He becomes the love of her life. She becomes his biggest challenge.
It’s 1908, a year in the Edwardian Age, the year J.M. Barrie’s play What Every Woman Knows, premiered in Atlantic City and the first Model T rolled off the assembly line in Detroit. It is a year when the world faced one of its worst disasters in history, when the New Year would heal the wounds of loss. Louisa Borden lives a privileged life in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a new and thriving community on the outskirts of Washington, DC for the well-to-do. Against the wishes of her domineering grandmother, she retreats from the prospects of a loveless marriage and instead searches for what she hopes is her calling in life.
When her horse is spooked along Rock Creek, she is thrown from the saddle—an embarrassing situation for any affluent young lady. Soaking wet, bruised and humiliated, she is carried up the muddy bank to safety by Jackson O’Neil, a stranger to the city, who changes the course of everything, including the lives of all those around her.
The American Gilded Age was all about wealth and status. Who had the grandest homes? Who gave the biggest parties? Who were invited to these grand affairs? It was a time when socialite mamas eagerly sought marriages for their daughters with cash-poor, land-rich English nobles. Louisa’s mother may be deceased but her grandmother is just as determined to see Louisa married into a well to do English family. But the prospective groom is a pompous bore, and Louisa wants no part of his upper class life. Jackson O’Neil may not be of equal social standing in her grandmother’s eyes, but he’s a lot more preferable to Louisa. Meanwhile, Louisa’s father leaves on a business trip to Sicily, where thousands of lives are about to be irrevocably changed by an act of nature.
With a set up like this, After the Rain should’ve been a great novel. We’ve got a romantic triangle, historical drama, and some likeable characters. Unfortunately, it falls short in more than one area. The last time I reviewed a novel by Rita Gerlach was in 2012 and it was released by a known Christian fiction publisher. This time around, Gerlach has opted to release her book through a self-publishing platform. The problem I see with this is that the editing process just isn’t as thorough. I spotted errors such as missed words in sentences, and at least two instances of Louisa’s family name being used when it should’ve been Jackson’s. There’s also so much crammed in to the plot. Louisa goes through so much I found myself wondering how much she could take. On the other hand, there are times she comes across as a saint who does everything well. This is a book that could’ve easily been at least 100 pages shorter. On a personal note, I was irritated by the portrayal of the major English characters in the book. All of them came across as snobbish, petty, and thoroughly unlikeable.
If you have a Kindle, you might try reading this for free or at a discount price, although I hope the formatting is better than the file I downloaded on my old 5th generation device. I think it’s too expensive to purchase as a paperback, even though the price might well reflect the print to order nature of its publication. Alternatively, you could enter the giveaway below.
Thank you to Celebrate Lit for my complimentary electronic copy of After the Rain, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read After the Rain? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 22 October 2015
Page Count: 570
Read more on: Rita Gerlach’s website
Click on the link below for your chance to win an autographed paperback copy of After the Rain and the audio books of The Daughters of the Potomac series.