Fire and Rain by Diane Chamberlain

Valle Rosa is a small southern California town that is turning to dust: ravaged by wildfires, the town is desperate for rain. Mysterious stranger Jeff Cabrio arrives in Valle Rosa and approaches the town mayor Christopher Garrett with a tantalizing promise: I can make it rain. Cabrio doesn’t seek money, or fame; as a matter of fact, he wants to remain low-key and behind the scenes. He promises he’ll make it rain for room, board, and peace and quiet. Somewhat conveniently, the place he ends up boarding is in the cottage of an estate owned by Garrett’s ex-wife, investigative TV reporter Carmen Perez. If Perez can make a story out of Cabrio, she can invigorate her flagging career, and despite his wish for anonymity, Cabrio finds himself under the journalistic microscope. Valle Rosa is a town of secrets and Cabrios’ secret is explosive.

Fire and Rain is one of Chamberlain’s older novels and in it she shows her strength for creating intriguing characters with depth. I didn’t care that the science was implausible (a rain-making machine?), because I was entranced by the story line and the personas. I loved the juxtaposition of how the author used the metaphoric rain and fire to create a story that tugs the heart strings. Cabrio’s soul is as dry as tinder due to his secret past, ready to ignite when he meets Mia Tanner, a woman who has been hurt in her relationships in the past. Chris Garrett is a former baseball professional still in love with Carmen, despite Carmen’s many issues. Carmen is the somewhat stereotypical driven career woman, who ruthlessly seeks to unearth Cabrio’s past to boost to her waning career. The characters are all damaged, and all have been burned, figuratively by life and love.

Diane Chamberlain will be visiting the North Regional Library on Saturday, November 22 @ 2:30 p.m. She is a delightful, engaging author who loves her readers. Click here to register.

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