The Rain Sparrow by Linda Goodnight
Rating: Very Good
Description: 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 end emboldens her to learn everything about him. When they discover a fragile boy hiding at the end, 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. (From Goodreads)
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Why I Picked This Book: There's a writer AND a librarian! And an Inn! I couldn't resist
My Impression: After reading the blurb I didn't realize that the book had 2 timelines so I was surprised to find myself in 1867 shortly after starting the story. In the 1867 story we meet Thaddeus, a former Union soldier with more than his share of tragedy in his past, moving to Tennessee to help his friend and cousin run a mill. But after that first chapter we're back in modern day meeting the thriller writer Hayden Winters who is rummaging about the kitchen of the Peach Orchard Inn in desperate search for coffee and soon after Carrie appears to save the day.
Normally in books with dual timelines one really interests me and the other is kind of taking up space but that wasn't the case in this book. Both timelines hooked me though I did read the 1867 story with growing dread as more and more modern hints indicated that things weren't going to end well. The modern story was a little less intense but I loved the characters. Carrie and Hayden were really interesting people and I loved them together. I liked that Hayden wanted to be around Carrie for who she was and just genuinely enjoyed spending time with her. Carrie was insecure but not over-angsty and mostly just wanted to do her own thing quietly.
This book really reminded me of a Robyn Carr book with the community building and the feel that you're getting a peek into day to day life for the characters and not just the love story. There's a lot going on but it all felt very natural and didn't get overwhelming. I really liked Brody's character and liked that his situation and his feelings were complicated. His relationship with Hayden was especially nice.
This is one of those books I could talk about for ages. There's so many different relationships and challenges and bits of happiness and the characters are well developed and complex. I was immediately pulled into the world of Honey Ridge both present and past and I just couldn't wait to find out what happened next. This was my first book by Linda Goodnight but it definitely won't be my last.
This is actually billed as the 2nd in the Honey Ridge series but it doesn't read like a series book at all. I had absolutely no problem jumping in on this book.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes! I really enjoyed this one and definitely want to read more of Goodnight's books.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes! I really enjoyed this read and think women's fiction readers would as well.