Book Review: Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain

Book Review: Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain

I received this book for free from Library for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. 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
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
Setting: North America > USA> North Carolina
Pages: 471
Format: Paperback
Indie Bookstores

Ms. 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 has a sequel that I look forward to reading.


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 survivesand 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.”


My Thoughts:

Before the Storm tells the story of Andy Lockwood, a teen locked in a battle with autistic behavior caused by fetal alcohol syndrome. He is judged and misunderstood by his peers. One night at a church lock-in, Andy becomes an unlikely hero that saves many lives when the church catches fire. In a twisted turn of events, the hero becomes the accuser and Andy’s mother and sister rally around him to prove his innocence. But could Andy have done it and not understood what he was doing?


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!








About Diane Chamberlain

From Goodreads: “I’m the author of 22 novels published in more than eleven languages. I like to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of my books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, my stories usually feature a combination of suspense, mystery and intrigue.

I live in North Carolina with my significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and my shelties, Keeper and Cole–the only non-reading members of the household!

Please visit my website and blog. I look forward to seeing you there!”


  1. Wow! This sounds like a wonderful book! I am a huge reader, and am always looking for new books to read! Definitely going to add this one to my list! Thanks!

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