Christmas Awards 2011

Friday, 30 May 2008

Before The Storm

Judith Lennox
Before The Storm
Headline/paperback £6.99
ISBN 978 0 7553 3134 5
601 pages

When Richard first sees a young woman staring out to sea in a fixed manner he is intrigued. He makes every effort to engage her interest but for a long time Isabel resists. She holds back because she has a secret she feels would make it wrong for her to marry. However, in the end Richard's persistence breaks down her reserve and she falls in love. They marry and have a family and all seems well, but wars and life intervene and cracks begin to appear. Richard is not always faithful; they hurt each other and the lives of their children bring more disruption and quarrels.

The children's lives take over for about two thirds of the book - Sara, Ruby, Philip and Theo. Ruby is the adopted daughter whose coming makes a big impact on all their lives. Ruby's father has gone missing - did he just walk out on his family, and what secrets will Ruby uncover as she searches for the truth?

What will happen when Isabel's secret is at last revealed?

This is a huge saga spanning a long period of time, beautifully constructed and written and hugely compelling. It is the kind of book I both love and hate. I love it because it is clever and absorbing, and I hate it because it drags you in and messes with your mind, making you lose all track of time. This is the kind of book that gets the dinner burned!

Joking aside this is a wonderful story that makes you think. Five red roses, Linda Sole

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