Review: After the Rain by Renee Carlino

My Thoughts

A gripping, emotional romance you won’t be able to put down.
One of my favorites this year!

5stars

Synopsis

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.

My Review

Pain. Grief. Love. Hope. Broken hearts. Mending hearts. Wide open spaces and pasts that cage in.

Renee Carlino explores this all in her latest emotionally gripping release, After the Rain. I loved every moment of reading it, from the very first page. Renee’s prowess at compelling storytelling is impressive, once again reminding me of her ability to pull me into her stories, each with their own unique edge, each utterly romantic and each entirely consuming. This is a beautiful story of second chances… about fate, choices and events that happen beyond our control.

“… he took what was left of my heart, ending any semblance of life inside of me. At nineteen, I became cold and hard and looked forward to the end of my bleak existence.”

Avelina (Ava) Belo had a bright future in front of her, especially after meeting and falling for a confident, good-looking cowboy like Jake McCrea. Just three months after meeting, they tied the knot and moved to Montana to work together at a cattle ranch. Life was good, full of love and possibility… until an accident shatters their future into a million pieces. Ava goes from newlywed to widow and shuts down. For the next five years.

“When you lose faith in love, you lose a sense of who you are.”

In alternating point-of-view chapters, we meet Nate Myers. A man who strives to be the best cardiothorasic surgeon there is… better than the best, in fact, since the best out there is his own father. He’s thrown himself into medicine, learned the discipline since he was a child, so when he graduates at the top of his class, his future is defined by his drive to succeed. In fact, he’s had time for nothing else. For him, life is defined by the edge of a scalpel. But one day and in a split second, he loses a patient and is consumed by guilt. Alone and despondent, his future turns nebulous and he begins to question everything.

“Had my career taken such a hold of me that I had lost sight of why I wanted to be a heart surgeon in the first place: to help people live their lives more fully?”

So Nate’s father sends him to his Uncle Dale on a Montana ranch. The same ranch where Ava continues to exist as a shell, lost in her grief, in her anger, in her solitude. Nate is mesmerized by her. By this beautiful young girl who is paralyzed by her past. Slowly, moment by moment, Nate helps Ava find laughter, brief moments of respite from her own darkness. Before too long, Nate finds himself caring for her. She’s been the first person he’s cared for and desired in a way that holds his attention. His eyes are suddenly open to living.

“There’s something about her. I feel like I breathe deeper around her. Everything seems  a little brighter.”

The story takes many a turn as we see two people trying to find hope and love in each other’s arms. It’s not easy though, especially for Ava, whose heart is beyond broken. It’s mangled and in pieces and afraid of loving and losing all over again.

Ava’s character is fascinating and intriguing. At such a young age she harbors so many complex, dueling emotions. She’s sad. She’s guilt-ridden. She’s angry. She’s scared. She’s given life and love her all, and not only has she lost those she’s loved, but she’s also lost her sense of self. Who she is. Who she wants to be.

“I was learning that being alive means knowing the threat of dying is there but facing your mortality and moving through it anyway.”

Nate must also work through figuring out what his life is all about. It’s not all about that operating table, it’s about the life he leads when he’s away from the hospital… about the man he wants to be. Could Ava factor into his focused, driven life?

If you love a well-written emotional book full of romance and heartache, look no further than this novel. It was so well crafted, so gripping, I really couldn’t put it down. Renee has become an autobuy author for me and I cannot wait to see more from her. I loved this book, and I’m betting you guys will too. Don’t miss this one.

“Forever is only now.”

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Comments

  1. Melissa Krehley says:

    love your reviews Vilma! I love Renee and cannot wait to read this!

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