A Summer Without Rain
Ciaran O’Kelly and Shannon Sullivan have been friends since childhood. So close as to almost be brothers, the two spend every free moment in each other’s company. Ciaran is a bright and happy young man, but for Shannon life has been more like a nightmare. Molested by his teacher five years previously, Shannon has been reviled and all but cast out of their tiny village. Years of being treated as something unclean by his parents and the priest at the local church have developed Shannon into a desperately unhappy and angry young man. The only joy he finds in life is in his friend Ciaran, and Shannon clings to that friendship to save his sanity.

After the sudden death of Ciaran’s mother, Ciaran and Shannon travel to Dublin on an errand for Ciaran’s father. During that trip, the relationship between the two young men changes forever. Too much drink and Shannon’s desire to comfort a mourning Ciaran lead to a passion that shocks and delights the two friends. While Shannon has always loved Ciaran in a way that society reviles, Ciaran has his eyes opened to the way he truly feels about his friend. Although he could be considered the innocent, he throws himself into this new relationship with Shannon with all that he is.

Although Shannon is delighted to finally be able to act on his feelings for Ciaran, he also understands the dangers that their love can pose for them. While they may find some small acceptance in the big city of Dublin, this will not be the fact back in their village. Will Ciaran with his ebullient nature and outgoing personality be able to keep their relationship discreet when they are in public? Given the intolerant nature of the Irish village and the Catholic Church, their lives may very well depend on it.

A Summer Without Rain by Christie Gordon is a story of impossible love and passion set against a backdrop of 1920s Ireland. This was a time of social change and civil unrest in the country, when the Irish Republican Army was struggling against the British and Northern Ireland separated from the rest of the country, and Ms. Gordon does an excellent job of fitting her story into this setting.

This novel is well written and smoothly plotted and truly has no “down” time. Everything that happens is pertinent to the story and advances the plot. The Irish setting is portrayed so well that the reader is pulled into the scene seamlessly and effortlessly. The two sympathetic young heroes are really just teenagers hovering on the brink of adulthood, and their behavior shows it. They fluctuate between needing to assert their independence and still needing or being dominated by their parents. As this story of love and struggle for identity unfolds, it draws the reader in and holds them captive, making A Summer Without Rain an appealing and entirely engrossing read. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a little history with their romance.

Reviewed by: Whitney