By Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Sometimes a single event can alter the course of a person's life. For Lucy Marinn, everything changed when her younger sister, Alice was rushed to the hospital with meningitis. Overnight, the dynamic of her family shifted. Seven year old Lucy became the responsible daughter while Alice was coddled; her every need met, every misdeed excused. But while that fateful day re-defined the roles of the members of Lucy's family, it also introduced her to that which would become the passion of her life: the mystery and magic of glass.
Now an adult, Lucy is a successful glass artist in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington where she lives with her boyfriend. She's had a rocky romantic history - she admittedly has trust issues - but is happy and secure in her relationship with Kevin...until the day he blindsides her with the news that he wants her to move out so he can move on with his new love: her sister, Alice! Lucy moves in with friends and attempts to heal from this double betrayal. As you can imagine, this is the worst possible time for a new man to enter her life which is, of course, when she meets Sam Nolan.
A local vineyard owner and wine maker, Sam is one of the good guys. With a hunky body, nerdy brain, great sense of humor and heart as big as the ocean, he's a loyal friend, generous lover and dedicated bachelor. Growing up with alcoholic parents has soured him on marriage and convinced him that he's not husband and father material though anyone who observes him with the young orphaned niece he's helping to raise would disagree. Still, it's what Sam believes that drives his life and, ultimately, his relationship with Lucy.
When Lucy is injured in an accident and her friends are unable to care for her, Sam brings her to recover at the house he shares with his brother and niece. The enforced proximity gives Lucy and Sam the opportunity to get to know one another without the expectations or pressures of a dating relationship. As their friendship deepens; as secrets are revealed and dreams are shared, their feelings for one another also grow and deepen, with vastly different reactions. Will they be able to overcome beliefs and fears deeply rooted in their childhood experiences and give love a chance?
One of the things I most enjoy about Lisa Kleypas is her ability to create realistic family relationships. Sam and Lucy are products of their family experiences, both good and bad. Issues are not sugar coated but are expertly woven into the fabric of their lives, making them complex, interesting people. I liked them both. I ached for them, laughed with them; cheered for the fulfillment of their dreams, their love, their happiness.
The secondary characters only add to the charm and complexity of this story. From goodhearted bikers to loyal girlfriends to family members who we love even when we don't like them very much; they add depth to the story while providing insight into the two main characters. I hope we'll see some of them again in Crystal Cove, Sam's younger brother, Alex's story.
From the setting to the characters to the touch of magic that filled my heart with a sense of wonder, Rainshadow Road has earned a place on my keeper shelf where, like a treasured friend, it will be valued and visited often.
Disclaimer: I am one of "Lisa's Divas" - a group of select fans who share info and content related to Lisa's novels and get sneak peeks and swag. However, every review that I write, whether I purchase the book or receive an advance copy from the author or publisher, reflects my unbiased opinion.