At just over 135 pages, Chance of Rain may not be the longest book I’ve read this year, but it packs a memorable punch with every word. With her lyrical imagery and carefully measured plot, Amber Lin tells the story of how a drought of the soul is no match for the power of love’s gentle rain.
Natalie and Sawyer had once been high school sweethearts, but when he ran away from his loveless home and left her and their small Texas hometown to join the Navy, she stayed behind. While Sawyer kept moving from place to place, Natalie remained in stasis even as her beloved Gram was lost to dementia, while somehow hoping that keeping Gram’s diner unchanged could help her keep hold of a life already lost.
When Sawyer returns to Dearling twelve years later to dispose of his late father’s farm, it's almost like he’s never left. Natalie is still the only woman who could convince him to stay in the place he claims to hate, yet he knows that he could only end up breaking her heart again. But Sawyer’s need to leave is no match for Natalie’s need for him to stay, as she opens her heart one last time for him to claim or reject.
What I love the most about Chance of Rain is how Amber Lin uses every word to build a whole world in the one small Texas town with stories and descriptions that put us there by showing instead of telling. We learn so much about not only our hero and heroine, but also the town, its more colorful members, and the environment which formed Natalie and Sawyer into the adults they have become in the years since they were together back in high school. The actions of the the characters ring true and provide a foundation for a well earned reconciliation by the time we reach their happy ending. A selfish part of me wishes there was more to read, but even if this is the only time we visit Dearling, Chance of Rain will always stand alone as a perfect jewel of romance. I wish more stories of this length were half as good.
The only things Natalie Bouchard wants to change are the weekly specials in her Gram's diner. So when her high school sweetheart strolls back into Dearling, Texas, she allows herself to indulge in a little flirtation, but that's as far as it goes.
Navy SEAL Sawyer Nolan has returned to sell his father's land and get the hell out, no matter how enticing he still finds Natalie. Until a storm rolls over the Texas hills, stranding them together at the farm…and the memories of their steamy past lead to a reunion filled with hot days and long nights.
Soon Natalie's so far under Sawyer's skin he can't imagine being without her. But he has a lot of history in Dearling he'd like to leave behind, and Natalie is practically married to this town. If Sawyer wants to be more than just another person who leaves Natalie, he'll have to give his hometown—and himself—one more chance.
48,000 words - Small Town Romance