Reviews - What do customers think about Rain Village?
Great Idea, Clumsy Execution May 2, 2007
This story has all the elements of a great, epic tale. Unfortunately, it reads like a quick outline of this epic story. The characters are rushed through life and we barely get a chance to really care about any of them. Even Tessa's four years with Mary, something that defines the rest of her life, are a blur. The ending is about 1/4 of the length and depth that it should rightfully be. I can't help but feel like this story would have been better handled by a more seasoned writer. There were too many holes and rushed stories that I would have liked to see fleshed out.
fine early twentieth century character study Mar 6, 2007
In Oakley, Kansas, tiny twelve years old Tessa Riley is so small she is unable to help her parents or her three normal siblings with the farm. In fact her mother insists that Tessa do one job, stretching exercises so that she would grow to a normal size and no longer be a freak. Tessa feels all alone as everyone in the community and her family following the leads of her abusive father and bible quoting mother treat her like a pathetic sideshow reject.
The new librarian Mary Finn has all the townsfolk hopping as she enchantsthe men with her beauty and the women with envy. Mary especially takes a liking to diminutive Tessa telling her tales from her days as the flying Marionetta with the Velasquez Circus. She teaches the child to read and tells her enchanting tales about the residents of Rain Village. Tessa uses the stories to hide her hurt from the scorn of all (except Mary who encourages her) and the sexual assaults of her father. When Mary apparently commits suicide, a distraught now sixteen years old Tessa flees to Kansas City where she joins the circus and marries flyer Mauro Ramirez until her late mentor's nephew Costas arrives and tells her he is going to Rain Village.
Though the ending is unwisely rushed, RAIN VILLAGE has a Brigadoon like feel to the wonderful historical tale. Tessa may be short, but she holds the coming of age tale together as she is a fully developed character whether she is preadolescent, teenager, or adult. Mary is more mystical in nature (like her village and the circus) adding to the overall enchantment. Carolyn Turgeon provides a fine early twentieth century character study that brings out a more isolated era.
First novel triumph Jan 30, 2007
Ms.Turgeon is quite a storyteller.We were skillfully drawn into the life of smallish Tessa Riley and her experiences in the circus, a world not well known by most, and came away with an insight into the colorful lifestyle of its many players.Ms.Turgeon has clearly researched the subject thoroughly.Because I am sight-impaired, my son read the novel aloud to me over a period of weeks.It is a testimony to its storyline that we couldn't wait to pick it up each time to see what the interesting cast of characters was up to.A copy of the book was donated to our small,local library and is very popular with our friends.We're eager to read what Ms.Turgeon writes next in her young career.
Charming, Ethereal, Palpable, Joy Dec 1, 2006
"Rain Village" has a gypsy in its soul, filled with secrets, scents, thrills, chills and suspense, just like every circus should be! The narrator, tiny Tessa Riley, begins to tell her tale of being too small to do chores as a mere girl in a farming family in Kansas and meeting up with Mary Finn, a strange, mystical and almost magical woman that arrived on the scene and would serve as both a mentor and an icon to her.
The story unfolds like a paper flower in water, as the tale of who this woman is, how she is connected to this little girl and what lies ahead for little Tessa in that big world out there is the crux of the story.
The book plays out almost like a grown-up fable, with rich descriptions, evocative phrasing and very real people who just happen to be in a very unique business: the world of the Big Top.
Author Carolyn Turgeon provides a read that's as quick as a human cannonball and as light and lovely as the aerialists she describes. It is a wonderful tale that you'll wish went on at least a little longer.
"Lyrical" Nov 5, 2006
A novel not about rain or villages so much as it is about a misfit girl and the mysterious librarian/circus performer/aromatic sex siren who rescues her from sullen mediocrity. William Shelden found it "lyrical" and I agree; Tessa's first-person narrative is rich with lush description of both the carnivalesque locales in which she finds herself and the tumult of emotions her journey leads her to endure. The hints of magic-realist hyperbole elevate this survivor's tale, heightening the mystery of what links ambition to tragedy without making the story in the least bit nebulous, encouraging readers to give in already and submit to wonderment.