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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 whose busy behavior and failure to speak elicits undesired advice from others in town. Ella’s plate is full from sunup to sundown. When a room in her boarding house opens up, the respected town doctor brings Ella a new boarder―the handsome and gallant Mr. David Rainwater—but Ella is immediately resistant to opening up her home to this mysterious stranger.

Even with assurances that Mr. Rainwater is a man of impeccable character, a former cotton broker and a victim of the Great Depression, Ella stiffens at the thought of taking him in. Dr. Kincaid tells Ella in confidence that Mr. Rainwater won’t require the room for long: he is dying. Begrudgingly, Ella accepts Mr. Rainwater’s application to board, but she knows that something is happening; she is being swept along by an unusual series of events. Soon, this strong-minded, independent woman will realize that the living that she has eked out for herself in the small bubble of her town is about to change, whether she likes it or not...

Racial tensions, the financial strain of livelihoods in cotton drying up into dust, and the threat of political instability swirl together into a tornado on the horizon. One thing is certain: the winds of change are blowing all over Texas—and through the cracks in the life that Ella Barron has painstakingly built. This is the story of a woman who takes her life’s circumstances in both hands, but who will be forced to reckon with the chaos of her historical circumstances..

247 pages, Hardcover

First published November 3, 2009

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About the author

Sandra Brown

290 books16.7k followers
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 novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

In 2009 Brown detoured from romantic suspense to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving historical fiction story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,186 reviews
Profile Image for Lady Vigilante (Feifei).
632 reviews2,674 followers
February 14, 2015
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 probably one of the most moving books I’ve ever read.

“Is the ending sad?

In a low voice he said, “Even knowing the ending was said, I wouldn’t have deprived myself the beauty of the story.”

Set in the era of the Great Depression in a small town where corruption was prevalent, job opportunities scarce, and racial tensions high, young widow Ella Barron runs a well-known boarding house to support herself and her challenging son. She’s strong, level-headed, and independent, and her past experiences have only fortified her heart. On a day just like any other, she accepts a new boarder at her house, a Mr. David Rainwater, and he starts to shake up her life from the start. From working with her son Solly to helping out with chores around the house, David picks apart Ella’s walls one by one, but there is a catch, something that’s revealed from the very beginning: David is dying from an incurable illness.

“...I don’t want to cause you one moment of heartache. Ever.”
Peering deeply into his eyes, she said hoarsely, “You will.”

I’m always wary of books that have a dying/dead character to have overly preachy writing, but thankfully, none of that was in this book. In fact, the rich historical backdrop of the story took my mind off David’s inevitable death. The writing was very authentic and rang true to reflect the speech of the people in that time. And even though I knew the ending of the book would be sad and was prepared for it, the way events played out still shocked the tears out of my eyes.

“I’d like the time I have left to count for something.”



The only issue I had was that the ending felt rushed, but that’s an aspect I’ve come to expect in all of this author’s books so it wasn’t a huge bother. Despite this aspect, the bulk of the story was a captivating and gripping one, and if I hadn’t been traveling, I would’ve finished it in one sitting. All in all, a must-read for all historical fiction and historical romance lovers. It’s a book that’ll run you through with emotions but ultimately leave you with a smile on your face.

A copy of this book was provided by Goodreads ‘Firstreads Program’ in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,344 reviews169 followers
July 13, 2016
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 from this author.

So very worth reading (or listening to).
Whatever label or genre, this is a story about a man and a woman. There are a lot of really importans topics added, and some thrilling scenes as well as sweet tender love, strong feelings and intense lust in this remarkable quite short book.
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Texas, U.S. 1934..

Ella Barron is a still young "widow" with a 10 years old boy. A lovely boy who unfortunately has what we nowadays should label as some kind of autism. It's the years after the terrible "great depression', people suffer and the cows are starwing.

Ella runs her old home as a boarding house with fast hand and the grace of a gentlewoman. When a room opens up brings the respected town doctor a mysterious stranger. Mr. David Rainwater, a relative to the doctor, needs a room for just a couple of months. He want's it pretty simple and just some peace and time for himself. Ella is first resistant to opening up her home to this good-looking man but she always need the money, a room is free, and she can't but accept.

Here starts a gripping story.


Soon is this gentle, without doubt a true southern gentleman, Mr Rainwater changing all there lifes. He start a tiny sparkle in Ella's closed and tightly locked heart. Best of all - he actually sees her son as a sweet boy with possibilities and a future.

They are all charmed by him but Ella is a hard nut to crack. ~ That made this story even better. You have to be patient before any kisses are shared but 'oh' they were lovely good when they come.
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“Even knowing the ending was sad, I wouldn't have deprived myself the beauty of the story. Would you?”

As much as a story about big love, a nice little boy, sickness, a always hot burning sun, dying cows, ordinary (white and black) people, all set in a very hard past time, is Rainwater also a novel about to be brave, to be a wonderful larger-than-life hero and to do genuinely good things.

The quote above says so much.


Hugging myself for choosing this great, but quite sad, book this weekend. You can't avoid a few tears, I sobbed, but my heart 'swelled' afterwards thinking about all those genuinely good people back then 1934. The prologue and epilogue added a lot too my feelings too.

Heartbreaking and very well narrated by Mr Slezak. ~ A gem to remember and recommend.

I LIKE - tremendously much.
Profile Image for Keri.
2,046 reviews102 followers
May 12, 2016
*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 something you need to read. But be warned, you might need a few kleenexs, cause there could be tears. :-)
Profile Image for Taury.
505 reviews92 followers
January 1, 2023
Rainwater by Sandra Brown was a 5🌟 novel of Romantic Historical Fiction perfect for the first book of 2023. A book marred with hate and racism but loved with love, acceptance and romance. Set in the Great Depression I found it sad but heart warming. Not a fan of romance this book did it subtly and casually. If you want something light and warming this is perfect!
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
September 29, 2014
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 life in careful but precarious balance, and she couldn’t allow anything or anyone to upset it.

The overhang formed by the second story of the house had trapped the heat as well as the heady frangrance of gardenia

Hearing him speak her given name had made her breath catch, and she was still holding it ...

Profile Image for Linda .
1,811 reviews257 followers
July 13, 2016
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 a two year old mind in the body of a ten year old boy. She had refused to let the man sway her decision with the matter.

This was also the year that Mr. Rainwater arrived on their doorstep. A true Southern gentleman: he needed a place to stay.

If I didn't know better, I would swear that the author was someone other than Sandra Brown. Her descriptive setting opened a door to 1930s Texas. The simplicity and anxiousness of the era along with the suffering heat melded everything together. Though it had nothing to do with it, I kept having visions of To Kill a Mockingbird. Perhaps it was just the ambience.

All of the characters made the romance rich and complex. David Rainwater was a quiet man; his kind manners riled Ella. She thrived on routine but was uncomfortable with personal dialogue. You could tell she was on the verge of..... something.

'You should allow yourself to get angry more often. I think it would do you good.'

His candor robber her of words.

And then there was Margaret, Ella's maid and all-around helper. And Brother Calvin, a preacher: someone who needed work. It was about bullying and bigotry of blacks, poor whites and drifters. It was about farming, the work ethic and a government program that backfired. It was a glimpse to the past that every American should be ashamed of. I can't imagine anyone reading the entire story and not being affected in some way.

Thank you, Oana for recommending the story to me!
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews290 followers
March 8, 2017
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!
Profile Image for Anna.
269 reviews92 followers
April 23, 2019
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 want to read the description, and it sounded like a nice Depression story set in the South with really well-developed characters -- in other words one of My Favorite Kinds.
And it didn't at all disappoint. I tore through it in a day, and as I finished the last page, I was struggling to remember the last time a book pulled me through that quickly. The story line has similarities to other books, and probably more than a few movies, that stress the star-crossed lovers concept, but Brown told so well that it didn't feel stale at all.
Brown is typically known more for romantic suspense (even typing that makes me wince), but this novel, which is a departure from her usual genre, proves that she can write stories with real substance and that she can appeal to readers who value historical integrity.
This is an ideal choice for anyone who loves stories set in small towns in the south. It brought to mind several books and favorites like "Places in the Heart," "Fried Green Tomatoes" and others. Several things about it made me think of the new Netflix movie, "The Highwaymen" -- which I watched twice in a row for the same reasons I finished this so quickly.
Profile Image for -ya.
518 reviews65 followers
August 21, 2017
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, Ella. Perfect."

David is the best kind of hero I can hope for. Memorable characters and storyline. It is a must-read for Sandra Brown’s fans.
Profile Image for Mel.
750 reviews118 followers
December 23, 2009
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, et.al) 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 not have picked up Rainwater, by Sandra Brown except, my friends over at Reading for Sanity spoke highly of it and are offering a giveaway; I have checked it out for several patrons over the past few weeks; and it looked SHORT, so that was appealing because of my continued reading funk (but I’ve finished TWO books in one week – I’m making progess!).

The great “swooshing” sound you now hear is me getting sucked into this book from page one.

Ella Barron is a working single Mom, who runs a boarding house in Gilead, Texas during the Great Depression. She is also caring for her autistic son without the knowledge that he is, in fact, autistic. Enter handsome David Rainwater, a new boarder who has come to Gilead to seek treatment for terminal cancer from a family doctor. And thus begins the romantic beginnings of this quiet, but socially responsible, novel.

Brown gives life to a period in history that forced many to endure hardships and injustices with dignity and strength. The struggle for survival during drought and economic Depression, as well as the turbulent racial tensions of the time are portrayed with historical accuracy. Her main characters ring true and have a depth and humanity that are endearing. Ella and Mr Rainwater will utterly charm and captivate you. Their qualities of honesty, morality, endurance, compassion and courage are refreshing and motivating at a time when many Americans face similar economic uncertainty. The relationship between Mr Rainwater and Solly, Ella's challenged son, is so believably tender and loving as is the relationship that develops with Solly's mother. Good versus evil is very well defined in this novel as we meet up with the despicable Conrad Ellis and his honchos. She also provides a wonderful bookend to the novel that will surprise you.

For the sensitive reader, there are a few scenes of violence both against animal and man that may cause concern. And the romantic interlude between Ella and Mr. Rainwater is more illusion than explicit. Both done with a soft and temperate hand.

This gentle, tenderhearted novel brings us back to a simpler time when love could be so powerfully displayed by the simple act of drying dishes for a partner or going out for an ice cream cone together. Thank you, Sandra, for giving us this lovely holiday gift.
Profile Image for Tiffany PSquared.
494 reviews88 followers
May 1, 2018
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 audiobook version I heard was very well narrated as well. My disappointment in the mood of the book won't keep me from reading Sandra Brown again.
Profile Image for Jean.
732 reviews20 followers
March 28, 2016
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, fiercely independent woman who wants the best for her boy. When the local doctor appears at her door with a request that she take in a new boarder, she hesitates, then reluctantly agrees. When she learns that he is dying, how can she refuse? When this soft-spoken, restrained stranger comes into her home, her life begins to change in more ways than she can possibly imagine.

This was my first time reading anything written by Sandra Brown, and I am so glad I did. As David Rainwater says when Ella Barron asks him about the ending of A Farewell to Arms, even knowing that it is very sad, he is glad he hadn’t deprived himself of reading the beautiful story. That sums up my feelings about Rainwater as well. It is both gentle and harsh; Mr. Rainwater is kind and respectful, yet he remains firm in his beliefs when he stands with the blacks and whites of shantytown against Conrad Ellis and his gang. He works patiently with young Solomon, but he loses his temper when Mrs. Barron persists in questioning him about how he is feeling. Mrs. Barron, too, goes above and beyond the call to help others. Sometimes she cannot contain her frustrations as she is overwhelmed by the injustices of society plus the struggles of her daily life with a son she cannot reach. Circumstances in Gilead are cruel; people and cattle alike suffer hunger, despair, and death. In the aftermath, friends and strangers come together to offer aid and comfort.

I liked Ella Barron. She has high standards for herself and her house. She is fiercely protective of Solomon (“Solly”), her only child. She has a heart of gold; in a time when many whites segregate and discriminate – this book does not shy away from using derogatory terms – Mrs. Barron sees only human beings in need. She guards her own privacy as closely as she does her son’s safely, so when Mr. Rainwater’s calm demeanor and considerate words begin to break down her barriers, she nearly panics.

David Rainwater, clearly, is someone special. He brings hope and dignity to those who have little. He gives of himself, despite his pain and imminent death, so that others might have better lives. For Ella Barron and her son Solly, Mr. Rainwater is redemption.

I loved Mr. Rainwater and Mrs. Barron. I loved how they are revealed slowly and how their relationship grows, carefully and cautiously. I also liked the kindness they showed to Margaret, Brother Calvin, and Margaret’s son Jimmy, to the farmers, and to all those who lived in shantytown, regardless of race. Although this story takes place in the 1930s, it felt timeless. Our world continues to face some of the same struggles today. I felt that Ms. Brown captured the hardships, tensions, the despair, and the joys that all humans share. On a personal note, I have had years of experience working with autistic adults and have a close family member with autistic twins; I felt that Ms. Brown portrayed Solly realistically and compassionately, taking into consideration the lack of understanding of autism in those times.

Rainwater was a fast, easy read. It was hard to put down, but I was sorry to see it end. Everything about it touched my heart. I finished reading it on Easter Sunday, which struck me as quite appropriate. Not surprisingly, few teardrops trickled down my face as I read the final pages.

5 stars

Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books298 followers
February 20, 2015
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 living, and the prejudices and small mindedness of others.
The arrival of David Rainwater who takes up residence in her boarding house is the catalyst for several changes. Some of the scenes and mankind’s inhumanity to mankind are hard to read but at the same time impossible to put down. Ella, her maid Margaret and David, Ella’s neighbours Lola and Ollie, and Brother Calvin are all interesting three dimensional characters. At various times your heart breaks for all of them and the situations they endure.
The book is heartbreaking but as David says when Ella asks if the ending of A Farewell to Arms is sad, ‘Even knowing the ending was sad, I wouldn’t have deprived myself of the story.’ I felt the same after reading this book. It is a novel about real love, not the shoddy depiction we sometimes get in films and books.
It is very different to the only other Sandra Brown Novel I have read and much stronger in characterisation. I started and finished it the same day because I simply had to read it. I adored this novel and would recommend it to anyone.A thought provoking and emotionally involving read.
Profile Image for Julian Lees.
Author 7 books309 followers
February 6, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day).
327 reviews95 followers
February 13, 2010
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. The shop owner, however is adamant that he cannot part with it, and therein starts the tale of how he came by it.

The start was well set-up. The suspense, the motivation, the time reference - all laid the necessary build-up to the main story to follow. The old man recounts a story set in 1934, when the economy was reviving itself from the Great Depression. The Federal Government came up with a Drought Relief Service, by which they bought cattle from farmers who found it exorbitantly expensive to keep the cattle, and those animals unfit for consumption were killed.

Ella ran a boarding-house, where she also stayed with her autistic son, Solly. In addition, she had a helping woman, Margaret, who was black. The story is paced slow, but not too slow to interfere with reading. Ella's relationship with Margaret, her boarders, and her son were well captured. Solly's autism has always been a cause of concern for Ella, but autism didn't have a name then, nor was there much research on the topic.

I most appreciated Solly's characterization. Sandra Brown does a really good job sketching Solly's obsessive need for order, his lack of attachment with people, his constant cringing against people touching him, his very impressive memory, and his quick learning ability. Being blessed with the knowledge of autism, it is not hard for the reader to diagnose it right in the first few pages, and feel a yearning to comfort Ella that things are not as bad as she assumes.

David Rainwater arrives in the story as a mystery. He has an illness, he helps Solly, while almost every one else scoffs him, he respects Ella as a woman and not see her as his helper in a boarding house. All of what we see of David Rainwater is through Ella's eyes, so he is as much a gray figure to me initially as he is to Ella.

Most of the book is about people and relations. There is not very much story as in any momentous event that happens. This books is about Ella as she tries to grapple with her feelings as a woman aching to be loved. This book is about Solly as he observes things once and remembers them. This book is about Rainwater as he helps Ella, Solly and even the farmers who are being terrorized by Conrad Ellis, who even has the Sheriff in his pocket. Rainwater is different from most of the books I read, but I enjoyed it for its relationship-building, something that is not heeded much in many books.

The minor characters also are worth a mention here. There is Margaret, the black woman who helps Ella at the boarding house, there is Brother Calvin, the black preacher who is much loved and respected for his messages of peace and his dedication to his people. Then there is Jimmy, Margaret's growing son, whose desires for revenge intensify in one night. But mostly, I appreciated Ella's boarders Violet and Pearl Dunne, who were endearing and persistent in their old age, but bearing of perspectives tarnished by distasteful opinions of the blacks. At one moment, I would feel sympathy for the two sisters, and probably in the next line, lose it all, seeing their indifferent opinions of Margaret, just because she was colored. Amidst all this, it was most refreshing reading Ella's very human, very realistic feelings, and her exasperation at being brought to notice by the sisters to something not taken care of in the very house she was feeding them and taking care of them

The rampant usage of words like "nigger" and "negro" had me cringing many a time. Though I grew up hearing such derogatory words, I never got "used to" those words. This book is set at a time well before the African American Civil Rights Movement, and decades before the ban on the racial slur words. Although the racial troubles are essential themes of the book, they are more felt along the edges of the story, rather than as a centerpiece. Other than occasionally turning up at certain phases of the story, the racial segregation between the whites and blacks did not feature a prominent presence.

The only disappointment I had was with the ending. After such a beautiful recounting of the story, the ending was very rushed. Even till page 248, I was waiting for something to happen that will give closure to the story. When it does happen, it's all over in a few pages. That felt very anti-climactic and out of character of a book that focused intensely on relationships, love and respect. There were so many characters whose disposition and bearings I would have liked to know. Moreover, although the story started with a pocket watch, there is no mention of it in the story that the old man says.

Overall, this is a very short read, only 256 pages. I finished it in two nights. It was very refreshing and pretty well researched. If you enjoy character-oriented and relationship-focused themes, this book should be for you. On the other hand, do not expect anything huge to happen, as nothing of monstrous proportions happens till well into the last third of the book. This book is more about the little things that build up to the climax, setting the stage to certain important events, albeit at the very end.

Title Demystified
Ella's trusted friend, Dr. Kincaid, walks into her boarding house one day, with a potential boarder, David Rainwater. Thence starts an interesting friendship and love between Rainwater, the title protagonist, and Ella. Although Ella is the main protagonist of the story, it is interesting that Sandra Brown makes David the title protagonist. Interesting because those few weeks with him brings about a lot of changes in Ella's and Solly's life, and they owe a lot to him for some of the positive developments.

Cover Art Demystified
Rainwater has a very interesting cover, that reflects the time period it is set in. The brown hues, and the sepia shades give it the appearance of a book settled in the early 1900s.
Profile Image for Sónia.
415 reviews34 followers
June 30, 2019
A meu ver, o melhor livro da autora.

O registo é totalmente diferente e é aí que reside o "encanto". Baseado em factos pessoais, nota-se que foi uma obra escrita sem imposições editoriais. Uma escrita muito cuidada, com uma excelente contextualização temporal, e uma estória muito bonita. E que toca.

Pena que a autora não mantenha este registo. Consegue quase que revelar outro talento...
Profile Image for Nikoleta.
683 reviews276 followers
October 5, 2015
Τέξας στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του ’30. Οικονομική ύφεση, ανεργία, φτώχεια και έντονη ξηρασία. Το καλοκαίρι είναι αποπνικτικό για την Ελλα, που η ζωή της είναι αφιερωμένη στην μικρή πανσιόν της και τον μικρό αυτιστικό γιο της. Δεν έχει κάτι να περιμένει κ η αλήθεια είναι ότι δεν περιμένει κατι, έχει αφεθεί, νομίζει ότι είναι αυτάρκης. Έτσι ένα πρωί απροσδόκητα μπαίνει στη ζωή της ο κ. Ρεινγουοτερ (νερό βροχής). Ο κ. Ρεινγουοτερ πεισματάρης, ηθικός και πάνω από όλα ατρόμητος, ανακουφίζει και ανακατεύεται στην ζωή της μικρής τοπικής κοινωνίας και αλλάζει την ζωή τους μια για πάντα. Πολύ συγκινητικό, τρυφερό και εύκολο μικρό ανάγνωσμα. Μου άρεσε πάρα πολύ.
Profile Image for Julier.
766 reviews19 followers
January 5, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
427 reviews40 followers
April 24, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,313 reviews389 followers
December 25, 2020
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
Profile Image for Tracy Walters.
290 reviews7 followers
June 26, 2016
This was such a sweet & endearing little book......it 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 eyes.......it did mine. I loved reading this book........what a treat!
Profile Image for Book Concierge.
2,772 reviews332 followers
May 3, 2018
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 look at small town prejudice and bullying in tough times. The Depression hit everyone hard. Some wealthy individuals weathered it with little disturbance; a few greedy people saw a way to profit from the distress of others. Many lost their homes / farms / jobs, and lived in shanty towns, staving off hunger by the generosity of others and their own hard work.

Everyone in the boardinghouse is intrigued and charmed by Mr Rainwater, who has fine manners and a pleasant, calm disposition. Only Ella knows the truth, for Dr Kincaid has confided that Rainwater is dying. New to town, he still manages to have a great influence, leading by example in the face of bigotry, bullying and a corrupt sheriff. He also finds ways to penetrate Solly’s isolation, identifying the routines that capture the boy’s attention and help to calm him. Ella and Rainwater are drawn to one another, despite her instincts to remain aloof and apart from her tenant.

Brown is best known as a romance writer, and there is some romance here. But it is more of an historical fiction work than a traditional romance, despite the sexual tension between the two main characters. Brown does a credible job of exploring some important issues, though she does tend to rely on some of the romance tropes and stereotypical characters. She also does a fine job of describing the landscape of central Texas during the Depression. I could almost feel the gritty dust in the air and was reminded of visiting my grandparents and having the chore of “watering the street” to keep the dust down on hot summer afternoons.

Victor Slezak does a fine job performing the audio. His voice tends towards the bass register, so he’s great when voicing any of the male characters, but he manages a credible voice for the many women in the novel as well. At first, I thought his pace was too slow, but I quickly came to think it was perfect for this work.
Profile Image for Beverly Duffy.
303 reviews9 followers
November 27, 2021
The storyline captured my interest and couldn't stop listening. The shopkeeper telling the history of his pocket watch. A sweet Historical romance story.
Profile Image for Diane.
2,030 reviews5 followers
December 20, 2009
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 stress and pressure in her life. However, she needs the rent money to have enough money to live so she agrees to let him live there.

Mr. Rainwater begins to show a genuine interest in Solly (and Ella). He seems to have a way of interacting with little Solly, and it is he who discovers Solly's amazing abilities. Ella is so grateful for the concern Mr Rainwater has for Solly and she begins to care deeply for him in return. There is one touching part in the story where Mr. Rainwater and Ella are discussing Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms" and a question is posed: "Can one be happy they have read a book when one knows in advance that the ending might not be happy"? For me to say any more would lead to spoilers.

MY THOUGHTS - RAINWATER is a wonderful little gem of a book (fewer than 250 pages). The story has several plot elements that all work together to make this book a winner: hatred, racism, poverty, the power of love, and an ending that I was not suspecting. READ THIS BOOK.

Profile Image for Karen.
85 reviews19 followers
March 29, 2010
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 campaign by the government to slaughter starving cattle in mass graves and the forbidding of even starving folks to eat the meat. Also the inevitable racial violence. I found the cattle slaughter to be really gruesome and heart wrenching as did the characters. The characters are strong and like able. The imagery is lovely and often powerful (in fact often horrible). However, i rank this just a so-so read.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
3,122 reviews29 followers
January 5, 2010
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....
Profile Image for Jami.
375 reviews11 followers
December 27, 2009
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!!!
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