BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS
CAMILLE DI MAIO
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical / Family
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 334
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After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.
She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.
Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers―about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.
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Praise for Before the Rain Falls:
Still wiping away tears! Before the Rain Falls is simultaneously heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyous: a story of complex characters with varied pasts and bright futures. Loved it! – Jennifer B. on Goodreads
This novel takes readers on an emotional, fast-paced, ride through one sister’s journey to self, redemption, and the true meaning of “freedom.” – Nicole W. on Goodreads
There is romance, mystery, and secrets that are kept till the very end that will have you not wanting this beautifully written story to end. – Carol B. on Goodreads
“It was the beginning of everything that was to come. And the end of all that had been.” –Before the Rain Falls, Ch. 8
Di Maio’s writing pulls you in from the start. Della Lee pleads guilty to the murder of her sister, Eula. But things aren’t always what they appear to be, and Della has a story to be told.
Before the Rain Falls follows closely the story of Della Lee, both as she is “now” and as she was in the forties during her first years in prison. It also follows the story of Puerto Pesar native Paloma Vega, returned to care for her sister and Abuela, and visiting journalist Mick Anders, who’s looking to salvage his career.
At first I wondered about these three, whose initial commonality stopped at Puerto Pesar, but Di Maio is a wonderful weaver of threads, and suddenly they are essential parts of one another, bringing to light the full picture of the tragic events of the past, and maybe even looking forward to the future.
The parallels between the past and the present were startling, and right from the get-go I found myself cheering on the main characters and their families, hoping that although there were parallels, there would also be differences. Some of it almost seemed like a second chance for the right things to happen, even if it was to different people.
The setting was set without an over-explanation, and the oppressive Texas heat was almost palpable. I absolutely loved the description of the cicadas as a “rattlesnake on a roller coaster.” How perfectly accurate.
Never did I feel the story was dragging as I read Before the Rain Falls. It is well-paced and beautifully written. That’s not to say it is without pain and heartbreak, but I believe tears are a mark of a well-written book.
There is so much more to this book than I can accurately convey, so I really hope you give it a try yourself.
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
You can check out my review for Di Maio’s debut, The Memory of Us, here.
Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmer’s markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. The Memory of Us is Camille’s debut novel. Her second, Before the Rain Falls was released on May 16, 2017.
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May 17-31, 2017
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