Heaven Sent Rain
By Lauraine Snelling
Dinah Taylor has an orderly life that is just how she likes it. A perfectly furnished luxury apartment, a satisfying career as a scientist and CEO of her own company, and an uncomplicated personal life. But all of that changes when she meets seven-year-old Jonah.
The boy shows up one day, a scruffy dog by his side, in front of her office building. Dinah knows nothing about kids and even less about animals, but after she buys him breakfast, he shows up the next day...and the next. She tries to learn more about him, to help him, but he's remarkably skilled at evading her questions.
And then, late one night, he calls her in a panic-his dog has been badly injured. Dinah rushes them to a local animal clinic, where she meets Garret, a veterinarian with a thriving practice and a passion for drawing.
Though Jonah takes to Garret right away, for some reason neither understands, Dinah and Garret just don't mesh. But for Jonah's sake, their lives continue to collide, and slowly the relationship between these three strangers begins to change.
Heaven Sent Rain by falls into the category of one of my favorite genres, that of relationship drama - and from Dinah's first sighting of Jonah and his dog in the rain, this poignant story held my attention and captured my emotions. It's a story of three people who simply need each other. Lauraine's writing flows easily, the storyline is compelling, and her complex characters deal with real-life issues. I really enjoyed the scope and depth of Heaven Sent Rain.
Dinah and Garret were both unusual and fascinating characters to me. Dinah, a biochemist and president of her own dietary supplement company, had always been able to manage things on her own - but suddenly finds everything spinning out of control when Jonah comes into her life. Garret wore many hats - veterinarian, celebrity, cartoonist, animal rights activist, artist, strong in his faith - and I loved how he sketched portraits of children with their pets that he treated. There's also humor scattered throughout, like when Garret reflects about his own collection of pets, "No one knew how to get even like a cat." I adore cats and can totally relate to that! But it was young Jonah, forced to cope with a loss that no child should have to experience, who stole my heart as he brought the worlds of Garret and Dinah together.
At times, Dinah isn't the most likeable of characters, but she has a big heart for Jonah and that elevated her in my opinion. She had lost her faith at some point when life got tough, but we see a gradual transformation as she struggles with balancing family and career, and these words of wisdom from her beloved Gramma Grace come back to her:
"You can't outrun God. . . . His shoulders
are plenty broad enough to carry your anger
and He will always love you no matter what."
I loved the meaning behind the title, Heaven Sent Rain, for while it was raining when Dinah and Jonah met, a deeper spiritual meaning becomes obvious toward the end. One theme of this story is that God is always at work in our lives and that He often uses people. I found myself thinking back over the years at the people God has placed in my life . . . How did I receive them? With grateful acceptance or rejection? And did I even recognize that God had sent them to help?
There's romance in this story, but we don't see a lot of interaction between Garret and Dinah until the last half of the book. And much is left to our imagination between the last page and the epilogue - but that's okay, because it added to the realism and seemed to fit the narrative.
Heaven Sent Rain is a moving and heartwarming story, bittersweet yet humorous at times. I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it to all who enjoy character-driven inspirational fiction.
Lauraine Snelling has been writing since 1980, with over 65 books published, both fiction and non-fiction, historical and contemporary, for adults and young readers. Her books consistently appear on CBA bestseller lists, and have been translated into Norwegian, Danish, and German. A hallmark of her style is writing about real issues within a compelling story. Lauraine and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons, and live in the Tehachapi Mountains with a watchdog Bassett named Chewy.
Thank you to Amanda Dykes for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.