This eARC was provided through NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
I recently joined NetGalley, and was scrolling through all the gallies like a kid in a candy store when my eyes landed on The Rain Watcher. I’ve read two of Tatiana de Rosnay’s novels (Sarah’s Key and A Secret Kept) and enjoyed them both, and was over the moon at the concept of joining the first group of readers reviewing her latest novel. Thankfully, it was immediately available as an eARC download, so I chose it as my first NetGalley review.
In the novel, we are introduced to Linden, a successful international photographer based in San Francisco, and his family as they prepare for a reunion trip in Paris. Linden’s sister, Tilia, lives in London with her husband and daughter, Mistral. Linden’s parents, Lauren and Paul, live in Vénozan where Paul has made himself famous for saving trees and other plant species around the world. It has been a while since they’ve spent time together, and Linden is looking forward to their reunion.
Unfortunately, as the family arrives in Paris, Paul succumbs to illness that eventually lands him in the hospital, Lauren ends up ill, and the Seine river is threatening to flood Paris, closing down the city. Tilia is paralyzed with fear from a past trauma that left her unable to enter a hospital, so she cares for Lauren while Linden waits to hear what will happen to their father.
While Paul lies in the hospital, Linden reflects on his relationship with his family, and most especially his father. They have always been distant, Paul having always been a quiet man and Linden always unsure of his father’s approval. When Linden reached his teen years, he had left home to live with his aunt Candace in Paris, finally admitting to her that he was gay. It was another seven years before he told his mother, and he never mentioned it to his father. Now, Linden worries- is it too late to connect with his father?
The Rain Watcher immediately sucked me in from the beginning as de Rosnay describes a cantankerous old tree, which immediately transported me back to my younger years growing up in the woods, constantly climbing trees. By the time she introduced her characters, I was nestled into the story and felt like a quiet observer that had a front row seat to Linden’s mind. As her prior novels, the plot is slowly but exquisitely revealed, and the characters’ emotions are tangible through the pages. With Linden, I felt his uncertainty, his hesitation in his relationship with his father, his security in his current relationship, his artistic eye behind the Leica. I also adore the imagery that transports the reader into de Rosnay’s Paris- the rues, the arrondissements, the food, and in this novel, the unabating rain washing into the Seine and rising.
Yet again, de Rosnay has shared an intimate, emotional novel that easily resonates with the reader, and I know I’ll be adding a hardcopy to my collection of her books when it becomes available.
Expected publication date: October 23, 2018