Several months ago, this pedometer geek reader was fortunate to receive a personalized autographed copy of Behold A Rainbow as a Shelf Awareness Book Buzz giveaway. Susan Lovell, the author, indicated that it was the second book, the first being The Sandpiper. Thus, while the review that follows is, for the most part, about Behold A Rainbow, both will be extensively reviewed here. Having tried to read the one without the other, there were enough veiled references from the first that only left this reader confused (and wanting to know the whole story).
Behold A Rainbow
By Susan Lovell
Published by KRisSCroSS Press, 2015
Lovell’s The Sandpiper and Behold A Rainbow are two novels that are all about the lives of the three Cameron women: Ellie, Kate, and Jamie. One is an alcoholic; one is a perfectionist; one is a widowed single mother. In addition there is Nina Judd, who figures prominently in both novels as well.
Both of these novels are all about family relationships: that of mother-daughter, between siblings, and with extended family. They are also about secrets kept and secrets released, all in the name of love.
In The Sandpiper, sisters Kate and Jamie deal with issues stemming from their past which intrude into their present. Big sister Kate has protected her younger sister Jamie since birth. So much has gone on in their lives that Kate has become a perfectionist succeeding in all she attempts except for the one thing she desires most: to have a baby with her husband Peter, an orthopedic surgeon. Infertility plagues the pair, but no one knows; to the couple, particularly Kate, it is a shameful secret that must be kept a secret.
Jamie is the screw-up in the family. She is an alcoholic, albeit a recovering alcoholic and addict, who has recently returned home to care for her dying aunt. For her, it is truly ‘one day at a time’ as she spends some of each day at AA meetings with her sponsor Gloria. Added to her screw-up status, she is also pregnant and is looking for options, options that wouldn’t necessarily please her family; thus another secret.
Ellie, as their mother, has had her own issues over the years. Losing the love of her life when Kate was very young as well as being pregnant with Jamie at the time has made her life difficult. Yet her adoption by the resilient English teacher, Nina Judd, has given her and her daughters stability. Forging a new family of sorts, the two women have a friendship that transcends DNA. Nina becomes a guardian angel, an aunt, a sister, and a sounding board for them all.
In the end, choices and events plague all four of these women, but together, with love, they can accomplish just about anything.
Picking up five years after its predecessor, Behold A Rainbow continues the story of the Cameron women (and the people in their lives). Ellie, Kate, and Jamie still have problems. (Hey, it’s life…and life is not always rosy.) Some are ongoing problems while others are new.
Jamie is still dealing with her recovery, but now has become an addiction counselor in her own right. She is also the single mother of a precocious daughter, Nina, who calls herself Minka.
Kate and Pete still are dealing with infertility issues. While each new IVF treatment brings hope, there is always the looming reality that a pregnancy won’t occur. And if pregnancy doesn’t produce a baby, what next for the couple.
Ellie has finally had some financial easing, but dealing with a diagnosis of breast cancer brings to the forefront how fragile happiness can be. Still, each of these women of Spring Port, Michigan (on the coast of Lake Michigan) looks for the rainbow after the rain. They remain optimistic, feeling the influence of Nina, despite all that life throws at them.
Poignant and heartwarming, both books are women’s fiction. Each made this reader smile, weep, and root for all of the characters, especially Jamie, Kate, Ellie, and Nina. The stories are a realistic look about overcoming the various stumbling blocks of life as well as celebrating the victories, both small and large, that occur along the way.
While it would be possible to read the second novel without having read the first, it would be more difficult to understand. The author reminds the reader by referencing past events, but it would not be nearly as satisfying as reading them both, and in the order written. Overall, these two are worth reading, and either or both would also make great choices for a women’s book club.
It should be noted that there were some small editing issues (missed quotation marks, missed periods, misspellings), but nothing that caused a difficulty in understanding the story.
By the way, to this reader’s recollection, there were no green-eyed characters or other obvious What-the-tuck trends except for, perhaps, Ellie tucking her grand-daughter’s hair behind her hair.
Although given a copy of the novel Behold a Rainbow, that in no way affected this review; in fact, in order to read The Sandpiper, this reader purchased a Kindle copy through Amazon.