Set in the small town of Clopton, Alabama, Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin is a highly descriptive novel about Tucker Mason, a talented photographer with a broken past. Tucker grew up under the loveless, abusive, alcoholic Rex. Tucker’s main source of love and goodness shined through the “house help,” Miss Ella Rain, whom Tucker came to call “Mama Ella.” During the story, we also meet Tucker’s brother Mutt, a schizophrenic yet gifted tinkerer/mechanic/carpenter, Katie, an old childhood friend, and several intriguing side characters. Wrapped in Rain chronicles Tucker’s story of hardships endured, love taught and found, slow healing, and break from the past.
Martin’s writing is extremely descriptive. Some readers may find this slows the pace of the book down at first. However, I’m quite visual and imagine the settings, people, and events as I read anyway, so I took a liking to the detailed description. The vivid detail thrusts the reader into the setting and the characters’ perspectives. By the end of just the prologue, I already completely love Miss Ella, feel empathy towards then 5-year-old Tucker, and despise Rex. Some of the events and minor characters were quite rough (compared to most people’s everyday lives), but Martin tells the story in a very authentic and real progression.
Martin uses Tucker’s point of view through much of the story (in first person), but also tells bits from other characters’ eyes (in third person). The story is a combination of present-time recordings and past memories to tell backstory. Miss Ella gives many great “pull quotes” with her loving, honest teachings to Tucker and Mutt, though Martin weaves these lessons into the story well without a contrived feeling.
I think this novel’s best points rest in Miss Ella’s strong faith (and boldness to speak and live out that faith), the authenticity of the characters, and its ability to broaden the reader’s view on what brokenness can look like and how much love can heal.
Questions for you: Have you read any of Charles Martin’s novels? What draws you into a scene or character the most: description, character dialogue, inner dialogue, or action?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”