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Mother of Rain: Paperback – September 4, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Karen Spears Zacharias captures the humor, spirituality and language of Appalachia with stunning authenticity, through characters that leap off the page. With MOTHER OF RAIN, Zacharias has done her part to help preserve our mountain heritage for future generations. --Amy Greene, author of BLOODROOT

The story of Maizee both shocks and endears the reader to MOTHER OF RAIN, the beautifully, eerie debut novel. Like a handcrafted wedding quilt, Zacharias's prose weaves the tangle of hardscrabble lives into old fashion Appalachia storytelling. --Ann Hite, author of GHOST ON BLACK MOUNTAIN

Karen Spears Zacharias has carved a brilliant gem of a novel out of hard, uncompromising times and lives. Her remote mountain setting conceals misery, mystery, and madness--but also love, which comes in many forms. Zacharias examines these intertwined lives with great compassion and daring; she is a wonderful writer. --Lee Smith, author of MRS. DARCY AND THE BLUE-EYED STRANGER

From the Author

"Zacharias does a wonderful job of capturing the speech of the Appalachian mountain people and their ways. Every word rings true - as a daughter of Appalachia myself, I recognize the authentic ring of the words and the tragedy that often hides in the folds of the mountains. This is Zacharias' first novel and a fine debut it is, indeed."  - Historical Novel Society 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press (September 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881464481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881464481
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first began Mother of Rain, I did so with a bit of hesitance. I knew the book would be heavy in dialect, and sometimes, that is a little off-putting. I was raised in the mountains of Tennessee, spent my summers there every year, and listened to my grandmother spin her tales about folks living or dead in those mountains. So, although the author provided a glossary, I didn't need it.
This is a story that will capture your heart from the very first chapter. Each of the eccentric characters will tug at your heartstrings with their stories of struggles and hardships.
But, it is the main character, Maizee, who will worm her way into your heart and hang on! In the beginning of the book, Maizee is a young girl who witnesses an unspeakable tragedy. As she grows, she believes she is cursed. Her story is gut-wrenching.
The curse Maizee feels is a form of mental illness heightened by pregnancy. So, my kudos to the author for bringing to light the horrific mental anguish of those who suffer from it.
Mother of Rain is a superb read and a story that will stay with you. Well done, Karen!
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Format: Paperback
"Like a martin to a gourd," I had to read Mother of Rain. I had read every other book Karen Spears Zacharias has written, so I expected this book would be good, too. Her previous books are non-fiction, and this is her fiction debut. I was not disappointed. I laughed. I cried. I didn't want to put this book down. Told from the point of view of different characters, Maizee's story is, sadly, one that many others have lived, but Maizee tells her story as only she can, and other voices, those of the people who love her, share parts of the story that Maizee could never reveal. Mental illness is destructive, but this fine author has shown us how love can overcome anything, even madness. This book haunted me as I read it. It haunts me still.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel takes place during WWII in East Tennessee somewhere between Kingsport and Knoxville in a small rural community that is somewhat isolated. The central figure of the novel is Maisie who has heard voices since the death of her mother whom she finds in the garden dead with her eyes pecked out by the family's chickens. Within days she is sent by her father to be fostered by hèr childless aunt and uncle, who yearn for a child of their own. Although I found the book interesting, there is no clear point to the novel. The use of dialect is inconsistent. I live in Virginia about two hours from Kingsport and no one sounds this country not even the very elderly. There are many loose ends in the novel. The biggest of these is the question of whether Zeb is truly dead or whether his final chapter is a voice from beyond the grave. My book club--made up of professors including the former president of the Appalachian Studies Association and specialist in Appalachian literature and several creative writers--spent most of our meeting trying to sort out the inconsistencies. We all agreed that we found the novel interesting but disappointing. Perhaps our expertise made us more critical than the average reader.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is like reading my own history. Many of the family names are found among my people, I have been to these places and can travel there in my mind's eye, this is my language. This book is written with passion, honesty and pain. Zacharias gives readers tears, laughter, hope, despair and anger. I am rarely moved to review a book, but this captured my heart and touched my soul. I am buying this book for my mamma, who will find this journey as real as I did.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mother Rain is proof that love does not conquer all. Maizee, a young mother, living in Christian Bend does not lack the support of a loving husband, family or friends. But to her dismay she also has a legion of unseen, insidious, jeering tormentors. I wanted to jump into the pages of the book and rescue Maizee. I wept. Surrounded by clamoring voices real and imagined, Maizee experiences desolate isolation. Set in the late 1930's and early 1940's, an incestuous Appalachian community will welcome you into the belly of its soul. The characters are rich, layered and each complex being has redemptive qualities. Masterfully written, a must read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having grown up where the Blue Ridge Mountains begins, I have known places like Christian Bend and characters like those in "Mother of Rain". This novel is intimate with its characters and setting that it becomes a part of you. You will cry and you will laugh and at the heart of it all is community, family, and loyalty. Zacharias writes in the vein of Michael Morris or Charles Martin; however, her writing reaches a level of authenticity which transcends anything I have read since "To Kill a Mockingbird." I loved the book.
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Format: Paperback
Karen Spears Zacharias' tale of Maizee Hurd captures life in rural Appalachia while also addressing the demons of mental illness. Told through various narrators, Zacharias gets to the heart and soul of each character while maintaining the flow and integrity of her first novel. Even after finishing the novel, you are left thinking about the book, its characters, and reflecting on how much the care of those with mental illness hasn't changed today. "Mother of Rain" is a gem of a novel and I look forward to more tales from Zacharias, who has a gift with story telling.
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