This is the second novel in Linda Goodnight's Honey Ridge series. It does catch up with characters, as well as the setting, from The Memory House, but it goes well beyond that.
Hayden Winters, a bestselling novelist, and Carrie Riley meet under unique circumstances. A late-night storm has Carrie shaking with fear and that same storm is invigorating Hayden. When a child appears in the midst of the storm, afraid to go home but equally afraid of having to tell his story, Carrie and Hayden bond and befriend the preteen.
Hayden's bond stems from his own dealings with an abusive parent. As the town librarian, Carrie simply cares for everyone in her town, including this boy who often shows up at the library, eating whatever he can, and staying as late as possible. The more Hayden and Carrie spend with this child, the stronger their own bond grows. Hayden, however, has kept his past hidden and isn't sure he's great material for a long-term relationship, especially with someone as sweet as Carrie.
The other aspect of The Rain Sparrow takes place in Hayden's dreams. During his stay at Peach Orchard Inn, he keeps having very vivid dreams that lead him on a quest to undercover the truth about the allegedly haunted mill that's near the inn.
Like the first book, this one flips between past and present. The transitions are seamless. I loved catching up with characters from Peach Orchard Inn, and I really loved watching Hayden battle his demons while trying to decide if he was worthy of love.