The Truth about Love & Lightning, by Susan McBride.
Gretchen had spent way too much time ruminating over the choices she'd made. It had taken years before she'd finally accepted that Sam wasn't coming back, that Annika had flown the coop, and she was on her own, caring for a child, a farm, and her sisters, too. Must we live our lives in hindsight? she wanted to ask. Wasn't it enough to e right where they were, to accept their lot and move forward? Or was she lying to herself, believing she could ever forget the mistakes she'd made and never ever dwell on the past?
Little Black Dress, among others, which I reviewed back in 2011. I also got the chance to interview her via email then as well. It comes to no surprise to me, then, that I liked The Truth about Love & Lightning - McBride is an excellent storyteller and this novel is no exception.
After discovering that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's child, Abby Brink returns home to the family farm on a day of a twister, only to discover a mysterious man, struck by lightning - who might be the father she's wished would reappear in her life for years. Gretchen Brink must now care for her newly-returned daughter, and for the mysterious stranger who may be the man Abby believes to be her father - all while nursing a lie that could shatter her relationship with her family, or make it stronger than ever.
I really liked how this book went back and forth between time periods. It starts in the present, in 2010, when The-Man-Who-Might-Be-Sam shows up at their door after a tornado passes through the area. Gretchen and Sam had a friendship of sorts when they were in high school, and when she got pregnant with Abby, she told everyone that the baby was his; he had taken off for Africa at that point, to volunteer, and was never seen from again after that - everyone assumed he had died there. The baby was NOT Sam's, however, but it was far more acceptable for Gretchen to say that it was then to tell the truth, which we don't learn until about midway through the book.
Meanwhile, Abby, Gretchen's daughter, returns to the farm from Chicago for a visit, and she is now pregnant, by her boyfriend who she recently broke up with. She's 39, though, and is going to keep the baby; it's up to Nathan whether he wants to be involved in her life or not.
I liked this novel a lot, and it was a quick read. We learn about Hank Littlefoot, Sam's grandfather, who was a Native American rainmaker - he was able to compel rain to fall from the sky, though it took a great toll on him. Sam later finds out that he has the same birthmark as his grandfather, and that he has this gift to create rain as well but that, like Hank, it takes a major toll on his body and mind.
My only complaint with this book is that I felt the ending wrapped up a little too neatly, even though it was heading in that direction throughout the novel.
The Truth About Love & Lightning will be in stores on February 12th. 3.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.