Tuesday, April 14, 2009
When I first starting hearing things about Carolyn Turgeon's novel Godmother (click for my review), I looked up her website and saw that she had another interesting novel called Rain Village. So I read it. And I'm sort of torn...I think I almost like Rain Village more than I liked Godmother.
Here's the premise:
Tessa Riley is a young girl growing up on her family's farm in Oakley, Kansas. She has a brother, sister, and parents. But she's no ordinary girl. She's only four feet tall. She is relentlessly teased by the community because of her height. Her family are very straight laced farmers who's sole concern is maintaining the farm...to the extent that the children are discouraged from learning (they can't even read) to work on the farm. Tessa is too small for most farm work so she is told to hang from a curtain rod to try and stretch herself so she gets bigger. Her mom is distant and unloving and her father is abusive.
Enter the glamorous new town librarian, Mary. (First time I've hear that in a book.) Mary takes Tessa under her wing, teaches her to read, lets her work in the library, tells her wonderful stories, and opens the world up for Tessa. Mary also used to be a star in the circus before she left under mysterious circumstances. So when tragedy strikes, Tessa takes off to find the circus, become a star herself, and start a new life.
I loved it. It's one of those books where the characters really stick with you. Tiny Tessa is just an interesting character. She's such a small person with huge dreams. And Mary is this glamorous lovable character. I also loved that the story is pretty timeless. It could have happened anytime between the turn of the 20th Century and now. I'm assuming it takes place sometime during the 1920s-1930s. It's one of those great bittersweet stories.
I do see how Carolyn is evolving as a writer though. While great writing the beginning and end could be a tad bit shorter. If you aren't feeling the story, keep with it until she leaves to join the circus. I just loved watching her character evolve and grow.
Have you read this book? What do you think?
I could only find the one cover for this book but I love it. The girl in the water definitely plays a part in the story and I love the string of circus lights around her. What do you think?