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Rain Paperback – April 6, 2011

2.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Leigh Cunningham has crafted an engrossing, well-written and compelling book. Although it is hard to "encapsulate" because there are many themes and story lines, it is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. -- Janet J for Readers Favorite

Winner Literary Fiction category at the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards, and silver medalist at the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in the Regional Fiction: Australia/New Zealand category. 

From the Author

RAIN is a very dark, sad, tragic story, and is based in part on true events. Some readers might find the sadness overwhelming, but in reality some people and families suffer more than their fair share of set-backs and misfortune. 

RAIN is also 'literary' fiction, which tends to focus on the subjects of the narrative rather than the plot ie. the focus is on the "inner story" of the characters, their motivations, emotions and introspection. The style of writing in literary fiction tends to be lyrical and layered; the tone is serious, and as mentioned, it is usually darker than para-literary fiction. It is a style of writing that is not for everyone.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Vivante Publishing (April 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9810882807
  • ISBN-13: 978-9810882808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,013,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
That Rain is set in rural Australia was the main reason I accepted this novel for review from expat author Leigh Cunningham. Sisters Helen and Grace are heiresses to their fathers successful small town sawmill business. While Helen enjoys working with her father, Grace, lively and beautiful, wants more than their country town can offer her and escapes to Sydney to pursue her own success, leaving behind her ambitious boyfriend. Spurned, Michael Baden decides to turn his attention to the plainer Helen but their marriage triggers a chain of misfortune, hardship and grief that echoes through their lifetime.

A saga of generational tragedy, Cunningham chronicles the bleak fate of the Baden family in Rain. It is a stark and discouraging tale at the cycle of family dysfunction as Michael Baden revisits his own childhood damage on his vulnerable wife and children. I found Rain difficult to read at times because the Baden family members suffer so relentlessly from setbacks both of their own making and simply by the vagaries of fate. This is an emotionally charged story that explores many confronting topics including the curse of alcohol and drug addiction, emotional neglect, rape and physical abuse.
The characters evoke both sympathy and dismay as they struggle with the burdens of their heritage. Rain illustrates the inexorable slide of Michael and Helen into a mire of despair causing the disintegration of their good intentions. Despite glimmers of hope and triumph neither can hold onto their successes. Michael undoubtedly triggers and supports the family's failures, his drinking, neglect and general poor behaviour, a legacy that his children are unable to escape.
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Rain, Leigh K. Cunningham's first novel for adult readers, is a page-turning story of three generations in a small-town Australian family during forty turbulent years from 1965 to 2005.

The tale mostly, but not exclusively, revolves around a second-generation mother, Helena, and her third-generation daughter, Carla. Even as they deny they need to, they give their lives to the men and boys who are their fathers, sons, brothers, and lovers--and receive in return enormous grief.

And yet this is no mindless indictment of the male characters. For instance, at the beginning Helena and her sister Grace, heiresses to their father's sawmill business, both favor the physically desirable Michael Baden. He readily returns the interest of the more attractive sister, Grace, to the point of consummating a youthful affair with her.

Grace, however, has her eye on a more glamorous life than Michael can be a part of. A worker in the mill, he's a bastard grandson of the impoverished and physically abused woman who claims to be his mother. He's also a victim of severe playground abuse for nothing more than being who he is.

When Grace leaves for a more worldly existence in Sydney, Michael turns his attention to the "sensible and comfortable" Helena. This reader finds it difficult to blame either of them for what follows.

Abuse--psychological, physical, and sexual--dominates Cunningham's story. And yet all of her characters--no matter how possible it is to say they invite their own grief--are sympathetic. This reader wanted each of them to succeed, even as he grew in his knowledge that most of them wouldn't.

The playground bullies and the gang-rapists of a fourteen-year-old girl in a nighttime cemetery are faceless, as they should be in this kind of story.
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I have been following the writing career of Leigh K Cunningham closely now for a couple of years. This is her third title and it's quite removed from her first two, which are for children. This is NOT a kids book, this is a sad and sometimes tough book to read. I found it difficult to put down and was readily called back to my Kindle by this haunted family.

Why is life so cruel? How much heartbreak can a family endure? I read this story with my heart placed firmly in my mouth, I have to say it also bled quite profusely as well. This is a very human story and I suspect based on very real people. Thank you Leigh K Cunningham for sharing this wonderful story with us. It will stay with me, as I'm sure it will stay with all that read it.
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First, I looked up "Rain" on Leigh Cunningham's website and saw the wonderful awards--winner of the Literary Fiction category at the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards, and a silver medal at the 2011 Independent Publisher Awards (IPPY) in the Regional Fiction: Australia/New Zealand category. So, I thought it would be a really good choice to buy and read. Turns out I was absolutely, one hundred percent right.
This family saga began to draw me in from the first page, and by the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. Leigh has a way with words that I loved. Her talent had me re-reading many of her sentences because they were so well done - I wished I'd written them myself. Such as - He had crossed the line: the one that separated justifiable wrong and unforgivable sin. And - So many people wise about death, even though they had no personal experience with it, for if they knew death, as Helen now did, they would also know that a blade wounded, a stab into the heart was fatal, and time had just two hands, and was not a father.
Each character the author zeroed in on came to life and I found myself caring about what would happen to them. This wasn't a feel-good book as much as it was realistic and thought provoking. The story has stayed in my mind for a few days and so I decided I had to write a review and encourage others to read it so they could enjoy the story as much as I did.
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