Rains, At Times Heavy

By Debi Goodwin

Categories: Fiction
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773861227, 240 pages, October 2023

Through vivid landscapes and complex characters, Rains, At Times Heavy explores how one moment, chaotic and destructive as a storm, can spiral through the generations of a single family.


Linden Kemp’s grandmother tells her: Old age is a privilege our men never got to know.

Linden’s grandfather drowned trying to save others when Hurricane Hazel lashed an unprepared Toronto. The hippie father she never knew died in the monsoons of India. Her husband slipped from life on the black ice of freezing rain. In her work as a climatologist, Linden knows the world faces more natural disasters. This knowledge and her legacy of death darken her view of the future.

When a letter, held back by her grandmother, reveals her father had a second child who lives in California, Linden travels to Death Valley, the driest place on the continent and a cherished spot she visited often with her husband. There, in the sparseness of the desert, she seeks her half-brother and answers to the mystery of her father’s abandonment. She says goodbye to her husband and vows never to rely on anyone else ever again. But weather still has a lesson to teach her: life must still be lived fully in the calm between storms.

Through vivid landscapes and complex characters, Rains, At Times Heavy explores how one moment, one trauma, can spiral through the generations until a single person steps bravely into its path.


Rains, At Times Heavy tells the compelling story of the Kemp family, seemingly cursed to lose their men to stormy weather. Death comes with downpours, rising rivers, lungs full of water, leaving behind bereft partners and fatherless children. Goodwin takes us from deluge to the desert when Linden, the youngest of the Kemp widows, is drawn to Death Valley, the hottest, driest place in the hemisphere, to bury her husband's ashes. There, she unearths truths about her father that might just point the way to her emotional rescue. For all its sadness, Rains, At Times Heavy is an uplifting journey of love, hope and redemption in a world that is full of storms.”

—Gail Gallant, author of The Changeling and Apparition

Rains, At Times Heavy takes us into the heart of a family fractured by grief but united in their search for connection and safety in a world that is marked by increasingly unpredictable climate. From the ravages of Hurricane Hazel to the regular monsoon rains on the Varanasi ghats, from manicured Toronto lawns to the terrible beauty of Death Valley, Debi Goodwin reminds us that weather is not a backdrop to our private dramas but its own vital narrative, essential to our individual and collective survival. This is a tender novel about living in and through the literal and metaphorical storms that alter the course of our lives."

—Jamie Zeppa, author of Every Time We Say Goodbye

“What a perfect title Debi Goodwin found for a novel that is poignant and always involving. Rains, sometimes heavy, have deprived the climatologist Linden Kemp of a grandfather, father and husband. As deft at describing dangerous outer weather as she is at the inner weather of intergenerational grief, Goodwin paints a memorable portrait of a woman who wants to take no more chances. Then, in one of the driest places on earth, she surprises herself.”

—Katherine Ashenburg, author of Her Turn