The Rain Sparrow - Linda Goodnight
New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you back home to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, with another beautiful story full of hope, haunting mystery, and the power to win your heart...
Famous yet anonymous, thriller writer Hayden Winters lives a life colored by lies. Deeply ashamed of his past, his hunger for an honest relationship and dreams of starting a family remain unsatisfied, and he can trust no one with his secrets. He's determined to outrun his personal demons, but the charming old Peach Orchard Inn and a woman whose presence is as gentle as a sparrow's song stops him in his tracks.
Carrie Riley is afraid of everything from flying to thunderstorms, and pretty much of life itself. But meeting the enigmatic writer staying at the inn emboldens her to learn everything about him. When they discover a fragile boy hiding at the inn, Hayden is honor-bound to help Carrie protect him. Soon they're led to a centuries-old mystery that haunts Hayden's sleep, and his only safe haven is Carrie. As the secrets of the past and present force their lives to become entwined, all that's left to come to light is love—if the grim truth doesn't tear them apart first.
Full disclosure, this is the second novel in the Honey Ridge series but this is absolutely, 100% a stand alone. I haven't read the first one (but I'm definitely adding it to my wish list), and in fact, this is my first book by this author and I loved it. I didn't feel lost, but for those of you who love to see the previous characters make appearances in future books, you will get that in this one.
The story circles around two primary characters and one secondary character. First we have Carrie, a kind of awkwardly cute librarian with a terrible romance streak and clueless about men in general with a quiet sarcastic/funny side to her. Then we have Hayden who is a famous suspense/thriller writer with an unsavory past with family drug abuse and other issues that he has covered well as a relatively famous person in the literary world. Hayden ends up at the inn Carrie's sister runs in order to work on his forthcoming novel in the hopes the setting can provide some much needed creativity. Almost immediately, Hayden finds Carrie in the middle of the night (he writes at night, she's terrified of everything including thunder storms) and they begin a tentative friendship when they discover someone hiding on the porch.
Enter secondary character, Brody, a young boy with an abusive and alcoholic father who spends as much time out of his home as possible to avoid it. He got caught in the storm, but Hayden and Carrie invite him in for the night. Hayden suspects he knows exactly what Hayden's real story is but ever hopeful Carrie isn't seeing all of the basic clues that this boy needs an intervention.
So we have a budding romance between Carrie and Hayden developing while they try to figure out the best way to help Brody, and it's basically everything you want in a southern romance.
Hayden also finds himself having incredibly vivid dreams of the post Civil War era with a really colorful cast of characters and it seems like that the past and his present are merging together, which also gives this book a nod to historical romance. It's really the best of both worlds for fans of either/both genre.
I absolutely enjoyed this book, I had no problem finishing it quickly and it's just a really great spring time book. It reminds me of Dorothea Benton Frank with just the overall feel of the book, the way the author writes makes you feel you're right there in Tennessee with them and maybe even sitting in that library or little burger place. It really takes you to a different place and the cast of characters in The Rain Sparrow are so well written, you really can't help but root for them all.
You can purchase your own copy of The Rain Sparrow on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble. Linda Goodnight has lots of other books available as well, and you can find more information about those on her website, or follower her on Twitter!