After The Rain by Renee Carlino
Published by Atria Books on November 11, 2014
Genres: Abuse, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance, Sociology, Women's Fiction
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From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.
Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.
Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.
Renee Carlino is a fairly new writer to me. I only just read Sweet Thing earlier this year. I fell in love with her writing in the prologue of said book. She has some amazing talent. A beautiful voice and there’s often a maturity to her writing that’s often lacking in other authors. After The Rain is meant to be a story of love, of not knowing your place in life, the reason you exist. It’s about finding you before you allow yourself to love or be loved.
Unfortunately, this particular story fell flat for me. It has nothing to do with Renee’s writing. She can without a doubt write. This has more to do with the plot and the characters. I would say the first thirty percent of the book is fantastic. I was intrigued. The intro stories of both Ava and Nate right up until the first few encounters between the two, I was engrossed. But somewhere between the new friendship and the blossoming relationship I could no longer relate. I just wasn’t feeling either character.
I felt that maybe there were some missed opportunities for both characters in this book. Both Ava and Nate come together under difficult circumstances. It’s the perfect storm. A doctor who needs to learn to love himself and be a person outside the hospital and a woman who needs to learn to love herself and allow herself to live after grief. But Ava comes across as severely broken. Like in need of serious therapy. Her behavior and her actions made it hard to feel sympathy, I instead wished desperately that someone would help her seek counseling. She was in way shape or form ready or able to love someone. How in the world Nate fell for her, well I just didn’t understand. It made me question him and his motives. I started to think maybe she was his project. If he could fix her that would help him get back into his groove as a doctor. I don’t know I just didn’t get them.
But then things start to turn around for them both and they find this groove and I once again sort of found mine. I was into the story. I thought that what happened at around 70 percent in was perfect for both of them. What cause them to part ways felt right to me. This is where I once again see how much I love Renee Carlino’s writing. The angst was needed and certainly valid.
I was legitimately worried near the end of the book. No spoilers here but let me just say that if things had ended the way I THOUGHT they were going to end I may have given this extra stars just for that. We were being led down a path and I was starting to feel pained. I thought “OMG I’m going to cry!” but I didn’t. Instead I was neither happy nor unhappy. It wasn’t the epic ending I was expecting however, it was a good ending for Ava and Nate. I hope that makes sense.
I am ALWAYS looking forward to Renee’s writing and I will continue to look forward to her stories. I know she has many more great books coming up and I can’t wait to hear more about them.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*