Night of Rain and Stars is about four people from different countries who are holidaying on a Greek Island and how the people on the island, especially Vonni, influence their future. Vonni is a 50-something Irish woman who ran away from Ireland with a Greek lover over 30 years ago. They returned to the island of his birth - Aghia Anna. Sadly the relationship didn't last and Vonni became an alcoholic and lost her son Stavros, whom she has not seen in many years. Andreas owns and runs a restaurant on top of a hill overlooking the harbor. He had an argument with his son Adoni over ten years ago and Adoni left home and went to live in Chicago and they have had no contact since.
That evening there is a fire on one of the tourist boats in the harbor. Watching from Andreas' restaurant are Fiona and Shane, a young Irish couple, David from England, Thomas from the States and the beautiful German girl Elsa. They are all running away from their lives and this is the first time they have all met. The tragedy which is unfolding in the harbor below them brings them close together. No one else arrives at the restaurant as everyone is down at the harbor trying to rescue the people in the water. They start to get to know each other and Elsa advises Andreas to write to his son in Chicago and ask him to come home.
Fiona and Shane have run away to see the world. Fiona is a nurse in Dublin and Shane is the ultimate waste of space. Fiona is madly in love with this rude individual and cannot see how awful he is. Elsa is a successful news anchor in Germany but has quit her job and run away after discovering that her lover and boss, Dieter, had a child by another women. David has left England to find himself. His father wanted him to take over the family business but it was the last thing David wanted. Thomas is an university lecturer and has taken a year's sabbatical to try and get over the fact that his ex-wife is now happily married and living with his son, Bill. After a very long evening, Andreas' brother and the local policeman, Yorghis, collects the five tourists in a truck to save them the long walk back down the hill.
Thomas was staying in a luxury apartment over a craft shop which was owned by Vonni. Elsa was staying in an upmarket studio apartment and David was staying in a house with the family of the boat owner who had died in the fire. Fiona and Shane were staying in a lowly cottage. When Elsa ventures out the following morning there are news crews from all over the world, including the network she used to work for. She knew that Dieter would be there somewhere and she had to escape. Elsa persuades David to take her with him on his trip to Kalatriada so that she can avoid been found by Dieter. When Fiona wakes she realizes that she may be pregnant and wonders how Shane will take the news. She decided to tell him later when he had had a couple of beers which seemed to make his mood a little more mellow. When Fiona did tell Shane he became violent and hit her. Yorghis, the policeman, hauled him away to the police station. When Vonni hears of the incident, she suggests that Shane is put on the last ferry to Athens out of Fiona's way. They do not tell Fiona. Shane is only in Athens for a few hours when he gets arrested for carrying drugs and is put in prison.
Fiona is exceptionally upset, so Thomas decides to find out where Elsa and David went and they take a taxi to Kalatriada and stay the night there, so that Fiona can have a heart to heart with Elsa. Meanwhile, Vonni is doing all she can for the families who have lost loved ones. She teaches some of the village children to sing a hymn in English and German for the relatives of the tourists who had died. When Fiona and her new friends return, Fiona goes straight to the police station and discovers that Shane has gone to Athens and not even left her a note. She is confident that he will return or send for her. Vonni spots a very upset Fiona and tries to take her mind off her problems by encouraging her to help with the children at the funerals. Vonni stays with one of the widows, Maria, who is absolute lost without her husband. Vonni later organises David to give Maria driving lessons so that she can earn a living doing local deliveries.
Elsa can avoid Dieter no longer and they spend the evening together. Elsa loves Dieter but finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that he has never met his child. Dieter wants Elsa to return to Germany with him and marry him, but she refuses and watches him leave on the early morning ferry. Fiona can not stop crying over Shane and has a miscarriage. Vonni comes to the rescue as usual and, with Elsa's help, they nurse Fiona back to health.
Thomas rings his son Bill on a regular basis but it is plain to everyone, except Thomas, that Bill wants his Dad to come home now and not in almost a year's time. Vonni tells Thomas that he is lucky to have a son and he should spend as much time with him as he can. David is feeling pressurized to go back to England as his father is receiving a prestigious business award. Vonni, who has read David's mother's letters, tells David that it is obvious his father is ill. David rings his mother and his mother confesses that his father only has six months to live. David must go home.
Vonni eventually tells Fiona that Shane is in jail in Athens. Fiona is furious that no one told her before. Fiona and Vonni go to Athens the following day and all Shane is interested in is the money for his bail. He attacks Fiona again and finally Fiona sees the light and decides that she should go back to Ireland and nursing. David and Fiona leave the island together and Fiona spends one night with David's parents to help David settle back home. They all hit it off and Fiona gives David's dad some advice re palliative care.
Vonni tells Elsa that she has everything going for her and should embrace it. Elsa finally decides that she will not go back to Germany and marry Dieter. Elsa and Thomas fall in love and Elsa decides to take a job in California to be close to Thomas. The evening before Elsa and Thomas leave the island, they have dinner at Andreas' restaurant and tell everyone their news. Before the evening is over, Andreas' long lost son walks up the hill and declares he is back forever. David, Fiona, Elsa and Thomas all write to Vonni to thank her for her wisdom and they all hope that one day, her son will also return.
Best part of story, including ending:
Again, Binchy manages to get the reader to love the characters right from the beginning. You end up hoping you will meet most of them again in another book.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was the funeral service with its flowers, children, dancing and mouring.
Opinion about the main character:
Vonni is in most scenes and quietly points people in the right direction without making a big song and dance about it.