The story takes place over eighteen months in the life of Stella, a poetry teacher. Her husband goes missing thousands of miles from home. Her life-lines are her work in a hospice, playing the clarinet in an amateur orchestra, and her son Tom.

Unknown to Stella, there are connections between the people in these separate worlds. When these worlds collide she must discover how to live with the consequences.

Music, poetry and compassion feature powerfully in this absorbing novel. It explores grief and love in an unusually intimate narrative that is funny, moving and true to life.


A Small Rain

Reader’s Comments


“It was so gripping, I succumbed to reading in the afternoon, which I never do.” Maureen Katrack

“I sat on the loo in the morning, not wanting to leave for work, because I couldn’t stop reading.” Jan Bush

“I was absolutely gripped and astonished by the range of expertise into which Hilary has been able to tap.” Eric Furness

“I enjoyed it enormously. Hilary’s three intertwining stories are beautiful. I was with her characters all the way.” Audrey Hales

“I wanted to let you know... I even cried at the end.” Jacqui Wood

A Small Rain was published in 2003 (ISBN 1 898030 73 1) it is out of print but second-hand copies are  available on amazon.co.uk

A Small Rain

O Western  wind, when wilt thou blow,

that the small rain down can rain?

Christ, that my love were in my arms,

And I in my bed again!


[Author’s note: This book was published in a tearing hurry, with minimal editing, by a small publisher. In spite of nearly a year of sending corrections, each reissue contained many old and some new errors, or new corrections added to earlier drafts. While some readers have continued to insist that it is the best of my novels, I remain embarrassed by the error-strewn copies available on the internet.]