Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Review: Things To Do When It's Raining by Marissa Stapley

Two families are torn apart by secret pasts and broken hearts—from Globe and Mail-bestselling author Marissa Stapley.

When secrets tear love apart, can the truth mend it?

Mae Summers and Gabriel Broadbent grew up together in the idyllic Summers’ Inn, perched at the edge the St. Lawrence river. Mae was orphaned at the age of six and Gabe needed protection from his alcoholic father, so both were raised under one roof by Mae’s grandparents, Lilly and George. A childhood friendship quickly developed into a first love—a love that was suddenly broken by Gabe’s unexpected departure. Mae grew up, got over her heartbreak, and started a life for herself in New York City.

After more than a decade, Mae and Gabe find themselves pulled back to Alexandria Bay. Hoping to find solace within the Summers’ Inn, Mae instead finds her grandparents in the midst of decline and their past unravelling around her. A lifetime of secrets stand in the way of this unconventional family’s happiness. Will they be able to reclaim the past and come together, or will they remain separate islands?

From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a powerful story about guilt, forgiveness and the truth about families: that we can choose them, just as we choose to love.

Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: February 2018 by Simon & Schuster Canada 
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Things To Do When It's Raining was a sweeping family drama that spanned three generations but concentrated mostly on Mae and Gabe, the youngest of the generations. It was an epic story that showed how lies, deceptions and choices shaped and followed people from one generation to the next. It was a journey of self discovery and a lesson in overcoming adversity.

I enjoyed the setting of this book. Alexandria Bay or Alex Bay or A Bay (as I know it) was very familiar to me. It is not far from where I live as I am its neighbour to the north across the river. The familiarity with the setting helped to paint a clear picture of the story in my mind. In essence the river was as much a character as the people that the story portrayed.

Although I didn't dislike any of the key players in this story I can't say that I loved them either. I found that they all lacked a little bit of personality. A little more character development would have easily solved it. Most of them were depressing and because I didn't feel like I really knew them it was a little off putting.

This brings me to the plot. The synopsis gave a good overview of what the story was about so I won't go into any more detail. I will say that I really enjoyed the generational aspect of it and the telling of three different stories. However, each story I found to be a little too vague and I was left with questions about each group of people. There were tiny holes that I couldn't quite fill in and there were other aspects that I wished I knew more about. I wanted a more detailed account of Lilly and George's story particularly surrounding Everett. I also wanted to know more about Mae's parents and also her mothers friendship with Gabe's father. What was the deal with Mae's father's family? I never did understand it. I wanted to know more about Gabe's father and his back story. Finally, I wanted to understand Lilly's aversion to Gabe, a boy whom she was suppose to love. It made no sense which left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I guess you can say that I wanted more. It was a good story but I feel like it needed to be longer and more detailed in order to get fully lost in it. Each generation had a fantastic story that would have been better served with less of a "cliff notes" type feeling.

In the end I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book but I wish it had been a little more detailed. I enjoyed Marissa Stapley's writing and won't hesitate to pick up more of her work.

 About the Author
Marissa Stapley is the Globe and Mail bestselling author of the novel Mating for Life, and the forthcoming Things to Do When It's Raining. She writes the commercial fiction review column "Shelf Love" for the Globe and Mail, reports on books and culture for the Toronto Star, and lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

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