(Acquired: Blog contest by Rachelle Arlin Credo at http://zyphe.blogspot.com/)
Albert’s Rain was not quite what I was expecting, something I’m a bit grateful for because it ended up reminding me of a type of book I used to read but which dropped off the map.
I know Annette Snyder through one of the writers groups I belong to which is how I heard of the blog contest. However, on the group, Snyder has mostly mentioned romance novels, making me think this would be genre romance. The back of the book also supports that impression with statements like, “Can Albert’s heart transcend language and barriers of repression and allow Rayna close?” Now I’m not saying the book does not have love within the story, because it does, but rather that the heart of the story is not two people overcoming barriers to come together.
No, Albert’s Rain has no simple focus on the heart but rather speaks to the tangled web of emotions and reality that beset those confined to slavery before and during the Civil War. While I’m no historian and so cannot speak to the historical accuracy, this novel gave a very realistic seeming portrayal of a man who had set his heart on freedom and constructed his life to allow for no distractions from that goal. But everything changes when he crosses paths with a woman who has recently been torn from her island home and thrust into a life of slavery and of being owned that is as alien as the tongue everyone else around her speaks.
I studied literature in college with a focus on minority and women’s lit. This book would have been comfortably tucked into any of my reading piles with its use of the rain as a harbinger of change and the way one man has to look beyond a strong and true desire to change his fate to accept responsibility for those around him.
Anyway, it’s a powerful read that evokes both the cruelty and the compassion of that difficult time in US history through the eyes of a man and woman who come from different beginnings but find themselves joined by circumstance long before they admit there’s more holding them together than just proximity.