Fire and Rain – Diane Chamberlain – 2010 – Fiction
Valle Rosa, a small, drought-weary town in Southern California, is under destruction from deadly wildfires. Into the midst of this crisis rolls a handsome stranger calling himself Jeff Cabrio, who claims he can cure the town’s troubles by making it rain.
But Cabrio’s entrance into the community brings more than just potential rain, and it’s not long before the residents’ interests turn from the weather to their mysterious neighbour. For tragedy-afflicted sculptress Mia Tanner, Cabrio unearths old wounds and new loves. For struggling journalist, Carmen Perez, Cabrio brings the possibility of revitalising her career through uncovering the truth about him. And ex-major-league player Chris Garrett is offered the chance to come to terms with the demise of his career as a professional baseball pitcher. As their lives become irrevocably entwined, it’s not longer before each is forced to face the ghosts of the past.
The story is told from Chris, Mia and Carmen’s points of view. This helps keep the story fresh and give you more information than you’d get if it was just one person’s perspective. I thought that the problems the characters faced were interesting but I couldn’t really identify with them. For example Chris spent a lot of the book moping about his baseball career. I’m not really into sports so I didn’t really care about that. There was however an interesting storyline to each of the problems the characters faced, and they all changed a lot throughout the novel.
Clearly you are constantly wondering what Jeff’s story is and why he is so interested in helping Valle Rosa in particular. I don’t think the question was completely answered because although you found out why he cared about areas with fires, you were never really told why it would be Valle Rosa. My favourite character was Mia. I found her story the most interesting and universal. Most people have been affected by cancer in some way, regardless of your country, and it made her more relateable.
The location of the story was interesting, as it was set in Southern California instead of North Carolina, which is where Chamberlain normally sets her books. Not being from the USA, I’m not sure if North Carolina experiences droughts so I’m unsure if it was necessary that the book was set there but I do prefer when her books are set in N.C.
As I’ve said in previous reviews of her books, I really like how Chamberlain ends her books. She always wraps her books up and ties together the endings – some might find them a bit “twee” but I just like that I get all the answers at the end of her books.
I gave this book 4/5 on Goodreads. I’d recommend this book to fans of Chamberlain, although I wouldn’t base your ideas of her writing on this book as in some ways it’s different from her usual.