13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Better than Jodi Picoult,
This review is from: Before the Storm (Paperback)
Diane Chamberlain has been called the Southern Jodi Picoult and certainly there are similarities, for instance each chapter is narrated by a different character, and family relationships are explored in depth. However, while I have read and didn't particular warm to Jodi Picoult's books, I have to say that this story really captivated me.
The first chapter was narrated by Andy which I thought was inspiring as straight away we got a feel for his character and how he thinks and feels about his family and his circumstances. I instantly warmed to him as he joined all his 'friends' in the church for the evening and tried to talk to a girl he was attracted to by telling her that he loved her. The boy she was with talked down to Andy and he was confused as he thought everyone was his friend. Then the fire starts and panic sets in inside the church.
As the story continues we see through Andy and his family's eyes the police investigation into the arson attack and family secrets long buried start to surface. Laurel, Andy's widowed mother thinks that Maggie, Andy's sister, is happy and content but does she really know her as well as she thinks she does and why does Laurel blame her husband's brother, Marcus, for his death? All the while she is trying to protect Andy while her world turns upside down and people start to turn against her.
I thought the characters were well-defined, particularly Andy, and I would recommend this if you're looking for a read that's not too light, but thought-provoking.