The Small Rain

At only ten years old, Katherine Forrester has already experienced her fair share of upheaval. It has been three years since she last saw her mother, a concert pianist whose career was cut short by a terrible accident. After a brief reunion, tragedy strikes once more, forcing Katherine from the familiarity of New York City to a foreign Swiss boarding school.

Far from home, she struggles with the challenges of growing up. Stifled by her daily routine and the pettiness of her classmates, Katherine’s piano lessons with a gifted young teacher provide an anchor in the storm. After graduation, she follows in her mother’s footsteps, pursuing a career as a pianist in Greenwich Village. There, she must learn to reconcile her blossoming relationship with her fiancé with the one consistent and dominant force in her life: music.

Inspired by the author’s time living among artists, The Small Rain follows Katherine’s journey from a distraught girl to an exuberant and talented woman with the breadth and poignancy that defines Madeleine L’Engle’s signature style.

The Small Rain is L’Engle’s first published novel.

Originally published in 1945.

Genre: Adult fiction

Other Books in the Series

The Small Rain


“Young love, against a background of an English school in Switzerland, of New York’s Schemia — and the worlds of theatre and music interchangeably — and the urge to measure up to what her mother would have wanted for her in music combine to make Katherine an elusive and convincingly contradictory character. Well done.”
– Kirkus Review, 1945

The Small Rain is L’Engle’s first novel – and for a first novel it is rather extraordinary. She has a firm hand, it’s a sweeping story covering many years, and she never seems to be self-indulgent or showing off or lingering on her own good prose.”
– Sheila O’Malley, The Sheila Variations, 2006

“L’Engle has created an immensely appealing character [Katherine]; and in the course of her quietly well-told story she has given us a true picture of the life lived by serious artists.”
– Philadelphia Inquirer


“The Madeleine L’Engle You Never Knew”
Megan Hess, 2012 / Scholastic Parent & Child

“Madeleine L’Engle Inspiration on Writing and Marriage”
Dyane Harwood, 2014 / Birth of a New Brain Blog