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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  13,845 ratings  ·  1,946 reviews
A romantic historical novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Seeing Red about an independent woman who runs a boarding house in Dust Bowl Texas.

Ella Baron runs her Texas boarding house with the efficiency of a ship’s captain and the grace of a gentlewoman. She cooks, cleans, launders, and cares for her ten-year-old son, Solly, a sweet but challenging child
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,845 ratings  ·  1,946 reviews

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Lady Vigilante (Feifei)
4-4.5 stars!!


I’m a huge Sandra Brown fan, and some of the most memorable romantic suspense books I’ve read are penned by her. Though this book was a departure from her usual storyline, I enjoyed it just the same. It’s refreshing to read a story that’s not just pure romance once in a while, and as a US history lover, this historical fiction read was just what I needed. Whether it’s the nostalgic setting or the lovely romance that takes place, this is a story that will touch hearts, and is probabl
Written April 19, 2015

4 1/2 Stars - Heartbreaking beautiful. A touching story that will stay with me.

I just finished the 7 hours audiobook, perfect narrated by Victor Slezak, and I'm stunned. Completely stunned.. and impressed. The last part was magnificently emotional. I couldn't otherwise than to bump it up to five stars.

Rainwater is maybe not a book in Sandra Brown's (my favorite this spring) most common style. More a historical novel — set in between WWI and WWII— than a suspense romance fr
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
*sigh*, what to say without giving too much away. This was a touching heartfelt little book. You can tell that Sandra wrote with her heart with this one instead of what a contract states she should write. It was a romance, pure and simple, but it was more about the struggles of a woman alone with a child in hard-baked Texas in 1934. It also touches on how children with autism were treated. Racism and bigotry were also brought to the forefront. I won't mention the romance, because it is really so ...more
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was different from other Sandra Brown books I have read. It was a lovely story.

Ella Barron, a single Texas mother, built a careful life running a boarding house in the Depression-era cotton South. But when a mysterious stranger takes a free room, he also takes Ella’s careful life apart.

“Even knowing the ending was sad, I wouldn't have deprived myself the beauty of the story. Would you?"

The subject matter was based on some family history in the author’s life.

She had her l
It was 1934 and the Depression beat at the heart of America. Ella Barron, a mother, was trying to make ends meet while taking in boarders. From dawn to dusk, she was always working. Washing, hanging out clothes to dry, cooking, baking, sweeping, polishing, the list went on and on. And she was always tired.

Her son, Solly, was never far from her thoughts. He was her gift even though he had a brain disorder. The family doctor tried to convince Ella to institutionalize him. In some ways her son had
♡Karlyn P♡
Warning! This book will rip your heart out in a good way. Not a traditional romance but there is a great love story. I cried both happy and sad tears for hours when I finished it. And it was worth it.
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very, very good read!!! I love Sandra Brown, and I've read a lot her books and not until recently did I discover this one, thanks to Mo, it was nothing like any of her books. A lovely and charming story! ...more
Tiffany PSquared
What's up with all the books I'm reading lately? They've all been so depressingly SAD!

This was my first Sandra Brown book (I think), and it didn't endear me to her in any way. Mr. Rainwater comes to stay at Ella's boarding house and she discovers that he's dying. But before he does, he helps her with her autistic son, assists neighbors and friends with some civil unrest in the town, and teaches Ella that love is not always convenient, but it's always worth it.

The book was well-written, and the a
I am so happy I picked up this little-known Sandra Brown gem from the library's April "Rainy Day Reads" shelf. Every month, the librarians assemble a themed book stack, and I like to see what they picked even if I don't check any of them out (yet there's something about a set of not-necessarily-new, slightly worn-looking books being highlighted in a category for a month that makes me want to scoop them all up and take them home, but maybe that's just me...). The very pretty book jacket made me w ...more
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kindle sale today 08/21/2017

Ella : Is the ending sad?
David: Very.
Even knowing the ending was sad, I would not have deprived myself the beauty of the story. Would you?

Set in 1930s (during the great depression), Rainwater is a great example of how a non-HEA romance can be beautifully written in such a way that not only the story made me feel sad but also caused my heart to swell, and filled me with hope in the end.

"This is the first time, as well as the last time, I've loved. And it's perfect, El
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rain. Life-giving. Life-sustaining. It brings relief to sunbaked earth, parched throats, and withered spirits. Sandra Brown’s Rainwater is set in a small Texas town in 1934 amidst the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the heat of racial tension. One day seems much like another. When dark clouds appear, they bring thunder with very little moisture.

Ella Barron toils 24-7 running a boarding house to provide for herself and Solly, her 10-year-old developmentally challenged son. She is a caring, f
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I’ve read absolutely nothing by Sandra Brown. Absolutely. Nothing.

I know she’s a prolific writer with dozens of titles to her name, but those are the writers I usually avoid – serial authors (Patterson, Baldacci, who spew forth a book every 6 months or so. I’m more of a “one book every three years or so-author” reader – I guess I’m kind of a book snob. Not that their literary talent it less than the others, but I like following my own trends.

Under normal circumstances, I probably would no
Dale Harcombe
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The novel opens in an antique shop with a couple admiring a pocket watch that is not for sale. However the owner tells the story which takes the reader then back to 1934, where the town of Gilead is suffering as many others are in The Great Depression. In Gilead, Ella runs a boarding house and cares for her ten year old son, Solly. These days he would be classified as autistic. Back then he is referred to by some as,’ not right in the head.’ Ella struggles with caring for Solly, day to day livin ...more
Julian Lees
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
RAINWATER is a touching story about love and loss. Quite different from your usual Sandra Brown novel. I enjoyed it very much and was particularly drawn to Ella.
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
This was my first Sandra Brown and from what I've heard, Rainwater is quite a departure from her usual writing style. I can't really comment on that, but Sandra Brown's prose in this book is really beautiful and inviting!

My opinion
Rainwater starts at an antique shop run by an old man. Two visitors are quite entranced by the eclectic selection of collectors' delights that meet their eyes. At one point, they notice the pocket watch on the shop owner's wrist, and express their interest to buy it. T
Tracy Walters
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a sweet & endearing little is hard not to love Ella & David, the main characters in this book. The story is based in the depression era & the many difficulties people had to deal with & a small boarding house & it's occupants. It is touching to see how love develops between Ella & David but it also stings the heart when the outcome is not what you would wish to happen........the ending is bittersweet & there is a chance it will bring tears to your did min ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely, breezy breath of fresh air, just what the doctor ordered, which, come to think it, fits the storyline as well. I'd yet to be drawn to this popular author, but this heartwarming historical fiction is thus far her sole departure from her typical genre, and I couldn't keep my nose out of it. What a sweet treat and a perfect title for an April read. ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This romance novel set in the great depression times was so heartfelt and interesting to read about. The romance was sweet but the plot as enough depth that the book had a well balanced medium of the too. One of my favorite Sandra Brown books in recent years
Book Concierge
Book on CD performed by Victor Slezak

In 1934 in central Texas, Ella Barron runs a boardinghouse. She’s a particular woman in the way the cleans and runs her home. She respects the privacy of her tenants and expects the same in return. She is devoted to her only son, 10-year-old Solly, who does not speak and is prone to “fits” or tantrums. Doctor Kincaid introduces her to David Rainwater, the doctor’s distant cousin, who is seeking a quiet, peaceful place for a few months.

This is an interesting
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, favorites
Oh what a great little book. I'd give it a 4.5 for sure if I could. I have never read anything by Sandra Brown, but this is not her usual story style. It's not a very long book, and believe me once you start you won't want to put it down.... ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book hit my feels hard. I enjoyed the development at the beginning, didn't even mind the rushing of the love story. There were things I'd most likely critique in other books but I just enjoyed them here, God knows why. ...more
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In this touching historical novel Ella Barron runs a boarding house in Gilead, Texas. It is 1934, the Great Depression, drought, poverty and people are losing their homes. Life has not been easy for Ella. She has a ten year-old son Solly, who is prone to outbursts and in today's terms would be called autistic. One day the local doctor visits Ella with David Rainwater, who is hoping to rent a room. The thing is Mr. Rainwater is terminally ill, and Ella is not sure that she can handle any more str ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm always tickled when I come across a book that I know nothing about, purchase and read it on a whim and wind up enjoying it a good amount or better, and can then bring it to the attention of others.

"Rainwater" is by Sandra Brown, who, from my understanding writes mostly in the genre of mystery and suspense. This was written between contractual obligations, inspired in part by her father's life during the Depression in the Texas dustbowl.

It is a well, smoothly written, throughly intersting, at
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is nicely written. I stumbled across it and I understand the author is pretty prolific. However, I think the plot is more suited for a novella. It has more meat than a short story...but not enough for a book. It takes place in the south during the depression era. Ella runs a boarding house and has a son Solly who is likely autistic. As expected.....a new boarder appears, a tall, handsome, lanky man names "Rainwater" who is dying of a terminal illness. There is a side plot about the cam ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I usually enjoy Sandra Brown's romantic thrillers, but this story is quite different. Sandra had the idea from a story of how her grandfather stood up to the authorities during the Depression era in the South and gave away his surplus milk rather than pour it down the drain. That isn't what happened in the book, but I was swept up into those hard time in Texas and how racism was rampant and destructive, A quiet but moving story set in 1929 Texas. I think it would make a good movie. ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Audiobook narrated by Victor Slezak

I had decided to pass on Rainwater when it was first published because I'd been warned that it was ultimately a sad story. I'm glad that I gave up trying to resist the wonderful Brown/Slezak pairing. This is a profoundly touching story, reminding us that hard times bring out the worst and the best in us.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I literally lost sleep reading this book I could not put it down. This has got to be the best book that Sandra has written. I cried and cried. If I am wrong recommend me another. I highly recommend this book!!!
Dara S.
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I was going to give this 4 stars, but the last 20 pages bumped it up to 5. I guess, I love what I am affectionately going to call sappy love stories. This the second one I have read in the last month and gave both 5 stars. I wish there was more to the story.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a touching novel of a time gone by. The setting is the small town of Gilead in rural Texas during the great depression and the dust bowl drought of the 1930’s. Ella Barron is a determined and hard working young single mother who runs a boarding house of “high standards” with deep roots in the community. These are hard times for everyone but they are particularly difficult for Ella, not only because financial failure is a daily possibility but in addition, her only child is afflicted with ...more
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
In 1934 Ella Barron owns and operates a boarding house in Gilead, Texas. The depressed economy is affecting many lives and she must keep her boarding house full in order to provide for herself and her mentally ill son, Solly. When the local Dr. asks her if a distant relative of his could rent her one vacant room, she agrees. Her new boarder, David Rainwater, is handsome and intelligent and takes an immediate interest in Solly. As David spends time with Solly day after day, Ella begins to realize ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including STING (2016), FRICTION (2015), MEAN STREAK (2014), DEADLINE(2013), & LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy nove

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