Tricia Downing’s Chance for Rain is a romance novel with a twist. Her feisty and athletic heroine is afraid to find love because she has a disability.
Rainey was 14 when a car crash killed her mother and sister and left her paralyzed. With her father’s support, she has learned to use a wheelchair, returned to school and taken up mono-skiing, earning a place on the U.S. Paralympic squad. But she struggles to find love and fears rejection because of her disabilities.
When the story begins, Rainey is 30 and single. Her best friend insists she join an online dating website, giving Rainey the chance to be seen for herself, not as someone in a wheelchair, before meeting an online interest in person. But as she falls in love online with Brian085, her fear of the truth coming out only grows.
Early on, Downing struggles to balance Rainey’s backstory with present events. Her recollections while taking a shower, of rejection from her prom date and an incident at her best friend’s wedding, slows the narrative. Rainey spends much time relating her feelings, resulting in more telling than showing.
Once Rainey’s in action however—whether racing cars, skiing, or plotting how to meet Brian085 without him realizing who she is—the story becomes highly engaging. Rainey’s relationship with her father, who also takes up online dating, is tenderly developed; her struggles to trust are believable, and she’s a warm, sympathetic character, as worried about her looks as any single woman might be. In its final third, Chance for Rain becomes a real page-turner: Will Rainey and Brian085 find a future together?
Downing, herself a Paralympic athlete, clearly knows the emotions and daily realities of living with a disability, including the practicalities of life in a wheelchair. The result is a character whose physical challenges are integral to her life and story, but who is a person just like anyone else, first and foremost. Readers will surely enjoy her journey.
BlueInk Heads-Up: Librarians and bookstores looking to appeal to a diverse community should consider stocking this positive portrayal of a person with disabilities, written by someone who has been there.