First, the clouds…
Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.
Then the storm…
On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.
And after the rain…
Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?
What a delightful novel!
I’m not going to lie, it was the cat and dog on the cover of this novel that did it the most and made me choose to read this. Much to my surprise the pets in this novel, cat Sybil and dogs Branston and Lloyd actually steal the limelight. This novel is so much about our four-legged companions!
Tara works at the local Wellness Centre as a consultant along with lots of other therapists with other specialties. At times it looked more as if she was working at a vet’s office instead because David, another therapist, seems to be quite the pet whisperer. It seems to be helping their owners with their therapy though so he puts his skills into good use.
Tara has a lot on her plate next to her work because her father who abandoned his family when she was a child unexpectedly shows up, wanting to be back in her life and he offers to help rebuild the village hall, but can she really count on him or will he walk away again? She wants to discuss it with her brother Toby on the other side of the world but he’s not answering her calls most of the time and the guy she’s been seeing hasn’t been in touch for weeks either. So she unburdens to her colleague-therapist David, only to wonder the day after if that was such a good idea.
All of these different threads were well developed but the one involving her father Keith is the one that stays with me the most. Tara has hated her father for so long, her mother despised him from the day he left and now that she has to work on the same community project, it makes her feel confused. Her father plays a major part and there’s also a shocking discovery that she’s struggling with at first with but I don’t want to give it away, only that I enjoyed reading about her babysteps towards a better relationship with her family.
Now I did have to suspend some belief on this front with this added touch of magical realism but we’re talking cats and dogs here, so that’s one area that has my blessing, it didn’t bother me at all and I loved that David could somehow connect with animals.
There’s drama on lots of different fronts (there is a flooding after all), there’s suspicion about her father’s intention too but next to the more serious topics there’s also friendship and warmth and care to be found in this novel. This title, After The Rain, is so well chosen and resonates on so many levels.
I finished this novel with a happy and contented sigh and I definitely want to read more of her novels when I’m in need of another lift-me-up!
I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.