Wednesday, February 24, 2010


© 2010 by Michael Cogdill

ISBN: 978-1-60037-702-0 (paperback)
Publisher: Morgan-James Publishing
SRP: $24.95
345 pp.

First, I have to say the author’s choice of title threw me. I guess he expected that since he gives a definition in the front of the book. “She-Rain. Scraps of fog, adrift on the ridges of Appalachia. It appears as lacy mist blown off the clouds of a high-mountain rainy day. The expression comes from the lexicon of folklore. I heard it during my early boyhood from my grandmother, Dovie Ella Crowe Keys, who adored and seemed to draw peace from the sight of it. “A little tear off a heaven gown. Fine as it can be. A little lace off the rain.”

About the book: “In the early 20th century, a pair of North Carolina mountain children sow the seed of a love that becomes their only solace in the hard yet beautiful world they know. They grow it from steep ground of poverty, ignorance, and violence. A landscape so brutal it can kill hope before claiming life.

Bloodshed years later finally sends Frank Locke on the run, deep into wilderness, abandoning his extraordinary love, Mary Lizbeth. When a whitewater river washes this desperate soul into the hands of Sophia, he discovers a luminous woman steeped in mystery, trapped in a tragically brilliant life. Far ahead of her time. Secreted from the world. As she awakens Frank’s mind, they rise to meet a love that binds three people for a lifetime.

This love triangle forms a beauty no one sees coming. From the wilds of Appalachia, crossing nearly a century, it runs deep into a lush American fortune, and lives in letters of adoration and hope of the least expected.

In a rhapsody of Southern voices, mingling hilarity and sorrow, She-Rain speaks of lives soaring beyond heartbreak, fundamentalism, and self-destruction. Through the most graceful longing, two women in love with one man ultimately prove the power of human hearts to answer high callings. They show us all how to heal – and thrive – to the very end.”

If you are a fan of Southern novels, stories of redemption and survival, you will like this book. Coghill’s portrayal of a southern mill town full of people struggling to eke out a living in the 1930’s is very vivid. Add to this the racial intolerance of the times, illiteracy, and domestic abuse. In all this chaos, Frank finds love and hope. The lessons Sophia and Mary L. teach Frank about friendship, love, respect, compassion, and tolerance help him as he tries to overcome a childhood of poverty and abuse. The book was excruciatingly sad at times and the plot turned in ways I didn’t expect towards the end but altogether it was an enjoyable story.

Michael Cogdill, the author, grew up in North Carolina and does a wonderful job setting the scenes of his book. He also had an abusive, alcoholic father (who later achieved sobriety) and was able to add so much realism to the character of Frank’s drug-addicted father.

This book was provided for review by FSB Associates.


Lisa Rusczyk said...

I'd probably like this one, but my Grandmother would love it.

Ashley @ Ashley's Library said...

I received a copy of this book to read as well. It looks interesting though I have not started it yet!

Michael Cogdill said...

Kat, my deepest thanks for your time spent in She-Rain and for your caring review!! You are very gracious.

Ashley, Lisa and other readers, I look forward to your unvarnished thoughts. Unlike so many other writers, I'm eager to communicate with readers. And I work in television, so it's impossible to hurt my feelings!

Warmest peace to all,
Michael Cogdill