by Donna Milner (Quercus) ISBN: 978 1849 162326
There is something endearing about Donna Milner’s story telling. Perhaps it’s because she mainly uses the first person narrative, or seeks out bittersweet stories, but she always managed to create an emotional bond with the reader. She has a deft ear for dialogue, a gift for creating suspense and much compassion for her characters.
In her second novel, she tells the story of Ethie Coulter and her family in Canada. The shock of her mother’s death is almost too much for her to bear. Her father, never a warm-hearted Daddy figure, retreats into alcohol, leaving Ethie and her brother to fend for themselves.
But Ethie is brave and she wants to help her father come to terms with his past and heal her family. In flashbacks, we learn of her father’s horrific experiences in WW2, surviving an attack in Hong Kong and becoming a prisoner of war. He is haunted by this memories and this has changed the way he relates to his family.
The Promise of Rain is a poignant tale of pain, loss and hope that delivers a surprising but believable twist in the tale as Ethie’s father’s secret comes to light. It’s book for those who want to understand history and families a bit better.