‘Silver Rain’ is Al and Kate’s story, and though they’ve both waved goodbye to their forties, their love story is as fresh and poignant as Jack and Rose’s or Romeo and Juliet’s. They are both hugely likeable, though sometimes rather stubborn in their efforts to be sensible and act their age.
Al is immature, homeless, jobless, penniless, apparently sponging off his rather gorgeous, successful and much younger girlfriend. Not a very appealing image for a hero, maybe. But Al has a heart of pure gold, always willing to give up his last penny to anyone; he’s deeply sensitive, a devoted father, fun and caring grandfather, sensitive brother-in-law, friend to humans and animals alike – well, just about everything to everyone – including those who definitely don’t deserve it. He’ll dress up as Freddie the clown and walk through a busy shopping mall to gatecrash Kate’s place of work and bring a little birthday cheer. And okay, his escapade succeeds in losing Kate her job – but it’s all about the thought, and it was a horrible job anyway.
Sensible Kate hides behind a tougher exterior, but she’s a modern-day Anne Elliot, always there for everyone to take advantage of her (which they invariably do). It’s a pleasure to see the way Kate develops as the story progresses, but difficult to want her to gain enough independence to allow her to cast off everyone around her.
And it’s the everyone around her (and Al) who colour the pages of this heart-warming story so beautifully. Jan Ruth has a wonderful way with characters that makes you recognise them, love them or hate them, but just want to know them. Take Kate’s selfish and disreputable sister, her endearing elderly mother, or Al’s outrageous soon-to-be-ex-wife and his nasty-minded brother, just to scratch the surface – you know you should, but you can’t dislike them because they’re all far too entertaining.
‘Silver Rain’ shows Jan Ruth’s writing at its best. The wonderfully presented characters, familiar, rich Welsh backdrop and compelling storylines full of interest and intrigue all blend together to create the kind of story for which, well, quite frankly, if you like to read at bedtime, you’d better be prepared to give up sleep for several nights.