To me, the mark of a truly great book is one that causes me to "live" in it, to feel all of the emotions the characters are feeling. Rainy Day Friends is a fantastic book. As I read, I was drawn into Lanie's life & feelings. I felt her hurt, anger & despair over the mess her dead husband had made of their life. I "ugly" cried when she finally broke. River - poor River - I felt devastated for her being so young & in her position. Mark had my sympathies for being left as a single parent & my admiration for stepping up & doing what needed done. Lanie, Mark & River had to travel a journey that actually was leading them to acceptance of what had happened to them & opening them up to recognizing & letting live back into their lives. Mark's family is the secondary characters & they are all complicated individuals but you find yourself loving everyone! Cora is the quintessential mother, Uncle Jack is the smart aleck & the sisters witty & hilarious. The plot leads the reader on a path with circles, twists & turns but keeps them deeply enthralled in what is happening. I would recommend making sure you have time to read the book from cover to cover & having a full box of tissues at hand before you sit down & start. This book is not a downer. There are moments I found myself smiling & chuckling too. This is a intense, highly charged emotional book & one of the best I've read in a while.