Watercolours in the Rain follows on from Summer Moved On, a beautifully written story, looking at love, life, prejudice and preconception, which left me with such a strong sense of the characters, they stayed with me. Jo Lambert has excelled herself with this next book in the story of Talún, Jess and Lily, set in the village of Lynbrook in South Devon. I truly had an ‘ah’ moment when we saw Talún seated at a bar. Even I recognised him from behind. By then, knowing his upbringing, how difficult it was to imagine himself worthy of love, aware of the latest devastating trauma in his life, my heart immediately went out to him. He’s defensive, yet caring, naïve to a degree, and – vulnerable, particularly to someone as manipulative and scheming as Lily, whose desire to steal Talún away from Jess years ago was born of spite and jealousy.
I love that we had, in fact, moved on and that the main characters had matured, yet were still susceptible to their insecurities. This is a wonderful strength of Jo Lambert’s writing, she brings to life real people with distinct voices and strong narrative, not to mention the beautifully painted backdrop. Love, hope, deceit and disappointment are all part of the human condition and the author leads us through the emotions alongside the characters enchantingly. Ultimately, we want the journey to go full circle when fate brings them all back together, for Jess and Talún to find each other again after the bitterness and betrayal that ended their youthful relationship.
The question is, can they? At first glance, Lily also appears to have matured. Now a mother, she has responsibilities. She’s secured herself a steady job. Fundamentally, though, she hasn’t changed. Can anyone at the core? Knowing the deceit the woman is capable of and learning of the loss that Talún has suffered since losing Jess (trying not to give spoilers here, but imagine the worst loss a husband and father can suffer), you have an inkling of how far Lily will go to trap him and secure her future.
Watercolours in the Rain can be read as a standalone, the backstory is very cleverly drip fed throughout. I would highly recommend reading Summer Moved On, too, however. Like me, you really will want to ‘move on’ to the next book and follow the characters’ stories. A definite five star read for me. Oh, and those covers. A perfect package.