2018
Denise Pace
rated it it was amazing
Sep 09, 2020
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2018
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Monica Shaw is a writer in Dallas, Texas. Her debut novel, The Rainwater Secret, started off as a personal research project looking into the life of her great aunt who became a missionary later in life. Shaw is married with 3 children.

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