The Rain Watcher


From the bestselling author of Sarah’s Key

It is raining non-stop over Paris. The Malegarde family—split between France, London, and the US —is reunited for the first time in years. When Paul, a famous yet withdrawn arborist, suffers a stroke in the middle of his 70th birthday celebrations, his son Linden is stuck in a city that is undergoing a stunning natural disaster. As the Seine bursts its banks and floods the streets, the family will have to fight to keep their unity as hidden fears and secrets also begin to rise. In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates her wealth of skills both as an incredible storyteller and also as a connoisseur of the human soul.

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Publication date

5 March, 2019




Tatiana de Rosnay

Tatiana de Rosnay, of English, French, and Russian descent, was born in 1961, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, and raised in Boston and Paris… Read more


Book club questions

  1. Paris is flooding—how much of a threat do you think this is in reality? Could it happen? Would you have stayed in Linden’s situation? Why, why not?
  2. The reporters are taking photographs of and writing about the flood damage—how do you feel about this in the light of a natural disaster; is it ethical, is it necessary? Why?
  3. Why do you think Linden was unable to tell his father that he was gay? How do you think his father would have reacted to the news?
  4. How do you feel about Lauren’s reaction to Linden coming out? Why do you think she reacted in this way?
  5. Describe the relationship between Lauren and her sister. Do you think they had a good relationship with each other? Why, why not?
  6. What kind of a man do you think Linden’s father was? How do you think what he witnessed as a child affected him?
  7. What factors might have prevented Paul from speaking out about what he saw? Would you have spoken out?
  8. Tilia’s daughter is the youngest of the characters. How do you think she views the adult family members in her life. What might her opinions be about Linden, Tilia, and her grandparents, for example?
  9. Describe the relationship between Tilia and Linden. Are they close? Do they have difficulties communicating with each other?
  10. Why do you think Tilia stays with her husband? Does she love him, should she leave him? Why, why not?
  11. Before Paul’s attack, what do you think each of the main characters expected from the weekend?
  12. How do you think Sasha feels about Linden’s family? And about France in general?
  13. How is Linden affected by his return to the place he grew up?
  14. Did you find the setting of the novel recognizable?
  15. Did you come away from this book wanting to read more by this author?


‘Throughout, de Rosnay stokes the Malegardes’ histories with raw and powerful reminiscences and gorgeous descriptions. This is an emotional tour de force and a thoughtful, deliberate examination of personal tragedy and the possibility of redemption.’ —Publishers Weekly

‘She didn’t intend it as such but Tatiana de Rosnay has written a novel for the times in the most emphatic sense. It’s been plunged straight into a world in which Extinction Rebellion is bringing cities to a halt in the name of climate-change awareness and the embers of the Notre Dame fire have only just stopped smoking. Literary fiction really doesn’t get as topical as this.’
New European

‘A ceaseless rain, a brother, a sister, a birthday, a tree—seemingly ordinary things. But Tatiana de Rosnay’s expert storytelling proves that within life’s ordinary is the power for extraordinary change. A bonfire begins with a spark. A flood begins with a single drop. In a similar fashion, The Rain Watcher will leave you spellbound, transformed, and swept away.’ —SARAH MCCOY, author of The Mapmaker’s Children

‘I was mesmerized by de Rosnay’s new novel—it has something for everyone; an all-too-fathomable disaster story of the Seine swamping Paris; a family story about confronting lifelong secrets; a cautionary tale and love letter to our natural world, all told with de Rosnay’s superlative sophistication and elegance. Hypnotic, passionate, ominous, and tender, The Rain Watcher is unforgettable.’ —JENNA BLUM, author of Those Who Save Us

‘The characters are portrayed in their most fragile moments adding a unique poignancy to their individual narratives. This compelling story takes you into the Malegarde family’s deepest secrets and insecurities—I dare you to put it down.’ —C. CLAYTON THOMPSON, Bookseller

‘This is a compelling study of the complexities of family life and, ultimately, love.’

The Rain Watcher is a beautiful but hard-hitting real-life story around the reality of dealing with mortality.’
The Secret World of a Book Blogger 

‘The author’s descriptions of Paris in the rain were beautiful, with some of her observations so vivid that I had to stop a minute to fully enjoy them.’
Over the Rainbow 

‘A book about human relationships first and foremost, told tenderly and luxuriously.’
A Little Book Problem 

The Rain Watcher is a slow-burning, evocatively written story with such a vivid sense of place, and beautifully crafted characters. It really is quite stunning.’
Random Things Through My Letterbox