I read Rainsong by Phyllis Whitney not long ago. Like Victoria Holt, her books are somewhat old-fashioned, but her stories are enjoyable.
The plot, involving a young woman named Hollis Temple, is an interesting mix of romance and suspense. Hollis is a strong character who faces her challenges courageously. She is a songwriter who meets and marries her idol, popular singer Ricky Sands. Their relationship isn’t easy. Hollis is a lot younger than her husband, and Ricky has some problems, including drug use, and is in general selfish and difficult. The author does a good job of touching on the nonsense that can go on in the music business without going into a lot of gruesome detail. The story isn’t specifically about the music business anyway; it is about Hollis’ search for answers. Rainsong is the name of a hit song Hollis writes for Ricky, and this song is significant for Hollis and important to the story.
Ricky dies of an apparent suicide, but Hollis believes he may have been murdered. Hollis digs up some secrets, and what she discovers makes for a well-written story.
The locations of New York City and Cold Spring Harbor, a quiet Long Island town where Hollis goes to get away from the press, are a nice contrast. I’ve been to New York a couple of times, and the city and the areas outside the city are totally different worlds. The various characters all have issues, and it isn’t clear until the end of the book who the real villain is. My favorite secondary character is Geneva Ames, who has a past with Hollis’ father, and whose daughter has a past with Ricky. It is an invitation from Geneva that brings Hollis to Long Island. I like Tim Gordon also. He is a troubled teen who initially seems to dislike Hollis. However, he honestly cares about Ricky, and Tim and Hollis develop a good, mutually beneficial relationship later.
I wonder about the wisdom of accepting an invitation to stay with someone you don’t know, although Holiis does so on the advice of someone she knows. I also think it is probably wiser not to sneak into a hospital after hours to see someone who has bodyguards. However, if characters in books were always reasonable there would be no drama. As I’ve said, this author’s stories are a bit dated.
Rainsong is a good story worth reading.