on 20 February 2014
The two main characters, Al recently divorced, father and grandfather, is in a relationship with a younger woman and Kate, a recent widow with an elderly mother, a sister and a daughter.
These two characters meet due to family ties and we follow their story and the roller coaster of their relationship. Things are further complicated by Al and his brother’s long running feud or vendetta and there is always more to things than meets the eye.
There is judicial use of a swear word but always in context and exactly as would be said in those particular circumstances so this doesn’t detract from the book at all.
Al is a loveable rogue and quite endearing. He doesn't always get things right but his emotions are genuine and true and he feels he doesn't deserve happiness. For example: ‘he’d fallen so very hard for her but then he’d needed, felt compelled almost, to give her a chance to walk away. Like all the other women in his life.’
Jan writes in a way that enables you to see the settings she is describing, idyllic settings but then we get the very real down-to-earth, matter of fact, reality of life and what it is really like in the hard graft of today’s world: ‘Al went to the dirty window and looked across the greening paddocks to the outline of Snowdon’s foothills, disappearing to a distant haze beneath a sharp blue sky. Closer to home, the broken concrete yard was full of weeds, but they were flowering and it managed to soften all the edges of neglect. Elderflower was especially profuse, foaming over the walls and fences, highlighted with long tendrils of wild honeysuckle and old roses.’
I’m so glad I found Jan Ruth. It was a pleasure to read this book.
This is what I call a real book with real people.
on 17 July 2015
This book was recently entered and was a finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title Silver Rain
Author: Jan Ruth
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 29
‘I thought this was a charming story. I enjoyed the fact the characters were not too young; subsequently they were interesting and complicated. The setting is well described and important to the story. Very enjoyable.’ Female reader, aged46
‘This is predominantly a romance and a very good one too. The author’s writing style is lovely; it flows well and she works hard to bring the characters to life.’ Male reader, aged 48
‘There are a lot of twists to this story and the family life of the two characters was interesting. I liked the setting very much. Although the two central characters were well formed, I actually liked the brother, George, the most. I’d recommend this book to anybody looking for a sweet, well-told, often romantic, story.’ Female reader, aged 49
‘Al is fantastic. A bit of a scoundrel, sort of reminded me of Han Solo!’ Female reader, aged 37
Writing Style 10/10
Of the 29 readers:
28 would read another book by this author.
26 thought the cover was good or excellent.
18 thought the best part of the story was the characterisation.
11 thought the best part was the setting.
‘A compelling story populated with wonderfully well-rounded characters. A finalist and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards
on 7 July 2014
Jan Ruth’s novels are all set in one of my most favourite parts of the world, so before we get onto plot and characterisation we’re already onto a winner for me.
Protagonists, Kate and Al are poles apart as people and yet similar in many ways. Both approaching middle age, with the baggage and trauma that comes with extended families. Sensible, mature Kate is the antithesis of reckless, immature Al and yet … and yet …
It’s a clichéd love story in many ways … but without any of the clichés. Instead there are lots of secrets, intrigues, twists and turns along the way – guided by what feels a very competent author’s hand. It’s impossible not to bond with both of the lead characters, and like them as much for their flaws and failings as for their strengths. Somehow the fact we see both sides of their personalities makes them all so much more believable. Even the side characters – Fran, Jo, George and Maisie in particular – all leap from the page fully-formed and crystal clear.
The author uses her knowledge and love of Snowdonia and North Wales to full effect, not relying on postcard views to strengthen the scene, but showing us the area is all of its guises, from swollen rivers to windswept beaches to cloud-topped mountain landscapes.
Contemporary women’s fiction is not usually top of my reading pile but I loved this book. It was the first book I’d read by this author, but having sped through the novel in three sittings, I can’t wait to try another!
on 10 August 2014
I was drawn to this novel, my introduction to Jan Ruth’s work, for its evocative Welsh setting but it was the strength of the characters which kept me reading. Al, the once silver-tongued charmer wondering how to take charge of his life again could have been infuriating, but he’s painfully, endearingly aware of his short-comings. And if anyone deserves happiness it’s widowed, put-upon, complicated Kate - if only she can let go of her own guilt. Kate and Al’s story is set against the backdrop of their extended families; their coming together gradually causes years of intrigue and secrecy to be laid bare. Jan Ruth writes beautifully; in less capable hands, Al and Kate and their messy, realistic lives could have made for a downbeat tale, but 'Silver Rain' is vivid, optimistic and the characters have stayed with me. I’ll definitely be reading more work by this author!
on 20 February 2014
I have to say this is not my usual type of book, I mainly read thrillers urban fantasy horror, even cookbooks and travel books.The last book I read in this genre that I enjoyed as much as this one was a book called "After River" and it too was about complex and messy family relationships, that one was set in Canada, and this much closer to home in Wales.I liked the main characters here Kate and Al, and the animals I laughed at the names Butter and Marge, just brilliant.What I liked about this book was the characterisation and authenticity of the relationships it felt very real.I cared what happened to them and I am more than happy to put aside my usual genre to read a book like this and I would recommend this one.
on 2 September 2015
…about a week of my much-needed beauty sleep. To be fair, it's not all her fault, because I know very well that when I pick up one of her books, I'll have a long, hard struggle to put it down again until I've finished it. And 'Silver Rain' is no exception. In fact this author just continues to get better with each book she produces.
'Silver Rain' is Al and Kate's story, and though they've both waved goodbye to their forties, their love story is as fresh and poignant as Jack and Rose's or Romeo and Juliet's. They are both hugely likeable, though sometimes rather stubborn in their efforts to be sensible and act their age.
Al is immature, homeless, jobless, penniless, apparently sponging off his rather gorgeous, successful and much younger girlfriend. Not a very appealing image for a hero, maybe. But Al has a heart of pure gold, always willing to give up his last penny to anyone; he's deeply sensitive, a devoted father, fun and caring grandfather, sensitive brother-in-law, friend to humans and animals alike - well, just about everything to everyone - including those who definitely don't deserve it. He'll dress up as Freddie the clown and walk through a busy shopping mall to gatecrash Kate's place of work and bring a little birthday cheer. And okay, his escapade succeeds in losing Kate her job - but it's all about the thought, and it was a horrible job anyway.
Sensible Kate hides behind a tougher exterior, but she's a modern-day Anne Elliot, always there for everyone to take advantage of her (which they invariably do). It's a pleasure to see the way Kate develops as the story progresses, but difficult to want her to gain enough independence to allow her to cast off everyone around her.
And it’s the everyone around her (and Al) who colour the pages of this heart-warming story so beautifully. Jan Ruth has a wonderful way with characters that makes you recognise them, love them or hate them, but just want to know them. Take Kate's selfish and disreputable sister, her endearing elderly mother, or Al's outrageous soon-to-be-ex-wife and his nasty-minded brother, just to scratch the surface - you know you should, but you can't dislike them because they're all far too entertaining.
'Silver Rain' shows Jan Ruth's writing at its best. The wonderfully presented characters, familiar, rich Welsh backdrop and compelling storylines full of interest and intrigue all blend together to create the kind of story for which, well, quite frankly, if you like to read at bedtime, you'd better be prepared to give up sleep for several nights. But I promise you, it will be worth it.
on 5 January 2014
It took me a little longer to fall in love with naughty Al, than Ms. Ruth's other heroes. They are all delightfully flawed and none more so than silver-tongued Al. But it was hopeless, as I knew it would be, and by the end he'd won me over. Not just me either; sensible guilt-ridden Kate of the outsize conscience didn't have a chance. I'm not a regular romance fiction reader but I know good writing when I see it and this is great. Tight, nothing extraneous, emotional without soppiness, this is more real life than escapist romance and all the more involving for it. Nice too, that the protagonists aren't beautiful young things but mature people with more than their fair share of life experience. As always with this author, landscape is the background character and never disappoints. We even get a slice of New Zealand and it's just as convincing. All the minor characters are nicely fleshed out too but I especially loved the animals, particularly their names. For country lovers everywhere and lovers of good, characterful fiction, I recommend Silver Rain and all Ms.Ruth's books.
on 10 February 2014
Jan Ruth does it again. Complicated doesn't quite sum it up. The characters become your extended family - their turbulent relationships become your business. Sometimes you want to shake them, tell them to grow up and stop acting like idiots, but you can't help but warm to them.
This story is an endearing tale of two people daring to hope for love again. Will it be easy? Nah, of course not. Especially since lovable, immature, rogue Al is involved. Despite the fact that he clearly has his flaws, and is a deeply troubled soul, you can't help but root for him. Kate is a wonderfully real woman. I love the fact that she is SO real as well, and didn't just step out of a woman's glossy.
I really enjoyed this book. The twists and turns pile up. Life's issues snake around the major characters like a boa constrictor. Choking away and squeezing at their murky secrets until they explode in everyone's faces. By this point of course you are frantically turning the pages, desperate to know how it all pans out.
Lovely scenery and settings, as always. Like so many others have said, even the animals become solid characters in their own right. You are there with them all, up to the knees in mud and manure. Lugging horse tack and feed around with them while listening to their tales unfold.
Needless to say I highly recommend this book. It's brilliantly paced, with gritty, believable dialogue and interactions against a beautiful backdrop. Read it, you won't regret it.
on 13 November 2014
This is the third book I’ve read by this author and she truly never fails to deliver a rattling good contemporary romance.
The stage is set;
Going through a divorce from his wife, Helen, lovable rogue, Al, is going out with Jo who is little older than his daughter. Virtually homeless, because he has to sell his house to give his wife the lion’s share, Al turns up at his brother George’s home (which Al half owns). Al’s arrival is far from welcome, as there is an ongoing feud between Al and his brother due to something Al did, years ago, which George has never forgiven him for. It isn’t long before the cracks become chasms in Al’s relationships with his brother and his girlfriend.
Along comes Kate for a ‘holiday’. She is recently widowed from a husband she didn’t love and friend to George’s wife, Fran. George and Fran’s marriage seems to be going down the pan since Al’s arrival, and Fran is struggling to cope. Kate helps out – it isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday but it is a welcome break from helping her mother, who seems to be going dotty in her dotage, and Kate’s selfish, immature sister, AnneMarie.
Al is in love with Jo, isn’t he? So why is he so attracted to Kate, despite all his efforts not to be? As George and Fran’s relationship goes from bad to worse, how much is Al to blame? Kate fancies the pants off him but what if he is nothing more than a heartbreaker? As family secrets begin to surface and tensions mount, the growing attraction between Al and Kate becomes an emotional roller-coaster.
As always with Jan Ruth, the characters are brought to life with immense credibility and their predicaments so real that you can totally relate and feel a rapport with them. Add to all that the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia and you have a great read.
on 11 February 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which despite a conventionally romantic title turned out to be if not an unconventional love story, one which is definitely grounded in the realities of everyday life with complex and totally believable characters caught up in blended (and mostly awkward) families with a welter of modern-day problems to address. I like that the North Wales small-holding where our main characters meet is no rural idyll but at best ‘gloriously messy’ and at worse hopelessly chaotic. I could not only picture the house but smell it too! I like that Kate doesn’t work in a boutique or even an office but in a depressing and immediately recognisable discount store where I have probably shopped myself.
But if situations are mundane the writing is not, and I was constantly struck by the lyricism of the language used to bring a landscape to life or to add a gentle nuance or a touch of wit to our understanding of what’s going on.
I really related to Kate with her demanding mother, feckless sister and the worry of a daughter who is too old to be given advice. And it’s a lovely touch that the daughter (I could hear her voice!) comes up trumps when Kate herself is looking for help. Al, perhaps the real focus of the book, I found harder to get to know, but then I think his unpredictability is part of his charm. A lovable joker and born womaniser we gradually discovers all the secrets he has been hiding as well as a few which have been hidden from him. This complex set of circumstances is expertly orchestrated by the author to keep us interested every inch of the way.
This book was very good company and I was happy to have a long journey on which to finish it. I don’t often choose overtly ‘romantic’ fiction but this was my kind of love story.