The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas | Historical Fiction Review

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Book review disclosure.

Historical Fiction

In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water, 
In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through

Judd Markley knows he can never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life means leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world is all he knows, he puts it behind him and heads for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more--maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there--until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together--or maybe, it will take a miracle.

Read an excerpt.

My Thoughts

I have been reading and enjoying Sarah Loudin Thomas' books from the beginning. When I saw that The Sound of Rain was available I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. If you've read her works you know that the stories are mostly set in West Virginia. Through her words I've fallen in love with West Virginia even though I've never set foot in that state.

The Sound of Rain begins deep in a coal mine of West Virginia. The opening scene made me catch my breath. I'm not going to spoil the effect by talking about it but let's just say that my admiration of coal miners and the risks they encounter every day has gone up considerably. 

Judd Markley is our main character and after a life-changing event he chooses to leave the mountains of West Virginia and make his way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I love South Carolina and Sarah's descriptive words capture the essence of the place perfectly. 

In South Carolina Judd trades in his minor's hat for a logger's chainsaw. Another fascinating job with a lot of risk involved. Shortly after arriving in Myrtle Beach Judd meets Larkin Heyward who just happens to be the daughter of the logging company's owner. The Heyward family appears to be a pillar of the community but underneath the surface are hurts that have torn the family apart. 

The stories of Judd and Larkin continue to intersect in ways that Judd never intended but the draw of Larkin continues to bring him back again and again. I enjoyed going on this journey with them. Sarah's writing is very emotional which takes the story beyond the surface and goes deep to the root of the situation. 

At the end of the book I wasn't ready for the story to be over. To me that's the sign of a good book. I'm hoping that we'll get to travel back in time and revisit this beautiful place and these interesting people again in a future book.

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Sarah Loudin Thomas
Photo Credit: © Kristen Delliveniri

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