Monday, April 27, 2020

Review: Resurrecting Rain by Patricia Averbach

We are who we are because of our past, our choices, and our experiences. Some people work very hard to live a different life than the one they knew in the past, but in rejecting that past, it still shapes their present and their future, if only as something to aspire not to repeat. Some of the things that shape us are well beyond our control, but what we do with our situations is often far more telling than an unplanned destiny. These choices make us who we are every bit as much as our past or the things outside of our control. And sometimes, the correct choice is to start over again, whether it be fresh or at the beginning, to remake life and our future. This is a lesson that Deena, the main character in Patricia Averbach's novel, Resurrecting Rain, will have to learn in the midst of dramatic upheaval.

Deena and Martin have lived a very comfortable life in Shaker Heights. He's a pharmacist and she's a librarian at a local university. They're been married for many years and have two children, a daughter in college and a son who is a senior in high school. But when the novel opens, they are losing their house and most of their possessions thanks to an investment gone bad on Martin's part. As they try to regroup in their tiny, new apartment, it is clear that their finances aren't the only thing shattered by their situation. Martin is remote and depressed, Deena is angry and lonely, son Elliott was blindsided, questioning his expected future, and daughter Lauren drops out of college, retreating from her anxious mother. In short, they are all in free-fall. And then Deena does something that sends her life spiraling even further out of control and sending her south from Ohio to Sarasota, Florida in sheer desperation, even as memories of the childhood she fled as soon as she could, the childhood she has kept hidden from her family, come sneaking back to her, making her question the choices she's made along her way.

Deena has worked very hard to create the life she so desperately yearned for, a life so unlike her secret past, and so it isn't a surprise that she goes off the rails when that life disintegrates before her very eyes. She is also unprepared for the fallout when she is caught in circumstances beyond her control although the reader could and would certainly tell her that some of the information she shared and the thoughtless choice she made, assuming that it would be short term and hurt nothing, would absolutely haunt her. As a character, she is a bit tough to sympathize with, initially thoughtless and then filled with regret, and it takes her a very long time to understand that she is going to have to reckon with her past and expose all of her secrets, first to herself and then to those she loves, in order to move forward and find happiness in her life. This is very much a novel of soul searching and as such the other characters aren't as complete as Deena, their presence revealing more about Deena and her thoughts than about themselves. There are philosophical musings about fate and choice, about materialism, and about family and home as Deena examines her life and what means the most to her. Some of the plot is a little far-fetched but Averbach has done a good job capturing the helplessness and despair of someone who is in danger of losing everything.

Taking place in suburban Cleveland, south Florida, and Santa Fe, the latter is the landscape best captured in the novel, reflecting both Deena's beginnings and the deep change both it and she have undergone. There were a couple of mistakes that stuck out to me and took me out of the story a few times.  Early on, son Elliot's assertion that there are only 9 men's Division One swimming scholarships available is simply untrue. There are far more Division One men's swimming programs nationally than 9 and they all have scholarships to offer, averaging 9 per team, so his choice to drop swimming because he wouldn't possibly get one for lack of numbers is false. And then to have a contracted visiting professor leave a university March 1, which would be smack dab in the middle of a semester, to go to another university, also under contract, is completely unlikely. Although both of these things are important in the world of the novel, they were stumbling blocks for me in my reading. And there were some plot threads I would have liked to have more of, including Raisa's life and her writing. After all, she hires Deena to catalog her papers but none of that gets accomplished in the novel although we do see a fragment of a sad and fanciful work. Over all though, this was a thoughtful novel and the reader cannot help turning the pages to see where Deena is going next, how she'll react, and whether she has found the person she wants to be yet, especially in the absence of the things she thought she needed.

For more information about Patricia Averbach and the book, check our her author site, like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Lisa from TLC Book Tours and publisher Golden Antelope Press for sending me a copy of this book to review.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful review!!

  2. This sounds really fantastic, thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  3. You totally nailed Deena's character. I lost patience with her during the middle part of the novel but I was rooing for her by the end.


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