BookBrowse Reviews Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Rain Village

by Carolyn Turgeon

Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon X
Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Oct 2006, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Turgeon's quirky first novel explores the power of secrets and how happiness is found in searching for truth

From the book jacket: Young Tessa is a diminutive girl, far too small for farm work and the object of ridicule by both her own family and the other children in their isolated Midwestern community. Her father seems to believe in nothing beyond his crops, certainly not education for his misfit daughter. When a mysterious, entrancing librarian comes to town, full of fabulous stories, earthy wisdom and potions for the lovelorn, she takes Tessa under her wing, teaching her to read and to believe in herself—and a whole new magical world of possibilities opens up.  But even as she blooms, Tessa’s father begins sexually abusing her. And her mentor carries a dark secret of her own that finally causes her to drown herself. Tessa runs off, following Mary’s footsteps, to join the circus as a trapeze artist but she remains haunted by her past.

Comment: Like Water for Elephants, Carolyn Turgeon's first novel is set in the early 20th century during the golden era of the circus.  Her heroine is inspired by Lillian Leitzell, a famous Ringling Bros trapeze artist who was apparently the first performer in history to command her own private Pullman car (complete with its own baby grand piano).  However, Turgeon is quick to point out that Tessa is inspired by, not based on, Lillian - they do share certain characteristics but this is a wholly original story, not a fictionalized version of Lillian's life.  This is also a book about books and the power that they can wield, especially in the hands of an inspirational librarian, which will likely make it a popular hand-sell for booksellers (it's already been selected as a BookSense pick).  It's also a book about growing up different and finding out where you belong - and that dreams can come true.

As a first novel, Rain Village is worthy of note and bodes well for Turgeon in the future.  However, it is not without its flaws; the initially invigorating plot seems to peter out into magical realism towards the end which, in the context of a storyline that up until that point had been based more or less in reality, seemed to be an odd direction to veer off into so firmly.

This review is from the November 12, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.