Rain Falling on Embers

Rain Falling on Embers
Publisher Name
Vesuvian Books
Age Range
Release Date
October 03, 2023
When thirteen-year-old Katie McCabe’ s dad gets sick and is hospitalized, she’ s sent to live with her uncle in a strange town. But within days of arriving, her dad unexpectedly dies.

Struggling with her new reality, Katie is lost. She doesn't fit in at her new home and never will.

It only gets worse when Katie starts her freshman year of high school and begins to have run-ins with the son of the man who owns the town— a powerful man with ties to her family’ s past.

Then one day, she is attacked from behind. Blindfolded and slung across the back of a horse, Katie is taken up into the hills. Dumped in the middle of the wilderness in an oncoming storm, she is left to find her way home. But how will she survive?

Editor review

1 review
Uncontrolled emotions!
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The author expertly describes Katie’s emotional issues as she struggles to deal with the expectations of others and her father’s illness. She succumbs to the pressure of being the sheriff’s daughter and never feels like she’s good enough. Her rebellious behavior emerges as she experiments with drinking and smoking cigarettes in the opening pages. Katie’s anger is compounded when she’s sent to live with her uncle and cousins but it causes her to speak and act rudely toward them. She’s aware her actions are inappropriate but still uses them to upset her relatives, teachers, and principals. However, Katie also feels remorse so her behavior is complicated. Despite the challenges presented by Katie, her uncle maintains a firm, controlled behavior and does his best to support her. The man is a saint even if Katie doesn’t realize it.
Continuing the idea of emotions and feelings, the author takes the time to develop Katie’s character through pages and chapters of vivid details. An immediate conflict is created between Katie and an entitled boy named Denton and their contentious relationship quickly becomes a feud. Readers are inside Kate’s mind as she seethes inside and battles to harness the fury she’s experiencing throughout the whole book. Several chapters are used to fully express Katie’s devastation following her father’s death. There’s the immediate sorrow associated with great loss but her emotions shift into anger and regret as she slowly realizes the life she’ll no longer have. Katie’s complex feelings lead to bad choices but she’s further infuriated when others don’t believe her when she tells the truth.
The conflict with Denton isn’t always at the forefront of the plot but readers will experience the tension as it builds out of control. Denton's father owns the bank and most of the property and businesses in town and Denton portrays the role of a spoiled kid who is used to getting away with everything he says and does. Readers will detest him when he insults Katie’s father and uncle but they’ll realize he crosses the line when he disparages Katie’s deceased mother. Katie slugs him, Denton behaves unexpectedly, and the pair spend the rest of the plot trying to get revenge for each other’s actions. Denton’s final attack will take the story to an ultimate climax.
What didn’t work as well:
Young readers may be surprised by the stereotypical roles of men and women. Katie’s cousin Sarah gets meals ready for her uncle and male cousins and then cleans the house while the men go off to work. The biggest let-down may be the epilogue as readers may want more clarity. The conflict with Denton is resolved but there’s still some uncertainty regarding what happens to Katie, Denton, and his friend Emma.
The final verdict:
The story isn’t a fast-mover but that’s because the author takes the time to fully develop the story and the characters’ feelings and personalities. Readers should be prepared to become immersed in Katie’s emotional turmoil and the mounting war with Denton. Overall, I recommend you give this poignant adventure a try.
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