Since this is the season of good cheer, it seems appropriate to review a book that embodies the season's message of hope, and forgiveness.
Tucker Mason (Tuck) is a world-renowned photographer who puts all his energies in his work, staying on the road and hardly ever returning home. A chance encounter with a woman who is fleeing from a traumatised marriage, along with her child, changes the direction of Tuck's life. The woman turns out to be Katie, the childhood friend and crush of Tuck. As Katie's child becomes close to Tuck and makes him a father-figure, Tuck starts seeing himself in the young child. As a child, Tuck too had been brutally abused by his father, the business mogul, Rex Mason.
In fact, the only thing that Rex did right was to hire Miss Ella Rain as his housekeeper. The warm, matronly woman gave Tuck, and his step-brother, Matthew (Mutt), the love and time that their own father did not. The boys - both motherless- were brought up by Ella who continued to shower them with love despite being at the receiving end of Rex's wrath herself.
However, despite her best efforts, the boys grow up damaged. Tuck has become a loner who fears getting close to people while Mutt has been confined to a mental institution for the greater part of his adult life. Now with Katie re-entering Tuck's life, and Mutt's escape from the institution, Tuck has to decide whether he is ready to take on their responsibility. And the path is not easy. Katie is being chased by her enraged husband who will stop at nothing to claim her back while Mutt's mental condition is unpredictable. But there is Miss Ella's voice to guide Tuck and her advice to Tuck given to Tuck after one brutal beating too many, still rings in his ears:
"Tucker, I want to tell you a secret. Life is a battle, but you can't fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart."
And then of course, there is the biggest question of them all: would Tuck be able to forgive his father, now suffering from Alzheimer, and confined to a Home for the Old?
Charles Martin's book is one of those feel-good books that renew one's hope in humanity and the power of love and redemption. There are certain points that are a little overdone: Katie's bully of a husband, and the Eucharist ceremony at the church but overall this is a lovely book. The relationship between the step-brothers with its attendant tension and dependency is endearing as is their relationship with Ella Rain. Some minor characters like Ella's brother Mose (who is the kind of doctor I'd love to find in these days) and the Judge at the Old People's Home too are memorable.
Curl up in a chair with a cup of tea (or warm cocoa), hear the chimes of the bell, read this book, and be grateful for all the small pleasures of life.
First Line: WHEN THE ACHE WOKE ME, I POKED THE TIP OF MY NOSE out from under the covers and pulled my knees hard into my chest where my heart hung pounding like a war drum.
Title: Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home
Author: Charles Martin
Publication Details: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005
First Published: 2005
Other Books read of the Same Author: None
The book can be purchased on the Net. I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary copy of it from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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