Monday, 30 April 2018

Things To Do When It's Raining

Finished April 26
Things To Do When It's Raining by Marissa Stapley

This novel was inspired by the author's grandmother's history. It is a story that draws on some of the elements of her grandmother's life for inspiration, but it is not a story of her grandmother.
There are multiple storylines here. One is the story of Mae Summers, a young woman who has been living in New York City, and has recently discovered that her fiance was not the man he thought she was, and who feels guilt about not picking up on some of the clues to just what was happening. Nearly broke, and with no place to live, she decides to return to Alexandria Bay, the small upstate town she grew up in. Mae was raised by her maternal grandparents, after her parents died when she was a young child. Her grandparents ran an inn there.
Another storyline is that of Gabe Broadbent, also from Alexandria Bay. Gabe was raised by his father after his mother ran off, and his father had issues. Soon after Mae's parents died, her grandparents also took on Gabe's upbringing, although he still had regular contact with his dad.
A rift between Gabe and Mae's family, created by her grandparents' reaction to something has led Gabe to a new life elsewhere. Now that his marriage has ended, he is at loose ends. When he gets a call about his father's precarious health, he realizes that he can do his freelance graphic work anywhere, and he goes back upstate to see what is up with his dad.
Mae's grandparents are also undergoing some changes. A thoughtless slip by her grandmother has led to her grandfather leaving the inn and staying at a nearby motel. But her grandmother is keeping a secret, one that she really should tell, but that she is in denial about, waiting for confirmation on.
As these stories converge, and we see back into Mae's grandparents' story, and the story of both Mae's parents and Gabe's parents, we become more aware of the power of narratives.
The title is based on a list created by Mae's mother when she was a teenager, a list of things for guests of the inn to do when it is raining. The ideas from that are wide-ranging, and show the sense of fun her mother had.
This is a story of families, both blood and otherwise, and about the power of choice.

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