All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE 🙂
I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.
Title: Things To Do When It’s Raining
Author: Marissa Stapley
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Canadian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Date published: Expected Publication February 6, 2018
Page Count: 256 pages
Mae Summers and Gabe 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, Lily 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 and 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 by separate forces. 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 that implicate Gabe and Mae’s family reveal a version of the past that will forever change Mae’s future.
From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a poignant generational story about family and secrets. With honesty and heart, Marissa Stapley reminds us of the redemptive power of love and forgiveness, and that, ultimately, family is a choice.
Things to do When it’s Raining takes place in Alexandria Bay, New York, on the beautiful St. Lawrence River. It’s a real place, and coincidentally it’s only about 100km away from where I live! I didn’t realize this when I requested the advance reader copy. I’ve seen the 1000 Islands area and it’s absolutely stunning. If you’ve never been, I suggest taking a trip there someday.
This story touches on themes that I think many of us can relate to: family secrets, struggling to forgive, grief, regret, and the power of love. Mae Summers grew up in Alexandria Bay. She was raised by her grandparents George and Lily after her parents Virginia and Chase died when Mae was a child. We meet Mae as an adult, living in New York City, engaged to Peter. We find out Peter has committed fraud and up and left Mae with nothing but a short note scribbled on paper. She ends up losing everything, and finds herself back at the inn her grandparents own in Alexandria Bay. After 67 years of marriage, Mae’s grandfather George finds out that his best friend who was killed in the war is the real father of Virginia (Mae’s mother). He leaves Lily to stay at a hotel. Meanwhile Lily is losing her mind and has been forgetting the names of people, places, and objects. George finds out Gabe’s father, Jonah, is in the hospital and isn’t doing well, so he calls Gabe to tell him he should probably come back to Alexandria Bay. Gabe’s mother left when he was really young, and Jonah is a drunk who used to physically and emotionally abuse Gabe. Gabe he decides he should go back to check on his Dad. Gabe and Mae get to see each other after many years, work through current life challenges and in the process reveal many secrets that have been buried for too long.
Mae was extremely naive. I mean…she’s an adult, and somehow had no idea what Peter was doing behind her back when she worked with him? I dunno, I found that slightly unbelievable. I had a hard time getting into the story, but once we arrived in Alexandria Bay and I got to meet George, Lily, and Jonah, I became more engaged in their stories.
Gabe is my favourite character. He’s been through some real crap in his life. You would think the ability to love someone else would have died in him long ago. I would have liked more info about Gabe’s life after he left Alexandria Bay.
If this story wasn’t written in third person narrative I would have been able to felt more connected to the characters. There was too much telling, not enough showing.
Overall, this is an easy read with a compelling story. If you like romance stories with family drama and secrets, then you’ll like Things to do When it’s Raining. Expected publication is next month 🙂