Sunday, January 1, 2012

Early Review of Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, #2) by Lisa Kleypas

'She'd lost her home, her boyfriend, and her sister in one afternoon.'

They say that how you handle yourself in your darkest moments defines you. Lucy had just had her boyfriend, make that former boyfriend, tell her things were over. He had a lovely speech all ready, and then at the end, he oh so delicately (Not!), told her things might get a little awkward because he'd been seeing her sister, and she'd be moving to Friday Harbor and into their house to live with him.

Perhaps her sister fancied herself Alice from Wonderland and thought to step through the looking glass and into her sister's life? Heck, her name was Alice, but as most people know, Wonderland might be a nice place to visit, but it's not some place you want to stay. Plus, a relationship whose beginnings are based on lies and deceit usually doesn't last.

As Lucy contemplated the information that had just been divulged to her, she found herself taking her bike and mindlessly riding a trail by the ocean until she could go no farther and her thoughts caught up with her.

"Closing her hand around the piece of sea glass, she looked out at the water lapping against the shore in rough frothy blankets. The ocean was a bruised gray, the color of regret and resentment and the deepest kind of loneliness. The worst part about having been deceived the way she had been was it made you lose faith in yourself. When your judgement was that wrong about something, you could never be fully certain of anything ever again. 

Her fist was burning, a knot of fire. Feeling an odd squirming tickle against her palm, she opened her fingers reflexively. The sea glass was gone. In its place a butterfly rested on her palm, unfolding iridescent blue wings."

Do you believe in magic?

'Rainshadow Road' takes place approximately 4 months after 'Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor'. Ms. Kleypas has once again created a beautiful and touching love story. This one, however, has a magical twist--the main character has a magical affinity with glass. Lucy is the older sister, by two years, to Alice. When her sister was 5 she contracted meningitis. After she recovered, her parents spoiled Alice giving her free range and pretty much anything she wanted. So close to 20 years later it wasn't a total surprise, as shocking as it was, that she'd think she was entitled to her sister's boyfriend. It was during that same year that Alice had taken ill that Lucy discovered her magical affinity to glass. When her sister had broken Lucy's glass sculpture, the pieces turned into lightening bugs as her emotions rose.

One of the things I love about this story is the symbolism associated with each creature Lucy magically creates, whether it is stated or not. In the first chapter (which may end up becoming a prologue), Lucy's father profoundly states that a lightening bug is an ordinary looking creature, but "the darkness brings out its most beautiful gift." I think a lightening bug would definitely represent Lucy and her abilities and would probably be her totem animal. Likewise, a butterfly symbolizes "acceptance of each new phase in life. To keep faith as everything around you changes." That is definitely what Lucy needed to know when she found herself on the beach shortly after Kevin dropped his bomb.

As I stated in my 'teaser' book description, the way you handle yourself in your darkest moments is said to define you. Lucy handled herself much better than I would have. She didn't attempt revenge verbally or physically by destroying something of either her former boyfriend's of 3 years or her sister's. While she let her sister know she was not okay with her steeling her boyfriend, she did use a touch of colorful language to make her point, but who could blame her?

I loved how Lisa wove into the story little bits of information about the island's history. I had never heard of the Pig War prior to reading about it in this book. Plus, I wonder if the story she included about the woman who married the sea was her own invention or truly a bit of island lore? I'm a sucker for  a good folklore story and even took a class on it when I was in College. I have to admit the tale reminded me a little of the lore about Selkies.

Sam, what can I say except I just love the man? We learn more about how bad the family life was for the young Nolan children and how it effected all three Nolan brothers. He grew up in an environment where the primary person he could rely on was himself. One of the things that makes Lisa's stories so special is you know she has to have some knowledge of whatever subject matter she writes. In this case, it's about children who grow up after being raised by parents who suffer from alcoholism. I don't know where she gets her knowledge--if she does extensive research via psychology related material or if she studied psychology while in college. Whatever means she uses to get into the mindset of the characters she portrays, she magically transforms them from a one dimensional piece of paper with writing on it into a full blown three dimensional character you swear could be your next door neighbor. In the instance of 'Rainshadow Road', Sam denies how he feels about Lucy because it's not something he's ever pictured himself feeling for another individual. I liked how he had to overcome his fear of becoming attached to anyone. His trust issues stemming from what happened with his parents.

The relationship between Lucy and Sam starts out in a fun way. Moments after the scene where the sea glass transforms into a butterfly, Sam and Lucy meet. At first she worried he was a stalker, but gradually realizes they are just two people going the same direction at the same time. I liked how the two don't immediately become a couple but become one gradually, with a little nudge from a couple of friends. I thought it was a nice touch that Lucy was just as relationship shy as Sam due to her break up with Kevin and some experiences she'd had with some of her previous boyfriends. If Lucy had handled things differently, I think it would have taken a lot longer for Sam to realize his feelings for her. I loved how sparks ignited every time the two got close to each other and were not easily tamed. At the beginning interruptions seemed to be the norm and it was fun to see how the two handled things.

The book had two songs alternately dancing through my head as I read. The first being 'Magic' by Pilot, "Oh, oh, oh it's magic you know. Never believe it's not so." The second being 'Do You Believe in Magic' by Lovin' Spoonfuls, "Do you believe in magic in a young girls heart..." Of course if I had to pick a theme song for Kevin it would be 'Cold Hearted Snake' by Paula Abdul. Need I say more?

Some of my favorite quotes:
-"The problem with chasing after happiness was that it wasn't a destination you could reach. It was something that happened along the way."
-"Past experience had taught her that when you loved a man, you had to take him "as is," knowing that although you might be able to influence some of his habits or his taste in neckties, you would never be able to change who he really was deep down."

On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed and are grinning from ear to ear. Overall, this one get 5 out 5 roses. I thought it was a great combination of romance, drama, and whimsy.

Notes to keep you in the know:
- "The very savvy Native Americans approached the realm of animals from a position of honor - knowing that all things are connected. They understood that seeing the bat with fear in the heart would be the same as being terrified of their own children. Ridiculous.
The Native American animal symbolism of the bat comes from a keen observation of this magnificent animal. These people recognized that the bat was highly sensitive to their surroundings and so therefore was considered a symbol of intuition, dreaming and vision. This made the bat a powerful symbol for Native American shamans and medicine people. Often the spirit of the bat would be invoked when special energy was needed, like "night-sight" which is the ability to see through illusion or ambiguity and dive straight to the truth of matters." (Gotten from

-"Hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When the hurt that caused us to close our hearts gets a chance to heal, our hearts are free to open again." (Gotten from
-"In ANIMAL SPEAK, Ted Andrews says hummingbirds teach us how to draw the life essence from flowers. "They can teach us how to use flowers to heal and win hearts in love." Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one really gets hurt. They teach us simple courage. Andrews says the twittering, vibrating sounds of the hummingbirds bring us an internal masage that restores health and balance." (Gotten from

The following images of Friday Harbor that I found on Photobucket. After seeing these pictures I can see why Lisa was inspired to write about this place. It does seem like a place anything could happen even something magical.

Order of Series:

2) Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor) (Coming February 28, 2012)
3) Crystal Cove (Coming tentatively August 7, 2012)
4) Dream Lake (Coming tentatively February 13.2013)

Disclaimer: I am one of Lisa's Divas and receive benefits such as this ARC to read and swag. For more information on what being one of Lisa's Divas entails, see my disclaimer page or visit Lisa Kleypas' webesite at


  1. I am so moving to Friday Harbor..

    Excellent review.. I am a bit in awe of your words.. you really spin a story within a story.. My review goes up on the 7th..

    I have been away from Lisa for a while and this story has just brought me back in and yes it was the magic.. the magic of Lisa

  2. Thank you so much Shauni and I agree I love Kleypas' writing and it is pure magic. :)

    I try to capture the essence of the book in my reviews and try to stay away from using the publisher provided synopsis. I've encountered a couple that were a little off with what they said and some which I felt didn't do the book justice.


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