Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.
Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl–Rose–running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.
With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?
Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. Her first TV job came at WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC-TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP-TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award-winning SportsCenter. She finished her on-camera broadcasting career with a two-year stint as the studio host for the NBAs Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces. Her novels include: The Scent of Rain, Nothing But Echoes, and A Light in the Desert. Montgomery teaches journalism at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, is a foster mom to three sons, and is an Arizona Interscholastic Association football referee and crew chief.
It was the cover that first attracted me to this book, and the title intrigued me. I instantly thought of the welcoming smell of the rain, the way the earth responds to it after an arid and depressing time. You can almost hear it breathing a sigh of relief and the scent is unforgettable.
There is a name for this scent, the ancients called it Petrichor, from Petros = stones and Ichor = the fluid in the veins of Gods.
I didn’t know much about the organisations like the one in this book. I had heard of the Amish and their refreshingly simple, although strict way of life. I was expecting this story to be similar, an account of how people live under such restrictive practices. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
This branch of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is situated in Colorado City, near a small town called Hurricane. Like the Amish, these people subject their followers to a harsh way of life too, but that is where the similarity ends, for these people haven’t abandoned any of their outdated and evil traditions.
Polygamy is considered normal practice, along with the inbreeding of bloodlines between the two main families. This causes terrible deformities, both physical and mental. Children born this way are considered a punishment from God, something to be cared for, but hidden away.
Parents are overly strict with their children, under the direction of the Prophet, their leader Eldon Higbee. As you read this story, you imagine you are reading a true account, so compelling are the characters and the situations they find themselves in.
The Scent of Rain is a brilliantly written story, with a fascinating cast of characters. A mixture of the evil, the helpless and the determined, all struggling to survive under some horrific conditions.
My favourite characters are the redeeming players in this drama. Rose Madsen, a beautiful young girl who is destined to be married to the Prophet, trying desperately to protect her handicapped sister Daisy. Brooke Neal is the newly appointed child protection Officer with her work cut out, and Adan Reyes, a teenage boy who has already escaped from one institution.
The tension gradually rises, almost becoming unbearable. Situations go from bad to worse, but among all the pain and sadness, a love story emerges as the romance between Adan and Rose blossoms and they run away together.
At this point, I was pulling my hair out, expecting all hell to break loose. It did, but you will have to read it yourself to know the ending.
I totally recommend this book with a warning, there are some nasty moments…
Thank you to the author and RBRT for my #free review copy!