Child of a Rainless Year

( 5 )


Art teacher Mira Fenn's life was curiously lacking in color until the day she learned of a mysterious inheritance from her birthmother—a long-abandoned house in New Mexico. Dim childhood memories begin to brighten in Mira's mind—her colorfully exotic mother, the curiously silent women who were her mother's servants.

Returning to New Mexico, Mira discovers that the house is a faded thing, looked after by the charismatic Domingo Navidad. But when Mira dreams of her childhood home,...

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Child of a Rainless Year

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Art teacher Mira Fenn's life was curiously lacking in color until the day she learned of a mysterious inheritance from her birthmother—a long-abandoned house in New Mexico. Dim childhood memories begin to brighten in Mira's mind—her colorfully exotic mother, the curiously silent women who were her mother's servants.

Returning to New Mexico, Mira discovers that the house is a faded thing, looked after by the charismatic Domingo Navidad. But when Mira dreams of her childhood home, it is a riot of color—and she and Domingo soon set to work to bring her dreams to life.

Color brings more than just an old house back to life. The bright paint Mira applies to wood and plaster seems to reach into her soul, to awaken powers trapped in a decades-long slumber. The silent women reappear, carrying with them a great secret. Convinced her mother is still alive, Mira searches for her, journeying through a sea of light and color to a time and place far from her own.

Who and what she finds there will alter her world forever.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I adore Jane Lindskold's writing...Her novels are a rarity for me—fat, engrossing novels that still don't seem long enough."

—Charles de Lint

"Her characters live—they're real, but they are different. And the world they live in lingers in the mind; heroic, squalid, exotic, everyday. I was convinced that it went on by itself when I turned the last page. Bravo!"

—S. M. Stirling on Through Wolf's Eyes

"A ripping good fantasy."

Kliatt on Legends Walking

"A story to be savored."

Romantic Times on The Buried Pyramid

Publishers Weekly
When middle-aged spinster Mira Fenn returns to her birthplace, Las Vegas, N.Mex., to try to find out what happened to her mother, Colette, who disappeared from their mirror-filled house without a trace years earlier, she finds a town full of ghosts and contradictions. Domingo, the hereditary caretaker of Mira's ancestral home, tells her that the house has been asking him to paint it in new and brilliant colors. As Mira and Domingo explore the house's awakening intelligence, their intricately entwined family histories and their own growing relationship, they find out more about color magic, Colette and Mira herself than they might have wanted to know. Conferring magical life on ordinary objects and people with a sweet flair reminiscent of Charles De Lint and Pamela Dean, Lindskold (Through Wolf's Eyes, etc.) spins a lovely and original yarn that ends up sadly tangled with unresolved questions; though billed as a stand-alone work, the novel contains a sequel's worth of untied loose ends. Mira phlegmatically declares that having more questions than answers is "fine with me," and anyone who agrees will find this an extremely enjoyable read. Agent, Kay McCauley. (May 18) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Lesley Farmer
Mira's whole life was her mother Colette, an elegant but unstable woman. Her name recalls the many mirrors that surrounded her mother, which left little psychic space for Mira's own development. Soon after Mira started school, Colette disappeared, and Mira was sent off to Boise with foster parents. Now that she is 50 and single, Mira's life is turned upside down once again. She is called back to her hometown when she finds out that her childhood home is hers to keep. Remembering the off-white Victorian house, Mira is surprised to see a motley-colored home. The groundskeeper Domingo said that the house "wanted" those colors. Very sensitive to color herself, Mira goes along with Domingo's perceptions, and works to get the Phineas House, as it is called, back into shape. In the process, Mira notices that someone—or thing—is helping clean and take care of the house. Then Mira discovers that she can speak to ghosts. Who—and what—is alive? Her mother? Her father? The house? And to what extent are they controlling her life? Lindskold slowly builds a credible foundation to this paranormal story, which posits a liminal world: the "crack" between the lines of reality that enable one to travel through parallel universes. The pacing is leisurely but suspenseful, sucking in the attention of the reader much as the house does to Mira and Domingo. The one caveat is that adult readers are probably more likely to enjoy the book than teenagers because of the ages and issues of the characters.
Library Journal
When Mira was nine years old, her eccentric and flamboyant mother, Collette, disappeared, and Mira was placed with Stan and May Fenn. Now in her fifties and a successful artist with a passionate love of color, Mira returns to the New Mexico house in which she grew up. Her investigations into the truth behind her mother's disappearance trigger a chain of events that awakens her own power as well as the magic of the strange old house. The author of the "Firekeeper" series (Through Wolf's Eyes; Wolf Captured) turns to modern fantasy in a standalone tale of the Southwest filled with memorable characters, brilliant splashes of background color, and, at the forefront, an unforgettable woman imbued with a desire to know the truth about her heritage. Lindskold's fans and lovers of magical realism should relish this powerfully written tale of art and life. For most libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"A fantastic yarn about Mira's odd inheritance . . . . the novel's strength lies in the unfolding of Mira's character."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765315137
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Lindskold lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her "Wolf" novels include Through Wolf’s Eyes; Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart; The Dragon of Despair; and Wolf Captured. Her other novels include The Buried Pyramid, Changer, and, with the late Roger Zelazny, Lord Demon and Donnerjack.

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Read an Excerpt

Child of a Rainless Year

By Lindskold, Jane

Tor Fantasy

Copyright © 2006

Lindskold, Jane

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0765348241

The Secret Magic

I watched, mesmerized, as Mother transformed herself from a pale ghost into the beauty who still commanded legions of admirers. Fear throbbed tight and hard within my chest. No longer did I want to be discoveerd, for I knew that I had stumbled on a mystery greater and more terrible than that of Bluebeard's murdered wives. I had seen the secret magic of color, and how color made lies truth and truth lies.

Even at that young age, I knew I could not be forgiven my discovery . . . .


Excerpted from Child of a Rainless Year
by Lindskold, Jane
Copyright © 2006 by Lindskold, Jane.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2006


    this book was really interesting . i absolutly loved it !

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    interesting colorful fantasy

    When Mira Fenn turned nine years old her mom Colette disappeared and the preadolescent moved to Ohio to be raised by foster parents there. Several decades later, when her adoptive parents die, Mira finds the deed that proves she owns the Las Vegas, New Mexico home that she originally lived in. Having no excuse to rationalize avoiding her past, Mira heads home to learn why Colette vanished without a trace. --- In Las Vegas, Mira feels at home in Phineas House with mirrors everywhere especially in odd places. She learns from the caretaker Domingo that the house has pleaded with him to colorfully paint it over; Mira agrees that the house needs vibrant pastorals. As they work in harmony restoring Phineas House, Mira and Domingo begin to understand the ancestral link between their families and the intelligence of the edifice that whispers colors to the artists. They also begin to learn what happened to Colette and more about each other, but will a growing fondness be enough to prevent family history from repeating? --- This is an interesting fantasy tale in which the mundane contains magic, depending on the color as varying shades have differing charms. The middle aged Mira is a solid protagonist while Domingo serves as a fine balance to her whose acceptance of magic is in her genetic make up to do so. The story line contains complex concepts of reality; however, too much remains unresolved so that the audience at the end of the day will feel blue having to wait for an apparent sequel.--- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted August 24, 2011

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    Posted November 16, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2009

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