REVIEW: After the Rain by Renee Carlino



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From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

When eighteen-year-old Avelina Belo meets a charismatic cowboy the summer before her senior year of high school, she doesn’t know that accepting his invitation to dinner will lead to a whirlwind marriage three months later and an exciting new life on a Montana ranch. She also doesn’t know that, in a few short years, fate will send everything crashing down around her.

A thousand miles away and fresh out of medical school, Nate Meyers is poised to become UCLA’s next superstar heart surgeon. His laser focus is the key to his success, but it’s also his greatest liability. When a routine surgery ends in disaster, derailing his career, he’s confronted with the hard truth: there’s no one waiting for him at home, no one to help him pick up the pieces.

Regrouping on his uncle’s Montana ranch, Nate meets Avelina, a beautiful but mysterious young woman who keeps to herself and barely speaks a word. As he discovers the details of her devastating past, Avelina teaches him more about matters of the heart than he ever knew before. But can they trust each other enough to put everything on the line?



Renee really knows how to get you right in the heart with her novels. After the Rain is a story about two people who have been through real-life issues that are more than the typical “I’m broken” storylines; these two people really are broken, legitimately. It is truly heartbreaking what the both of them suffer through before finding each other, and you can really feel the pain on a personal level right off the bat.

“He was the first of many whom I loved but wasn’t able to mend. There were no healing powers in my hands; I was just a little girl with too many hard lessons to be learned.”

Avelina grew up around farming and horse-riding. It isn’t until after her father passes that her path in life changes, and she meets Jake which turns out to be just exactly what she needed. A whirlwind marriage results in a dramatic change in her life, but for the better. When things go wrong, it’s incredibly heartbreaking as a reader to witness the emotional turmoil Avelina suffers through, because most people can’t imagine going through what she has. Even though Avelina is closed-off, she is an incredibly resilient and strong person, and exactly what Nathaniel needs.

“I knew that kind of pain and sadness; I was familiar with it and knew it didn’t discriminate.”

Nathaniel is a very hard-working, decorated, and young cardiac surgeon. He followed in his father’s footsteps, and can’t imagine that anything could change his drive. But, something does. Nathaniel is knocked down, and haunted by losing his first patient causing his father to pull him back and send him to his uncle’s job in Montana to get some perspective. Nate was caring, and down to earth for being who he was in his career. He’s the only person Avelina has opened up to in many years, and he’s enjoying seeing her light up.

“It seemed like she was directionless at times. It was as though her mind was a pinwheel endlessly spinning on a TV screen, and she was waiting for someone to come along and change the channel.”

This second chance romance was a literal second chance to both Avelina and Nathaniel, two damaged people who need each other to heal. It was an emotional read, and a very true tale of the struggle someone goes through after a tragedy. It was a beautiful story that unfolded in the way it needed to, giving the characters the healing they needed, together.

“‘When your heart’s against my chest, I feel like I’m alive.”




Renée Carlino lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

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