Author: Tricia Stringer
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Come Rain or Shine is the latest offering by talented South Australian Tricia Stringer, this is the sequel to last year’s A Chance of Stormy Weather. Stormy Weather was reworked from an early self published book and as such Come Rain or Shine started life as Due Date, self-published in 2008.
This is a sequel, it follows the events and the characters from A Chance of Stormy Weather BUT I’m quite sure it would stand on it’s own merits if it was read on it’s own or first.
Paula and Dan have moved forward with their lives and are into the next stage of their marriage, impending parenthood. They have worked through the issues they were having and have promised no more secrets.
It wouldn’t be a full length novel without some tension and stress, and there’s no shortage. Life in the bush is lived at the mercy of the weather, and it’s still been pretty dry so there are a few farmers struggling. Dan and Paula are doing okay but they aren’t completely out of the woods.
An overheard conversation in the doctors office was enough to make Paula wonder about their position as Dan became more tired and distant. It seems their promise of no more lies may not be being upheld. Paula knows that there is something going on but no-one wants to let her in on the secret.
Stringer deals with many issues facing farmers in Come Rain or Shine and one of the biggest is the matter of succession when it comes to the family farm, and as such the family business. Wills are important for everyone, and whenever I read about one it reminds me how important it is that I get one in place, but when it comes to a family business it becomes even more important.
Succession planning is not always limited to just immediate family so it can become quite a minefield, especially if it wasn’t transparent from the outset.
Partnerships, insurance, wills, succession planning are all major considerations in a business, and issues facing not just Paula and Dan but also their neighbours.
Paula is settling in to life on the farm and taking all of the new challenges in her stride. She has taken on accountancy customers from home, she’s working on her cooking skills to feed the shearers, she’s helping out around the farm and has even worked out how to improvise when the plumbing comes back up the gurgler.
There are moments of humour and all of the characters we have grown to love are back. We see a different side to Aunt Rowena, she still has her moments where she and Paula clash but you can see that she really does have all of their best interests at heart and she has faith in Paula; her love for Dan and her ability to step up to the plate on the farm.
All in all another engaging read by Stringer that I quite enjoyed. It irks me that again the bulk of the tension is caused by a lack of communication and could easily be solved by a conversation. Okay, it wouldn’t have been an easy conversation but it certainly would have then created a united front and a family that can work together to find the best solution. Dan had valid reasons for behaving the way he did but it still irks me, the stress of not understanding what’s going on far outweighs any stress caused by situations that arise, in my opinion anyway.
It seems that Stringer may have given us all there is to tell about Dan and Paula Woodcroft, for now, but I would be interested to check in on them a couple of years from now and see how they are all going. I’m sure there are some secondary characters who could feasibly flesh out a story of their own.
Come Rain or Shine is book #44 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.