The Rain Watcher

The Rain Watcher

by Tatiana de Rosnay

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250200013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/30/2018
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 21,020
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

TATIANA DE ROSNAY is the author of more than ten novels, including the New York Times bestselling Sarah's Key, an international sensation and major motion picture. Tatiana lives with her husband and two children in Paris.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Je passais au bord de la Seine Un livre ancien sous le bras Le fleuve est pareil à ma peine Il s'écoule et ne tarit pas

— GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE, "MARIE"

I will start with the tree. Because everything begins, and ends, with the tree. The tree is the tallest one. It was planted way before the others. I'm not sure how old it is, exactly. Perhaps three or four hundred years old. It is ancient and powerful. It has weathered terrible storms, braced against unbridled winds. It is not afraid.

The tree is not like the others. It has its own rhythm. Spring starts later for it, while all the others are already blossoming. Come late April, the new oval leaves sprout slowly, on the top and middle branches only. Otherwise, it looks dead. Gnarled, gray, and withered. It likes to pretend to be dead. That's how clever it is. Then, suddenly, like a huge explosion, all the buds flourish. The tree triumphs with its pale green crown.

No one can find me when I'm up here. I don't mind the silence. It's not really silence, because so many small sounds fill it. The rustle of the leaves. The moan of the wind. The buzz of a bee. The chirp of the cicadas. The flutter of a bird's wing. When the mistral is up and rushes through the valley, the thousands of branches swishing sound like the sea. This is where I came to play. This was my kingdom.

I tell this story now, once, so that I don't have to tell it again. I am not good with words, whether they are spoken or penned. When I'm finished, I will hide this. Somewhere where it won't be found. No one knows. No one will. I've never told it. I will write it and not show it. The story will remain on these pages, like a prisoner.

"It's been like this for the past two weeks," says the listless taxi driver. The rain pours down, a silver curtain, hissing, obstructing all daylight. It is only ten o'clock in the morning, but to Linden, it feels like dusk glimmering with wetness. The taxi driver says he wants to move away for good, flee Paris, find the sun, go back to balmy Martinique, where he is from. As the car leaves Charles de Gaulle Airport and edges along the jammed highway and ring road that circles the city, Linden cannot help agreeing with him. The sodden suburbs are dismal, clustered contours of cubic volumes bedecked with garish neon billboards flickering in the drizzle. He asks the driver to turn on the radio, and the man comments upon his perfect French, "for an American." Linden grins. This happens every time he returns to Paris. He replies he's Franco-American, born in France, French father, American mother, he speaks both languages fluently, with no accent at all. How about that, eh? The driver chortles, fumbles with the radio, well, monsieur certainly looks like an American, doesn't he, tall, athletic, jeans, sneakers, not like those Parisians with their fancy ties and suits.

The news is all about the Seine. Linden listens while squeaky windshield wipers thrust away rivulets in a never-ending battle. The river has been rising for five days now, since January 15, lapping around the Zouave's ankles. The huge stone statue of a colonial soldier situated just below the pont de l'Alma is, Linden knows, the popular indicator of the river's level. In 1910, during the major overflows that inundated the city, the water had crept all the way up to the Zouave's shoulders. The driver exhales, there's nothing to be done to prevent a river from flooding, no use fighting nature. Men need to stop tampering with nature; all this is her way of lashing back. As the car inches along sluggish circulation, unrelenting rain pounding on the car roof, Linden is reminded of the email the hotel sent him on Tuesday.

Dear Mr. Malegarde,

We are looking forward to your arrival and stay with us as from Friday, January 19th, at noon, until Sunday, January 21st, in the evening (with a late checkout, as requested). However, the traffic situation in Paris might be problematic due to the level of the river Seine. Fortunately, the Chatterton Hotel, situated in the fourteenth arrondissement, is not located in an area liable to inundations, and therefore will not be concerned by the inconvenience. For the moment, the prefecture informs us there is nothing to worry about, but our policy is to update our guests. Please let us know if you need any assistance. Kind regards.

Linden read it at the airport on his way from L.A. to New York, where he was booked to photograph a British actress for Vanity Fair. He forwarded the message to his sister, Tilia, in London, and to his mother, Lauren, in the Drôme valley, who were to join him in Paris that Friday. Linden had not included Paul in the email because his father only appreciated letters and postcards, not emails. His sister's answer, which he received when he landed hours later at JFK, made him chuckle. Floodings?! What?! Again? Don't you remember there was already a scary flood in Paris last November? And what about the one in June 2016? It took us years to organize this bloody weekend, and now this?! She signed off with a series of scowling emoticons. Later, his mother replied to both of them: Will come by boat if we have to, dragging your father away from his trees! To at last be together! No way will we cancel this family gathering! See you on Friday, my loves! The Malegarde family was meeting in Paris to celebrate Paul's seventieth birthday, as well as Lauren and Paul's fortieth wedding anniversary.

Linden had not given the hotel's warning another thought. When he left New York for Paris on Thursday evening, he felt weary. It had been two full days, and before that, weeks of hard work around the globe. He would have preferred to fly back home to San Francisco, to Elizabeth Street, to Sacha and the cats. He had not seen much of Sacha, nor the cats, in the past month. Rachel Yellan, his dynamic agent, had landed him one job after the other, a dizzying swirl from city to city that left him depleted and longing for a break. The narrow blue house in Noe Valley and its cherished inhabitants would have to wait until this special family event was over. "Just the four of us," his mother had said, all those months ago, when she had booked hotel and restaurant. Was he looking forward to this? he wondered as the plane took off. They had not often been together, just the four of them, since his teenage years at Sévral, where he grew up, and more so, since he had left Vénozan, his father's familial domain, in 1997, at nearly sixteen. He saw his parents once or twice a year, and his sister whenever he went to London, which was frequently. Why did "just the four of us" sound both so cozy and ominous?

On the flight to Paris, Linden read Le Figaro and realized with a jab of apprehension that the situation described by the hotel was, in fact, disquieting. The Seine had already flooded in late November, as Tilia pointed out, after a wet summer and autumn, and previously, in June 2016. Parisians had kept a wary eye on the Zouave, and the little waves lapping up his shins. Fortunately, the flow had stopped increasing. Le Figaro explained that thanks to modern technology, one could predict the river's engorgement three days ahead, which left ample time for evacuating. But the actual problem was the torrential rain, which had not lessened. The river was on the rise again, and threateningly fast.

After traffic jams and more foreboding talk on the radio, the taxi crosses the Seine at Concorde. It is raining so thickly, Linden can barely make out the river below, just enough to notice the churning flow seems unnaturally foamy. The taxi crawls along waterlogged boulevard Saint-Germain and boulevard Raspail, and reaches the Hôtel Chatterton at Vavin crossroad. In the one minute it takes Linden to leap from car to entrance, the rain plasters his dark blond hair to his head, dribbles down the back of his neck, seeps into his socks. The chilly winter air enfolds him and seems to follow him into the lobby. He is greeted by a smiling receptionist, he smiles back, hair dripping, shivering, hands her his French passport (he has two), nods back at "Bienvenue, Monsieur Malegarde." Yes, his sister is arriving later on today by Eurostar, and his parents from Montélimar by train. No, he's not quite sure at what time. Is he aware that his parents' train will be diverted to Montparnasse and not be arriving at Gare de Lyon, because of the inundation risks? No, he knows nothing of this. But that will make it much more practical, he realizes, as Montparnasse station is barely five minutes away from the Chatterton.

The receptionist, whose badge reads AGATHE, gives him his passport and room key, and tells him, not too effusively, how much she admires his work, what an honor it is to have him at the hotel. Is he here for fashion week as well? she inquires. He thanks her, then shakes his head, explains this is a family weekend, that he will not be working, not a single shoot scheduled for the next few days, a well-deserved rest. He has only one camera with him, he tells her, his beloved vintage Leica; he left his gear in New York, with his agent, and the only people he plans to photograph are his parents and sister. As for fashion week, that's certainly not on his list; he'll leave those glitzy creatures tottering on their stilettos to their own confederacy of glamour and catwalks. The receptionist laughs. She heard on TV that if the Seine continues to rise so alarmingly, fashion week might be canceled. Now it is Linden's turn to snort, and he feels a furtive pang of guilt, and cannot help thinking of what it would mean to actually cancel fashion week, which starts tomorrow, what a colossal waste of effort, time, and money. The receptionist then refers deferentially to his father and says what a pleasure it is to have "Mr. Treeman" with them, and Linden is amused at her fervor (little does she know how much his father resents that sobriquet, how ridiculous he finds it, and with what difficulty he deals with his illustriousness); his father is such a respected figure, she goes on; his struggle to save notable trees around the world is admirable. He warns her, genially, that his father is shy, not easygoing and talkative like himself; however, she'll have a ball with his mother, who is the true star of the family, and his sister, Tilia Favell, is quite a number, as well.

The room on the fourth floor, giving onto rue Delambre, is warm, comfortable, and prettily furnished in tints of lilac and crème, although a trifle small to accommodate his long-limbed frame. A basket of goodies awaits on the table — fresh fruit, roses, chocolates, and a bottle of champagne on ice — with a handwritten welcome note from the hotel's director, Madame Myriam Fanrouk. He remembers his mother choosing the Chatterton two years ago when she decided to go ahead with the anniversary and birthday weekend. It was labeled a "charming, delightful boutique hotel on the Left Bank, bang in the heart of Montparnasse" and TripAdvisor comments were positive. Linden had left the organization up to her. He had booked his flights when he was sure of his agenda, not an easy feat for a freelance photographer. Lauren had also picked the place they were having dinner tomorrow night, Villa des Roses, a one-star Michelin restaurant on rue du Cherche-Midi, behind the Hôtel Lutetia.

Why Paris? he wonders as he unpacks his small suitcase and hangs up the dark green velvet jacket he'll be wearing tomorrow evening. Tilia is based in London with her daughter and her second husband, art expert Colin Favell; Lauren and Paul live in Vénozan, near Sévral, in the Drôme valley, and he is established in San Francisco, with Sacha. Yes, why Paris? Paris does not mean much to his parents. Or does it? Linden gives it a thought as he undresses, casts aside his damp clothes, and steps under a hot shower with relish. He knows his parents met in Grignan, during the ferocious heat wave that desiccated France in the summer of 1976, when Paul was working as head landscaper for an ambitious garden-design firm on the outskirts of the small town. Tilia and he know the story inside out. Lauren, barely nineteen, was visiting France for the first time with her sister Candice, two years older. Born and bred in Brookline, Massachusetts, they had never been to Europe. They started with Greece, then Italy, and made their way up through France via Nice, Avignon, Orange. A halt in the Drôme had not been planned, but it had been too hot to pursue their route and they decided to spend one night in a modest but welcoming bed-and-breakfast in Grignan. At the end of the sweltering day, the sisters were enjoying a glass of chilled rosé in the shade of the cool square, where a fountain tinkled, beneath the statue of regal Madame de Sevigné, whose imposing château graced the top of the hill, when Paul drove by in his pickup. He wore faded white overalls that had a Steve McQueen aura to them, a frayed straw sun hat, and a roll-up cigarette jutted from his mouth. Lauren's eyes followed him as he parked the truck and hauled various pots and shrubs from the trunk into a nearby shop. He was broad-shouldered and muscular, of medium height, and when he swept off the hat to wipe off a perspiring forehead, she noticed he had hardly any hair, just a segment of brown fuzz at the back of his head. Nearly bald, but young, not even thirty, she guessed. Candice asked why she was staring at the guy in the overalls, and Lauren whispered, "Just look at his hands." Candice replied blankly that she couldn't see anything special about his hands at all, and Lauren, in a sort of trance, murmured she had never seen anyone touch plants the way that man did. Their father, Fitzgerald Winter, was something of a gardener; so was their mother, Martha. The girls had grown up in a verdant, tree-filled neighborhood in Brookline, near Fisher Hill, where residents spent a lot of time tending to their gardens, with shears in one gloved hand and a watering can in the other, anxiously appraising a rosebush's growth. But this man was different, and Lauren could not take her eyes off his robust, tanned fingers, watching the way he tilted his head to stare at each flower, how he caressed the branches and blossoms of every plant he handled, cupping it in a strong yet gentle hold that mesmerized her. Paul must have felt the pressure of her gaze, because he at last looked up and saw the two sisters sitting a little farther away. Tilia and Linden knew this part by heart, as well. He saw only Lauren, her legs, her long hair, her slanted eyes, although Candice was just as beautiful. He walked over to her table and silently handed her a small potted olive tree. She spoke hardly any French, and his English was nonexistent. Candice mastered French better than her sister, so she was able to translate, but to them she was invisible, just a voice choosing the right words. His name was Paul Malegarde, he was twenty-eight, and he lived a few kilometers away, near Sévral, on the road to Nyons. Yes, he loved plants, especially trees, and he had a beautiful arboretum on his property, Vénozan. Would she like to see it, perhaps? He could take her there, would she like that? Oh, but she was leaving tomorrow with her sister, off to Paris, and then London, and then back home at the end of the summer. Yes, she could maybe stay a bit longer; she had to see. ... When Lauren got up to shake his proffered hand, she towered over him, but neither of them seemed to mind in the least. She liked his shrewd blue eyes, his infrequent smile, his long silences. "He's not half as good-looking as Jeff," said Candice later. Jeff was Lauren's preppy Bostonian boyfriend. Lauren shrugged. She was meeting Paul again later, by the fountain. There was a full moon that night. The heat did not abate. Candice was no longer there to serve as translator, but they did not need her. There was not much talking. David Bowie, Paul's favorite singer, sang from the cassette deck in the pickup as they gazed up at the stars, their hands barely touching. Jeffrey van der Haagen felt thousands of miles away. Lauren Winter did not make it to Paris, nor to London; nor did she go back to Boston at the end of that scorching summer of 1976. She visited Vénozan and ended up never leaving it.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Rain Watcher"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Éditions Héloïse d'Ormesson.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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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The Rain Watcher: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
An interesting read with only 221 pages. I do not understand why it was 14.99 on my Nook.
Macsbooks 3 months ago
The Rain Watcher is one of the most enchanting novels I have read this year. An eloquent family story wrapped in secondary story about the floods of Paris, this book will capture your attention from the beginning and not let you go long after you have finished the tale. From the author of Sarah's Key, de Rosnay weaves a tale full of family secrets. As the rain rises throughout Paris, so does the tension within the family. Sibling spats, unspoken hurts and anger, revelations from the past and a dying patriarch all told with such emotion and angst that it will shatter your heart and, in the end, fill it once again with hope. The Rain Watcher is at once ordinary and mesmerizing as we, the reader, are enlightened to the humanity in us all. I simply cannot recommend The Rain Watcher highly enough, nor do I have the words to bestow praises highly enough for this incredible book. Please, read this for yourself and see why de Rosnay is, indeed, one of the best authors of this new millennia.
Anonymous 3 days ago
Disappointing! Sarah's Key was excellent. This dragged on and on, and then just ended, with many loose ends. Waste of money!!
Anonymous 17 days ago
I wanted to read this book because I have really enjoyed Tatiana de Rosnay's other books. Unfortunately this book fell a bit short of the other books I have read. It was interesting to read about the rain/flood in Paris because I saw it in the news not that long ago. I had also recently read an article about some of the amazing things that trees do such as communicating with each other so I liked seeing those elements in a book. Where this book lost me a bit was the premise that there would be a big secret revealed this weekend and that didn't really happen. Yes, mom is having an affair, but no one seems really shocked by it. Then the part about their father witnessing a rape/murder when he was a boy doesn't seem to fit into the rest of the book. It's such a sidebar that it doesn't really seem to add to the story.
NovelKim 23 days ago
When I read the last page I sat wondering how I felt about this story. I still am not sure but I am positive that I was fully invested in all of the members of the Malegarde Family. The character development is extraordinary. Set in Paris, a trip that is supposed to be a celebration becomes a nightmare times four. The situational horror of the flooding Seine and its effect on the story heighten the tension and the anxiety that mirrors the emotions of each member of the family. Linden is so beautifully drawn that you feel his joy, sorrow and love as he explains the formative experiences that have brought him to this point in his life. Tilia, his sister is the staccato note, shrill, broken, brittle, scarred, scared, emotionally tied to her brother. She loves him fiercely. She can spin out of control in a heartbeat. Paul, the patriarch, reticent, comfortable with his trees, removed from his family. Lauren, the matriarch, with secrets that remain hidden from her family. Interesting that you can love a book for the characters and leave the story behind. Beautifully written - so many tragedies are. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy.
Carolefort 27 days ago
What a joy to read a family drama written by Tatiana de Rosnay. The Rain Watcher follows the Malegarde family who meet in Paris to celebrate the 70th birthday of Paul, the patriarch. The weekend was arranged by his spouse, Lauren, to gather together their adult children, Tilia and Linden. The reunion unfolds as the river Seine is bursting its banks and threatening to flood the City of Light. There is a sense of foreboding throughout due to the constant rain and the dysfunctional relationships of the Malegardes. Paul, an arborist, has a better understanding of trees than of his family. Lauren wants the weekend to be a success for all. Talia, the daughter, has problems of her own at home in London and Linden, the son, left the Malegarde home as a teenager and never really went back. And everyone has secrets of their own. The Rain Watcher reminds us that all families have issues. An entrancing read. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
mweinreich 3 months ago
Today, I am reviewing Tatiana de Rosnay's newest book entitled, The Rain Watcher. I loved her book Sarah's Key, was not a fan of her book A Secret Kept and now with this one, I am somewhere in the middle. One's family is the cornerstone of who they are. They are the ones who planted seeds within yourself that when nurtured grow to produce a good person. The Malegarde family comes together to celebrate their father's seventieth birthday. Bearing secrets and lifetimes, the family faces a health crisis with their father. Meanwhile Paris itself is under siege from rainstorms which cause huge flooding issues and lends quite a somber atmosphere to the goings on of the Malegarde family. Prominent among the characters is Linden the son, who has faced the fact that he is gay, the loss of a beloved aunt, a somewhat tenuous relationship with his father, and also a secret that his mother has kept from him. He is floundering and yet he is the one who is expected to hold the family together. Can love, tragedy, and loss bring this family unity or will they each at the end go their separate ways? This character driven novel is sometimes powerful but often the writing seems to get in the way of the story. I found it to be ponderous at times and found myself losing attention with paragraphs that were overly long and drawn out. Was this a bad novel? No, not at all. It was just a novel that seemed to want to arrive at something but never really got there. Although it was not really for me, I do recommend it to those who like a character driven book, one where family interaction resemble what many families are experiencing, one where the descriptions of Paris and the flooding come through loud and clear. The city and the family share a crisis which both of them might never recover from. Thank you to Tatiana de Rosney, St Martin's Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an impartial review.
jdowell 3 months ago
Tatiana de Rosnay has spun a beautifully written tale of a family reunion set against the backdrop of torrential, never-ending rain in Paris and the flooding of the Seine river. The family is there for Paul Malegarde's 70th birthday and the 40th wedding anniversary of Paul and Lauren. Also in attendance are Linden, their son and Tilia, their daughter. This story is told totally from the son, Linden's point of view. The trip did not go as planned and there are several family dramas playing out at once threading through the story seamlessly. Hidden secrets - every member of the family has one - come to light and must be faced. The characters are well-developed and believable. There is a sense of sadness throughout exacerbated by the atmospheric rain backdrop. The dual tragedies of the flood and the family intertwine. The writing was lovely and entrancing and I truly enjoyed the story - despite the depressing backdrop of the endless rain and flood. I would have given this five stars except for two things: I still have questions about Suzanne, and some of the chapters have lines in French at the beginning that I have no idea what they say (this didn't detract from the story for me, but I would like to know what they say). Therefore I rated it four stars. Thanks to Tatiana de Rosnay and St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy.
Szd 3 months ago
The flooding of Paris early in 2018 served as a backdrop for this story about a family reuniting to celebrate the father's birthday. The tension of the constant rain and the concern about being able to maneuver around the city was ever-present. The story of LInden's complicated relationship with his parents unfolded layer by layer and I never lost interest in it. The characters of Linden's sister and niece were developed well and they were equally as interesting. The author clearly knows Paris well and the descriptions of the locations are wonderful.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Such a beautifully written story...I couldn't put it down! Books set in Paris are some of my favorites and this one was no exception. The family is well developed.
SilversReviews 3 months ago
Linden wondered why his mother organized a family get together in Paris for his father’s 70th birthday since his father didn’t like Paris. In addition to his dislike of Paris, Paris was having torrential rainfall with threats of flooding. The rain and flooding continued throughout their time in Paris and throughout the book with worries it would be as bad if not worse than the Paris floods of 1910. THE RAIN WATCHER brings together this family of four from Venozan, London, and San Francisco - no spouses or children - just the four of them. We meet Linden from San Francisco who never got along with his father, Tilia from London who is unhappily married for the second time, and Paul and Lauren their parents. All the characters seemed to have something to hide, but you warmed up to them as the book continued. The children had grown up in Venozan after their parents met when Lauren was on a vacation in France more than 30 years ago. It was a whirlwind romance that had Lauren never going back to the states. The family was still indifferent as always as they gathered together for breakfast and the rain continued to pour down. Lauren insisted they were in a non-flood area of Paris and should continue with their celebration plans. Their celebration was wonderful until something tragic happened at the restaurant and Lauren became ill as well. Besides being part of family issues and seeing how people interact, there was a lot of interesting information about photography. Linden was a famous photographer with a photo of his father taken years ago that made him famous. There is also wonderful information about plants and gardening and Paris. THE RAIN WATCHER is beautifully written and pulls you into the story line with Ms. De Rosnay’s marvelous storytelling skills and details about every situation. 4/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NETGALLEY and in print in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Fredreeca2001 3 months ago
The Malegarde family is finally getting together in Paris, just the 4 of them. They are celebrating their father’s 70th birthday. Little do they know Paris is experiencing one of the worst natural disasters of its time. They are trapped and can’t leave the city. Then, the absolute worst happens. Their father falls ill. Linden is a famous photographer. His sister, Tilia, is a struggling artist with a terrible marriage. Tilia is the only survivor of a wreck years ago. The wreck killed her best friend and left Tilia with a terrible limp. Linden is gay and being with his family in Paris has brought out all his struggles with acceptance. This novel is just a little boring in places. It really does not have a plot. This is not on par with Sarah’s Key by any means. But, there is something about this book which keeps you reading. The heart break and the love this family shows for one another is uplifting and intense. This is a story about life, family, growing up and growing old. It is about forgiveness and acceptance of yourself and others. I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for a honest review.
teachlz 3 months ago
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews "The Rain Watcher" by Tatiana de Rosnay  St. Martin's Press October 30, 2018 Tatiana de Rosnay, Author of "The Rain Watcher" has written an intense, emotional, captivating, riveting, and intriguing novel. The setting for this story takes place in Paris, during a devastating rainfall and flooding of the Seine. The Genre for this story are Fiction. The author does an amazing job describing Paris, and the historical places  of interest. The author does provide historical background of past flooding in Paris, and the destruction that it caused.  The author describes her dysfunctional cast of characters as complex and complicated.Each character has their own set of problems, and there are many secrets. This is a story of family coming together. Linden Malegarde, a famous photographer. has come  to Paris from the United States to celebrate his Dad, Paul's 70th birthday, and their parents anniversary. Paul has always been obsessed with trees. and is famous as an arborist.  Paul has always felt safe by trees, and feels you can't fight nature. This is a half  American family and a half French family.  Problems have occurred in the past with Linden and his sister because of this. As the Seine continues to flood  causing damage, and havoc, the Malegarde family finds themselves in a tragic set of circumstances.  Will the family be able to unite and communicate before it is too late? I would highly recommend this novel for those readers who enjoy an emotional story filled with conflict and natural disaster. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
Laeljeanne 3 months ago
Franco-American Linden Malegarde travels to Paris to celebrate with family his father’s 70th birthday to find himself trapped in a flood and more than one family crisis preventing their evacuation. Over a few deluge-filled days, the Malegarde family bursts at the seams, spewing secrets and long-held hurts, with deadly descriptive flashbacks and a horrifying centimeter-by-centimeter account of a real-life flood. De Rosnay’s writing flows like the Seine spilling over its banks, sparing no characters of their integrity in situations that require fortitude beyond their human frailty. She takes on more than one social issue, in Linden alone being an outsider in more than one way, in more than one country, his saving graces being a successful creative and having a supportive partner. Readers of historical fiction, Francophiles, and fans of Liane Moriarty and Thritty Umrigar will appreciate this novel. I was fortunate to receive an early copy of #TheRainWatcher from #St.Martin’sPress through #NetGalley.
whatsbetterthanbooks 3 months ago
Vivid, captivating, and melancholic! The Rain Watcher is a moving, beautiful portrayal of a city in turmoil and a family struggling to understand, accept, and outwardly show compassion and love for each other. The writing is impassioned and eloquent. The characters are empathetic, distressed, and genuine. And the plot is a mesmeric, foreboding tale set both in the present day and mid-1900s about life, loss, love, family dynamics, secrets, determination, hope, sacrifice, and the desolation and destruction mother nature can reap. The Rain Watcher is a wonderful blend of historical facts, intriguing fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a nostalgic, heartbreaking, consuming tale that reminds us of the complex relationship that can exist between a father and son and highlights once again de Rosnay’s insight and passion for La Ville-Lumière.
nfam 3 months ago
A Family Reunion in Rainy Paris The Malagarde family is cerebrating their father Paul’s, seventieth birthday and the parents fortieth wedding anniversary. The reunion at the mother Lauren’s request is limited to family members only. Both Linden, the son, and Tailia, the daughter, have significant others, but this is to be only for the family that grew up together. Lauren has planned a series of activities, but the rain is pouring down threatening disaster for the city of Paris. The deluge curtails many of these sightseeing and dining trips throwing the family on their own resources. Each member has secrets and stories to tell. Just as the rain threatens Paris, the secrets threaten the family unity. Watching both Paris and the family deal with the unexpected and struggle to survive is wrenching and heart warming. Linden is the narrator. Torn between French and American culture, he has never felt at home in either society. Although he has become an international success as a photographer, he wonders if he will ever win his father’s regard. Linden is a troubled character, but dealing with his issues makes for intense reading. The descriptions of Paris in the rain are very atmospheric giving exactly the right tone to the family’s struggle as well as that of the city of Paris. The book has a leisurely feel. The author spends the early part of the book recounting the family background. It’s interesting and good preparation for the rest of the story, but it does take some perseverance to get to the present situation. I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you enjoy a well written family drama. I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
CharJones2525 4 months ago
An elegant literary novel about a family drama that plays out during the 70th birthday of the Malegarde patriarch. A momentous storm brews outside in Paris while an equally fierce emotional storm thunders inside the gathering. De Rosnay's writing is gorgeous, holding us close while family fireworks and massive floods threaten to engulf all. 5/5 Thanks to the author, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheRainWatcher #NetGalley
TheGrumpyBookReviewer 4 months ago
Set against a background of beauty and natural disaster, The Rain Watcher, by Tatiana deRosnay, is the achingly heartbreaking story of a family’s secrets coming to light. Each family member has his or her own secrets. Yet most believe the others have led charmed, problem-free lives. The secrets begin to unfold as Paris is consumed by flood waters. Linden Malegarde, half American, half French, is a famous photographer whose mother, Lauren, has set up a family gathering in Paris in honor of Linden’s father, Paul’s, 70thbirthday, and of Lauren and Paul’s 40thwedding anniversary. On arrival, Linden immediately recognizes that his father is not well, yet Lauren denies it, insisting everything is fine. The Rain Watcher is an account of a son confronting mistreatment by his mother, as well as having stumbled upon her secret; and confessing his own secret to his father, who may have known all along. It is an examination of coming to terms with who we really are, and being comfortable in our own skin. It is another revelation of how secrets and prejudices can destroy relationships. As a public health educator, this grabbed my attention: Lauren catches a cold, and develops pneumonia. When the pneumonia is diagnosed, the narrator states that it’s not that bad, but that it is contagious. Actually, the reverse is true. It is quite serious, and it is NOT contagious. What Made this Book Reviewer Grumpy? • The book was a bit heavy on description for my taste, and I found myself skimming over some of it, but that is a matter of personal preference. • Most issues were resolved, but the ending was extremely abrupt, and left some questions unanswered. • There were a lot of misused words, but this is common when English is a second language for an author. • Several times two words were written as one word when they should have been hyphenated. • In several places, punctuation is missing. Look for me online as The Grumpy Book Reviewer.
beckwith_usa 4 months ago
"Why did 'just the four of us' sound both so cozy and ominous?" Linden Malegarde foreshadows joy, heartbreak and grief as he embarks on a birthday/anniversary trip to Paris. The renowned photographer is summoned to the continent for a celebratory weekend with his parents and only sister. As the Seine rises to historic flood-levels, each member of the Malegarde family confronts haunting, unspoken truths, as complex and intertwined as the family trees which firmly anchor the novel. "Sarah's Key" holds a special place in this reader's heart, and I had high expectations of Ms. de Rosnay's new book. The writing is wonderfully eloquent and lyrical. I imagine any reader who loves Paris and the french countryside will thoroughly enjoy "The Rain Watcher".
357800 4 months ago
Well...my goodness! Ha! 4+ Mind-Bending Stars THE RAIN WATCHER is a perplexing read that at times felt disjointed because intermingled throughout the story are tidbits about trees, but I soon found..... Everything here begins and ends with a tree....an ancient and powerful tree...a tree that has seen many secrets over its 300+ years of existence. This clever tree is not afraid and likes to pretend it's dead. Trees are very important to life....as you will see. This story simply stated is about a family get together in Paris. The weather, however, turns chilly and ominous....the rain incessant and torrential....the Seine threatens to overflow....and the city is unprepared. Paul will be 70. He loves trees.....is even dubbed "The Treeman". He and wife Lauren will be married 40 years. Estranged son Linden and troubled daughter Tilia are both named after his favorite tree....in different languages. Each family member has secrets and haunted memories that are slowly revealed in bits and pieces as the story is told, and....there IS a monster. Amidst a backdrop of a catastrophic events and health scares, windows of communication open in the most amazing way between father and son, and long buried secrets come to light. Ohhhh how I enjoyed this thought-provoking character-driven read that led me to an unexpected destination in a way that bewildered....until it didn't. Both Sarah's Key and Manderley Forever are favorites of mine as is this author.
MartyPT 4 months ago
Quiet study of a family and each individual history with one another. Linden is the narrator, and most everything is viewed through his eyes. It is his parents who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and fathers 70th birthday. Mother planned this six months in advance and only Linden and his sister are invited, no spouses. The rain has been falling and the Seine is beginning to rise when they all arrive. Illness happens, and flooding begins, and they are stuck at the hotel and hospital. The story is told because of these events all happening at the same time, bringing back memories and encouraging conversations within the family members. No cliffhanger, or action, just lovely storytelling quietly exploring family relationships. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
bamcooks 4 months ago
3.5 stars. What can go wrong when a family decides to meet in Paris to celebrate the father's 70th birthday and the parents' 40th anniversary? How about everything? Let's start with the weather. Paris is experiencing torrential rains--what will happen when, not if, the Seine reaches historic flood levels? Is this the result of global warming and spreading development or is it just nature expressing its supremacy over man? The father, Paul Malegarde, is a French arborist, who travels around the world speaking about the importance of saving our trees. As the family gathers in Paris, they are concerned about his health, with good reason as it turns out. His wife, Lauren is an American who may not be as happy in her marriage as everyone assumes. The rotten Parisian weather plays havoc with her health as well. The story is told by their son Linden in third person narrative. Linden is a well-known photographer living with his partner Sacha in San Francisco. He feels his homosexuality has raised a barrier that prevents the closeness he'd like to have with his family, especially with his father. Can he find a way to make it right before it's too late? The daughter Tilia is married and living in London with her alcoholic husband and teenaged daughter from a previous marriage. She is still haunted by the horrific accident that killed her friends and left her physically and emotionally damaged. Why was she the only one to survive? So many secrets! At the beginning of each part of the story, there is a little journal-like entry written by Paul about something horrible he experienced as a four-year-old boy. Slowly, tantalizingly, that hidden story is revealed as we read along. I liked the way she tied that in at the end! Tatiana de Rosnay is a favorite author of mine; she is a remarkably good writer. If I have any criticism, it would be that I found some of the story to be repetitive. De Rosnay obviously knows Paris very well and takes us around it almost street by street. As someone who has lived through two floods myself, I squirmed over the flooding scenes in the story. The author depicts that well: the desperation and helpless feeling, the damage caused, the pollution and even the stench. Add to that, the fear of looting carried on by despicable people taking advantage of circumstances. De Rosnay writes well about family dynamics and the secrets that are kept. Many relive painful memories. Perhaps we should all learn to let them go. In the author's afterword, she mentions several books that helped her write her book, including one of my favorites: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I received both an ebook arc from the publisher via NetGalley and a paper copy from Jordan Hanley, Associate Marketing Manager @St Martin's Press. Very grateful for the opportunity to read and give an honest review. Many thanks!
Anonymous 4 months ago
I received a netgalley of The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay, in exchange for an honest review. This book portrays a family that has gathered for a milestone celebration in Paris. Amidst their gathering Paris is sieged with terrible weather and the town is quickly flooding. The family has their own emergency and out of this stems their history and secrets. The story details a family's strength and exposes their faults.
The_Brown_Bookloft 4 months ago
Summary: The novel mostly takes place in Paris, France in the winter of 2017. Linden Malegarde is traveling to Paris to spend a weekend with his parents and sister, Tilia. His parents are celebrating both his father, Paul’s, seventieth birthday and his parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary. Linden Malegarde is a busy man with a lot on his mind. A well-known photographer, he is scheduled to do an important photo shoot immediately after the weekend gathering. Between emails to his agent and his partner, Sasha, he wonders why his mother, Lauren, has chosen Paris as the family meeting place. He knows his father isn’t particularly fond of the city. Then there was a bothersome email from the hotel in Paris, warning of altered traffic routes due to flooding from the Seine to consider. Paul Malegarde is also well known by a nickname he doesn’t particularly like, “Mr. Treeman”. Paul, a Frenchman by birth, travels around the world saving notable trees. His wife, Lauren, is an American who never quite mastered any language beyond English, despite living in France for many years. It has been a while since Linden has seen his parents. He is startled to see his father looking older, shrunken and perhaps not entirely well. His mother brushes off his concerns and insists on just having a good time. His sister, Tilia, is doing her best to cope with her slushily drunk husband. As the river rises and the city reaches a crisis point, so does the Malegarde family. Long-kept secrets bubble up along with the detritus in the Seine, forcing the family members to reveal them. Comments: The Rain Watcher left me wondering which story the author most wanted to tell. Was it the story of Linden Malegarde, a gay man struggling with his dual-citizenship identity? Was it the story of the recent, tragic floods in Paris? Or was it a novel about trees? The Malegarde family’s trials seemed to be merely the backdrop to all three of these topics. Any one of these questions could have become a focal point for the book but the four topics seemed to bear equal weight. The novel moved very slowly, with pages of rumination and background information. The most interesting part of the book for me was the detailed accounting of the flooding in Paris. 3 out of 5 stars, mostly for the quality of the writing and the research that went into writing the book.
anneinaz 4 months ago
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay is a perfectly lovely book about Linden Malegard a mid-thirties photographer with a reputation worldwide, who is meeting his parents and his sister in Paris to celebrate his father's birthday and his parents' anniversary. W meet these four people and learn their stories over a seek or so during which time Paris is having it's worst flood in over 100 years. Because of his reputation, Linden gets photograph things many others could not. Because of this opportunity, Linden gets to visit places from his past that have helped define him today. De Rosnay has, not only a way with words, but also an ability to dig into her subjects' souls and bring out the very depth of them. Every child eventually deals with the knowledge their parents' are aging and dying, but de Rosnay has managed to couch those feelings amongst many others for the member of this family, bring them to the conclusion of this part of their story. She does it beautifully and simply. The emotions are not complicated or shallow but touch the reader as a reflection of his own experience. I could not recommend The Rain Watcher more highly. Its characters are lovingly drawn, and mostly through memories, develop the stories that have brought them together on this day. Life is varying degrees of good for the members of this family, just as in any family, and that is as it should be. I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. #netgalley #therainwatcher