Ella runs her Texas boarding house with the efficiency of a ship’s captain and the grace of a gentlewoman. She cooks, cleans, launders, and cares for her ten-year-old son, Solly, a sweet but challenging child whose busy behavior and failure to speak elicits undesired advice from others in town. Ella’s plate is full from sunup to sundown. When a room in her boarding house opens up, the respected town doctor brings Ella a new boarder―the handsome and gallant Mr. David Rainwater—but Ella is immediately resistant to opening up her home to this mysterious stranger.
Even with assurances that Mr. Rainwater is a man of impeccable character, a former cotton broker and a victim of the Great Depression, Ella stiffens at the thought of taking him in. Dr. Kincaid tells Ella in confidence that Mr. Rainwater won’t require the room for long: he is dying. Begrudgingly, Ella accepts Mr. Rainwater’s application to board, but she knows that something is happening; she is being swept along by an unusual series of events. Soon, this strong-minded, independent woman will realize that the living that she has eked out for herself in the small bubble of her town is about to change, whether she likes it or not...
Racial tensions, the financial strain of livelihoods in cotton drying up into dust, and the threat of political instability swirl together into a tornado on the horizon. One thing is certain: the winds of change are blowing all over Texas—and through the cracks in the life that Ella Barron has painstakingly built. This is the story of a woman who takes her life’s circumstances in both hands, but who will be forced to reckon with the chaos of her historical circumstances..
- Simon & Schuster |
- 256 pages |
- ISBN 9781439176139 |
- November 2009
Sandra Brown: Reflections of Rainwater
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Reading Group Guide
Ella Barron runs her Texas boardinghouse with an efficiency that ensures her life will be kept in perfect balance. When a new boarder moves in—the soft-spoken, insightful Mr. Rainwater—that careful balance is upset in ways that Ella could never have predicted. Faced with the challenges of rearing her autistic son alone and surviving the hardships imposed by economic crisis, the last thing Ella needs is an additional burden. But from Mr. Rainwater she learns a bittersweet truth—that love is worth whatever price one must pay for it.
1. What qualities does Ella Brown possess? What is her greatest strength? What is her greatest weakness? Which qualities are inherent and which do you attribute to her situation in life?
2. Rainwater is set in Depression-era Texas. What details does Brown use to create atmosphere? How does the setting affect the action of the story?
3. It’s clear from the beginning that Ella wants to prevent Soll see more