The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a very good book. A quick read and a good story....almost a murder mystery, who-dun-it kind of book. A book club could have some very interesting discussions about this book.
The main character is Jody Linder, granddaughter of the wealthiest, most influential family in the county. When Jody was 3, her father was killed and her mother disappeared, never to be seen again. The man convicted was a nearby neighbor and disgruntled former worker on the Linder family ranch. His son, Collin, is just few years older than Jody, and they cross paths frequently, though they work hard at pretending they don't.
Skip forward 23 years. The convict is released from prison, when his son, now a lawyer, manages to raise reasonable doubt about his father's guilt, and the governor, who is NOT a fan of the Linders, commutes his sentence. This throws the town into turmoil, with some people advocating vigilante justice, others questioning whether the wrong man was convicted, still others convinced the wrong man was convicted, but that it's ok.....because he was a bad guy anyway!
Jody now struggles to understand what happened that stormy night 23 years ago, and where her mother might be now.
(update April 2011)
I just finished reading this book for the 2nd time for my book club discussion. It is just as good as the first time. I'm upping my rating to 5-stars!)
I am also sharing the discussion questions with you.
- The Scent of Rain and Lightning revolves around the theme of revenge. What does this novel tell us about the nature of revenge?
- The theme of forgiveness also plays a large role in the novel. How does the story reveal the challenges of forgiveness? Are the characters clearly in one camp or the other (revenge or forgiveness)? If so, how would you divide them? And which characters, if any, bridge these emotions?
- What role does the community play in Billy’s conviction? Can it be held culpable?
- How does the author use weather and landscape as symbols in her writing?
- Why does Pickard title her novel as she does? What is the meaning behind it?
- Having read the novel, do you think it’s better or worse to live in a small town when dealing with a personal tragedy?
- What is the significance of the Testament Rocks?
- The Linders are portrayed as being the most influential family in the county. Do you think their power corrupted them in any way? Do you think they tried to be good people?
- Even with the best intentions, good people can make terrible mistakes. Do you think the Linders had good intentions? At what points did those intentions go wrong?
- What clues in the book led you to guess the true identity of the killer? Who do you think the real murderer is?
- Do you think Pickard laid sufficient groundwork for the discovery of the killer’s identity to be believable? Can a person really hide their true character from so much family so successfully for so many years?
- Now that the truth is known, do you think that Jody Linder and Collin Crosby can ever truly be together?
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