Year of the Monsoon

Year of the Monsoon - Caren J. Werlinger Leisa and Nan have been together for ten years. Their love seems rock solid. But an old secret of Nan's she'd rather forget is threatening to come out and it is driving a wedge between them. Leisa's mom dies and leaves more questions than answers. That and a ton of other events make for a super monsoon in their lives. Can they withstand the onslaught?

This is more of a love story than a romance. When we meet our ladies, they are already a couple. We have some flashbacks (actually a ton of flashbacks, thoughts, and even an occasional flashforward) regarding their backstory. We see them painfully and slowly drifting apart due to Nan's mysterious behavior. When the monsoon hits full force, can their love be strong enough to anchor them or will the deluge tear them apart. Or, will it make them stronger still, if they can survive it?

At its core, the book is about the search for family and acceptance. Which is the real family? The family we are born with or the family we choose to surround ourselves with? Its a complex tale with a variety of interesting characters and a myriad of emotions involved--grief, alienation, fear of loss, anger and distrust, and how all of these emotions can oftentimes overwhelm the most important one of all--love.

I could give this 5 stars for the complex plot and characterizations but for the many scenes all over the book where it suddenly shifts to an entirely different scene. Usually these are flashbacks or thoughts of the POV character in the immediately preceding paragraph where whatever it is they're doing or thinking reminds them of something from before or from what someone said before. I felt that these scenes could be better formatted (maybe italics) to better clue the reader in to the shift. There was even one bizarre scene that was actually a flashforward. Now that really threw me, lol. I'm not sure if the writer was striving for a different style, but she doesn't write like this in her other books. Personally, I think with such a rich story to tell, she doesn't need to do it. It disturbed the flow of the story, and hence this reader's emotions. Fortunately, the scene-shifts happen often enough that it gets easier to navigate in the later chapters. I also had to do a bit of work to keep up with who the different names are that come up in the story. The search function of e-readers are a godsend for this.

4.4 stars