By Betty J. Woodman
Rachel Hockett invites her readers to an inside look at loss and resilience in her novel, Driving in the Rain. The book’s intriguing twists and surprising turn of events kept me continually questioning whether this could be a true story.
Lucy Marks and her two young children cope with loss through the strength of familial relationships, a theme that connects the present with past and future. The unexpected death of their beloved husband and father Kevin leaves Lucy, Paul, and Zoey stunned and devastated. The children lean on their mother for strength and support, and their need of her offers a path to begin the rebuilding process. In the aftermath of their loss, Nick, with his light-hearted, playful attention, is a welcome introduction to their lives. However, unlike her easy-going Kevin, Lucy’s second husband is increasingly edgy, tense, and preoccupied. Lucy catches glimpses of another side to Nick, prompting twinges of fear and a sense of foreboding that foreshadows events to come. Hockett contrasts these family dynamics with those of another family. The story of Nathan, Charlotte, and their daughter Cassie offers a tale of wealth, privilege, alcoholism, and teenage rebellion. The comparison offers a basis to distinguish differences a well as points of intersection between family patterns.
Hockett is a contributing writer to TabooJive.com and founder of The Equality Mantra on facebook. Her commitment to issues of equality rests upon an empathetic sensibility evident here through insightful portrayals of family relationships. The book flashes back to earlier events that illuminate individual sensitivities. When a knock at the door heralds the news of Kevin’s premature death, for Lucy it also evokes the grim memory of an earlier knock at her door one rainy night when she was fifteen years old. While Hockett’s developmental character analysis is most thorough about Lucy as the protagonist, her intriguing story leaves me hoping that in a future work she might more deeply explore the construction of a character like Lucy’s complicated second husband.
Driving in the Rain offers a compelling portrayal of family dynamics through a comparative analysis of two very different families. Hockett has written a captivating story which quickly engrosses the reader: it’s impossible not to care about what happens to this young widow and her two young children. By the time Lucy answers a third knock at her door, it is clear that this book is about the resilience we find when, in a moment, a devastating turn of events hits us from out of left field. Most of all, the book speaks to the life losses we will inevitably sustain and the empowering ways we rely upon each other to heal and move forward. This is one of those stories that will stay with you. And if it’s a true story, I can’t help but hope the next knock at the door heralds not another rainy moment but a rainbow stretching from the doorstep to a sunlit road beyond.
Purchase Rachel’s book here —–> Driving in the Rain