A Chance of Rainbows
I’ve been reading quite a few old 80s series romances lately, and enjoying the diversity in characters and subject matter that you don’t really see anymore. Many of them either don’t hold up over time or weren’t very good to begin with, but every once in a while I come across a good one. A Chance of Rainbows is a good one.
Lainie Tucker is a counselor trained to help couples talk through their problems, but when it came to her own marriage, she couldn’t do the same. During the first few months they were married, her husband Griffin made it clear how unhappy he was that her clients monopolized her time and they seldom had any time together. But whenever she tried to discuss it, he would walk away, refusing to get into an argument. An umpire for professional baseball, Griff stubbornly kept his feelings bottled up inside. Finally, after seven months of marriage, he walked away for good.
He can’t stay away, though, not when Lainie’s attempt to intervene in an abusive relationship puts her in danger, and not when a crisis puts his career in jeopardy and leaves him with nowhere to go. They still love each other and Lainie is determined not to give up on their marriage without the one thing Griff refuses to give her: a fight. But until she can manage to convince him to let her in, they may not have a future.
What’s nice about the conflict is that both sides have their points. It’s easy to understand why Griff would dislike a job that puts his wife in contact with abusive husbands who can turn their attention to her when they can’t find their own wives. Lanie’s clients demand a lot of her time and energy and always seem to expect her to be on call. At the same time it’s clear Griff is unreasonable in several ways. I was skeptical about a hero who would just walk away from a marriage instead of fighting for it, but Griff never really comes across as unsympathetic, which is an accomplishment on the author’s part in and of itself.
Lainie is a determined heroine, unwilling to give up on her husband or her marriage. Griff retreats, she advances. She chips away at his armor until the truth comes out, and then she works to help him. It’s also nice to see a hero with an interesting and unusual job, which gives the story a good subplot that blends nicely with the main plot and gives it some extra stakes. Although the ending wasn’t as emotional or affecting as I might have hoped, it is an engaging story, solidly written, realistic without being depressing.
A Chance of Rainbows is the second of five books about a group of friends in Southern California, most of whom seem to have some kind of sports connection (The hero of Quicksilver Season is a baseball player; the heroine of Body and Soul a sports reporter). If they’re as good as this one, I have some books to hunt down.