Asha Lemmie’s sprawling, thought-provoking debut novel, Fifty Words for Rain will give you 50 reasons to cancel the rest of your day ... I inhaled Fifty Words for Rain ... If you are a Flowers in the Attic enthusiast, this story may give you a sense of déjà vu ... Scenes where the siblings are together are among the most moving in this emotionally draining (in a good way) novel, but they still bring with them a sense of foreboding ... [a] riveting, occasionally melodramatic, always entertaining novel.
[A] a gripping historical tale that will transport readers through myriad emotions ... Lemmie has a gift both for painting pictures with lush descriptions and for eliciting horror with the matter-of-fact way in which she recounts abhorrent acts ... A truly ambitious and remarkable debut.
[An] epic, twisty debut ... Lemmie makes a few bewildering narrative choices...but she keeps the reader guessing and ends with a staggering gut punch ... Lemmie’s heartbreaking story of familial obligations packs an emotional wallop.
Lemmie’s sweeping historical backdrop, from the post–World War II decline of minor royalty through the expanding liberations of the 1960s, is breathtaking. Unfortunately, Nori’s own metamorphosis into a strong young woman is inconsistent and a bit confusing. Again and again, just when we think she has found a deep internal strength to endure or even overcome adversity, Nori lapses into a shrill childish tantrum ... A bold historical portrait of a woman overcoming oppression marred by inconsistent character development.