Nancy Pickard's The Scent of Rain and Lightning was a truly enjoyable way to start off my New Year reading. It grabbed me from the very beginning and kept me interested all the way through to the big reveal at the end. And the end really packed a punch!
The book tells its story on two timelines. We start off in present day with Jody Linder, a 26 year old school teacher who suffered family tragedy as a three year old when her father was murdered and her mother disappeared. The book then shifts back 23 years so we can see what happened leading up to the murder. We gradually come back to present day when the man convicted of her father's murder is released from prison early and returns to the small town of Rose, Kansas.
The book seems to depict small town life accurately and the many characters are interesting from the Linder family to the town drunk convicted of her father's murder and his family. Pickard also weaves in an unlikely love story between Jody and the son of the man convicted of killing her father.
I spent much of the book trying to figure out the mystery of who really killed Jody's father. It seemed the man convicted was too drunk. But who?! It was such a small town and everyone else seemed accounted for. My theory was that her mom killed her dad and ran off. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the twist that Pickard threw in at the end. For once, there wasn't a totally cookie cutter ending to a book!
This is a highly recommended from me! And very close to a five-star rating. It's just a tiny bit too fluffy for me to make it five stars. I usually like to learn something along with having a fantastic story in order to give a five star rating....such as learning about the Japanese internment camps during WWII in The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet or the south during the 1960's in The Help. I need just a tiny bit more substance for a 5-star book. However, this is definitely a 4.75 for me.
Source disclosure: Purchased by me as an e-book.