06 November, 2012

Romance In The Rain Anthology: Book Tour Review

From the pioneer days of Seattle through the smoke-filled clouds of WWII and into the present, Romance in The Rain takes readers on a journey with four generations of the strong-willed and passionate Caldwell family. The anthology of six novellas is a collaboration of the Seattle-based Rainy Day Writers group.

Splendor in the Moss by Charlotte Russell—By the spring of 1853 Englishman James Caldwell has traveled thousands of miles in a quest to find a place to call home. Newly settled Seattle isn’t that place and he’s ready to move on again when widowed Mattie Jensen marches into his life as somber as a cloudy day. But James can see through the solemn haze to Mattie’s strength and passion. Now he has a reason to stay, if he can just convince Mattie to take a second chance on love—and him.

Final Approach by Marianne Stillings—With the world at war, Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Service pilot Lt. Charlene (Charlie) Thompson faces personal battles as well. Pearl Harbor left her a widowed bride, certain love would never come again – but battle-scarred Capt. Joe Caldwell has other ideas for the beautiful lady flyer, if he can just keep her safe from the secret saboteur who’s already taken the life of Charlie’s best friend.

Love Phantom by Dawn Kravagna—University of Washington, 1983: A great place to get an education and meet single men. Drama major Kara Caldwell prefers to hide behind the characters in her plays, yet feels pressure to live up to the example set by her brave and witty grandmother, a veteran of WWII. Can she learn to overcome her reticence and prejudices to discover which guy truly cares for her—and who is just putting on an act? (17,000 words)

What’s Wrong with Mr. Perfect? by Sherri Shaw—No sooner did Chef Ivy Turin wish to meet the perfect man than Sam Rockney walked into her restaurant. But is the sexy Seattle quarterback for real or is there something wrong with Mr. Perfect?

Shelter from the Storm by Clare Tisdale—Seven years and one broken heart later, JD Caldwell returns to Seattle to pick up the pieces of his old life, never imagining he will fall for Maya—the mysterious woman who lets him into her house and bed but keeps the door to her heart tightly closed. When their summer fling takes an unexpectedly serious turn and Maya gives him his walking papers, JD has to decide whether their love—and his legacy—is worth fighting for.

Aftershocks by Kristine Cayne—When Seattle is struck by a devastating earthquake, technical rescue firefighter Jamie Caldwell must save his estranged wife and daughter from the wreckage of a collapsed building. He’s defied the odds hundreds of times, but will his luck finally run out for good?

SPLENDOR IN THE MOSS kicks off the ROMANCE IN THE RAIN anthology. Each of the short story/novellas have a member of the Caldwell family and take place in Seattle, starting here in the 1800s. Both James (the Caldwell) and Mattie find themselves pioneers in a place that they would rather not be. Mattie hides behind a gruff exterior, and James more highborn English ways set him apart from the men that Mattie is used to.

Though there is an initial standoffishness to Mattie, I liked how her and James' relationship developed, and the historical time an setting was well done by Charlotte Russell. Seattle isn't often depicted in historical romances, so Russell's writing helped bring to life the northwest during the colonial settling.

2.5/3 star

FINAL APPROACH brings together Captain Joe Caldwell and Lieutenant Charlene Thompson in World War II, post-Pearl Harbor. Charlie is a fantastically tough pilot, with experience and skill. Marianne Stillings shines a light on the WAFS (Women's Auxillary Ferrying Service) during a time when women weren't allowed in the military, but all hands were needed to support the men in Europe.

Both of Stillings characters are scarred by their past, and the war that has made that past reality. Their relationship develops as they investigate a mysterious death. While the romance here was nice, what was really interesting to me was the setting.

3.5 star

LOVE PHANTOM is the first of the stories that starts in my lifetime (the 1980's). It takes place at the University of Washington, and has Kara Caldwell looking for love. Participating in drama, she tries to channel her fearless grandmother when navigating the new world of university.

In first person, the narrative is limited to Kara's point of view, however this also serves to show the reader her confusion, doubt, curiosity and determination, especially when it comes to possible love interest, Ellis.

3 star

WHAT'S WRONG WITH MR. PERFECT is one of my favorite stories in the collection. Chef Ivy is good with food, but not so good with men. Sam Rockney, a professional football player, seems to garner attention wherever he goes -luckily his fame thwarts a robbery of the two- but being Ivy's perfect man might be too much to ask for.

The meet-cute that Ivy and Sam had, which won me over immediately, involved clumsiness and food-splattered clothing. I love this kind of first meeting, especially in romance. And truthfully, Sherri Shaw includes several other occurrences that perfectly illustrated the imperfectness of WHAT'S WRONG WITH MR. PERFECT.

3.5 star

In SHELTER FROM THE STORM, JD Caldwell and Maya meet and immediately fall into bed together. JD shows up at her place, expecting to crash with his friend, only to find that Maya kicked him out. Their relationship seems to be mostly sex -Maya's choice- and JD can't figure out how to penetrate the walls she has built.

JD is as interesting a character as Maya. One of the themes, aside from the Caldwell name and Seattle, that runs through these stories, is the fact that both male and female characters seem to have something that has soured them on emotional closeness or holds them back from love. SHELTER FROM THE STORM has one of the more interesting aspects of this, with JD issues with his family, and Maya's reluctance to make their relationship more than sexual gratification.

3.5 star

AFTERSHOCKS rounds out the collection, taking place in the slight future (2014) with firefighter Jamie Caldwell. Despairing of the arrangement that his estranged wife wants to make for the visitation of his daughter, and feeling as if he has been pushed out of their lives, Jamie's worst fears come about when he hears his wife and daughter are caught in a building collapse during an earthquake.

Erica is fed up with her soon-to-be-ex husbands unreliability and blames him for her an her daughter's dangerous predicament. The reader sees Erica and Jamie try to work out their marriage with first her rescue, and then their daughter's rescue as the backdrop. Kristine Cayne does a great job of delving into the insecurities and issues of a marriage in jeopardy, while also showing how two people can find their way back to each other, ending ROMANCE IN THE RAIN on a perfect note.

4 star

Overall Book Rating:

3.5 Star


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Rainy Day Writers:

Writing fiction is difficult and lonely and more often than not, the "normal" people in your life don't understand the writing process and can't fathom why you are possessed and obsessed with finding the perfect word or phrase that says exactly what you want to say right where you want to say it. Only other writers comprehend and accept that kind of torment.

To fill this need to surround herself with like-minded obsessive-compulsive self-doubting lunatics, in 2005, Marianne Stillings, who writes Romantic Suspense, established what came to be known as The Rainy Day Writers.

There were only two requirements for joining the group: You must be serious about writing and getting published, and any criticisms of co-members' work be honest, gentle, and kind.
Over the years, the membership has changed; some people moved on, others joined. The group we have now has been stable and constant since 2009. The Rainy Day Writers are a family.

Charlotte Russell joined the group in 2006 at the suggestion of a former member. Charlotte writes Historical Romance.

Dawn Kravagna became a member in the spring of 2007 because of a writers' list where Marianne had posted looking for new members. Dawn writes Comedy and Mystery.

In the Autumn of 2007, Sherri Shaw found her way to the group because she and Marianne happened to sit at the same table at the Emerald City Writer's Conference that year. Sherri writes Historical Romance and Paranormal Historical Romance.

Clare Tisdale joined in 2008 as the result of an email Marianne posted on the Greater Seattle Chapter Romance Writer's list seeking new members. Clare writes Contemporary Romance.

Kristine Cayne found the group in 2009 because she won Marianne's raffle basket at the Emerald City Writer's Conference that year. The basket included an offer to critique the winner's manuscript—an evaluation that resulted in an invitation to join. Kristine writes Romantic Suspense.


This book was provided by the Romantic Maidens Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review only


  1. Thank you so very much for featuring our anthology, Romance in the Rain, and for the reviews of each story. We had fun with the premise of the book, and hope readers will enjoy the stories as much as we enjoyed writing them. Thanks again!

    Rainy Day Writers

  2. Thanks for the review and for hosting us on your blog. We hope your readers will buy the book and really get to know the Caldwell family through the generations!


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