A YEAR WITHOUT RAIN by D. Anne Love

A YEAR WITHOUT RAIN

Age Range: 8 - 11

KIRKUS REVIEW

Twelve-year-old Rachel, devastated to learn of her father’s impending nuptials to the local school teacher, devises a cunning plan to drive her away. The story takes place at the end of the 19th century in the Dakotas, where a yearlong drought has devastated the family farm. The extreme shortage of water compels their father to send Rachel and her brother to Atlanta to stay with their aunt. Although their mother died several years earlier, a discovery of her letters about her courtship and early marriage while staying in her childhood home reawakens the pain of losing her. Rachel is shocked when, close on the heels of these revelations, their father declares his intent to remarry. The plot moves in a predictable fashion; Rachel’s anger manifests itself in a rash act, resulting in sobering consequences that in turn calm her raging emotions and enable her to welcome her stepmother with equanimity. Rachel’s budding talent as an artist, inherited from her mother, lifts this tale beyond the ordinary. Love’s (I Remember the Alamo, 1999) descriptions of Rachel’s artistry give readers a view of the world from an artist’s perspective: “In the background was Mama’s grave, a green rectangle beneath the shady poplar trees. I’d painted the river and the sheep grazing in a spring meadow, and the brown ribbon of road unspooling toward the horizon.” Love handles the emotionally charged subject with compassion tempered with honesty; there are no saints here, adult or child, just raw feelings that will strike a sympathetic chord in reader’s hearts. An absorbing period piece addressing a universal theme with which contemporary readers can readily identify and which is spared mediocrity by Love’s eloquent prose. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8234-1488-4
Page count: 118pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000




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