I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain
Series: Before the Storm #1
Published by Mira on May 20, 2008
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction
Setting: North America > USA> North Carolina
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5* – I LOVED IT! Diane Chamberlain weaves a tale like only she can. A story about the impact of fetal alcohol syndrome, love lost, empathy and the strength of the human spirit. I fell in love with the Lockwood Family but still I agonized along with them when wondering…could Andy have really done what he was accused of?
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“Fifteen-year-old Andy Lockwood is special.
Others notice the way he blurts out anything that comes into his mind, how he cannot foresee consequences, that he’s more child than teenager. But his mother sees a boy with a heart as open and wide as the ocean.
Laurel Lockwood lost her son once through neglect. She’s spent the rest of her life determined to make up for her mistakes, and she’s succeeded in becoming a committed, protective parent, maybe even overprotective. Still, she loosens her grip just enough to let Andy attend a local church social, a decision that terrifies her when the church is consumed by fire. But Andy survives and remarkably, saves other children from the flames. Laurel watches as Andy basks in the role of unlikely hero and the world finally sees her Andy, the sweet boy she knows as well as her own heart.
But when the suspicion of arson is cast upon Andy, Laurel must ask herself how well she really knows her son and how far she’ll go to keep her promise to protect him forever.”
Diane Chamberlain has a talent for creating complex characters who endure the toughest of situations. While the reader falls in love with the Lockwood family and empathizes with their predicament, I agonized along with his mother who wondered in the back of her mind… did Andy really do it?
I heard Diane Chamberlain’s work being compared to that of Jodi Picoult. I found Picoult’s book House Rules* to be very similar in plot to Before the Storm. While Picoult had me wondering about the main character’s innocence to the very last page, I did not feel for him the way I felt for The Lockwood Family. While Picoult’s work was very thorough and technical in her descriptions of the main character’s life with Aspergers Syndrome, he was still a character on a page in a book. The family dynamics did not move me. I did not relate to the mother like I did to Chamberlain’s “heroine”. I skimmed parts to get through Picoult’s book whereas I hung on each word written by Chamberlain.
Diane Chamberlain weaves a tale like only she can. A story about the impact of fetal alcohol syndrome, love lost, empathy and the strength of the human spirit. Before the Storm is followed by Secrets She Left Behind*, a fantastic conclusion to the Lockwood family’s story.
Which authors have you read that make you fall in love with the characters? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, happy reading!