Diane Chamberlain – “Before The Storm“
Many of the members of one of the book groups I’m in on Face Book have read and recommended Diane Chamberlain‘s work. My preferred reading material is usually paranormal fiction and romance and more recently books about the Tudor era. I popped into one of our local charity shops the other morning and spotted this book for a bargain £0.75 and decided for that price it was worth getting to see what all the hype about this author was about.
Before the Storm follows a 15 year old boy named Andy, his mother Laurel and his sister Maggie. Due to Laurel’s drinking throughout her pregnancy with Andy, he is born with F.A.S.D (Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) Due to this, Andy has growth and development problems. Laurel felt so guilty about this so she has put all her time and energy into raising Andy and protecting him. This means she spends so much time focusing on Andy, she leaves Maggie pretty much to her own device.
Andy becomes the local hero after he saves lives when a fire breaks out at the church, trapping students and the adult supervisors who are attending a lock in. Follow the story as Andy goes from being the local Golden Child to the prime suspect for arson.
When I told friends I had bought this book, I was told that by the time I finished reading it I would be a Diane Chamberlain fan. I laughed at first. By the time I finished the last sentence in the book, I was hooked. I started reading the book at 12pm and was finished it by 5.30pm, only stopping to top up my coffee mug.
I had never heard of or come across anyone with FASD so learning about what it was and how it affected people was enlightening. Reading about Andy and how he was affected made me laugh at things he said and how he viewed the world around him. I also felt so sorry for him, and mad, when reading about how people took advantage of him. He’s quite a character and one that I fell in love with quite quickly.
Laurel and Maggie love Andy and this is plain to see whilst reading. Their stories are no less interesting than Andy’s and add to the flavour of the overall story. There’s many ups and downs, lots of tears, heartbreak and more. By the end of the book I had experienced exasperation, sadness, relief and more alongside these two ladies.
I thoroughly and genuinely enjoyed this book from the first to the last chapter. The follow on book has been recommended to me and I intend to buy that too when I can.