When the Storm Ends by Rebecca L Marsh
Beth thought her violent childhood was something she left in the past — until she met Erin. Now the abuse of her step-father has returned in terrifying nightmares.
Beth became a child psychologist so she could help children who are broken and hurting, but Erin, the fifteen-year-old who killed her father, is different. If Beth can’t reach her and find out why she did it, Erin will spend the rest of her childhood behind bars. To most people, it looks simple — Erin is either crazy or evil, but when Beth looks into Erin’s haunted eyes, she’s sure that something terrible was done to this girl. Erin, however, isn’t talking.
Beth believes Erin might open up to someone with whom she feels a kinship. Of course, Beth knows she shouldn’t share her own past with a patient, but the clock is ticking toward Erin’s trial, and Beth is out of options.
Little does Beth know that taking this terrifying leap will not only reveal the truth about Erin but will rip Beth’s past wide open as well — and a connection between them that will shake Beth to the core.
Diane Andersen’s Review: 4-Stars
The author takes readers on a journey into the complex and heartbreaking world of child abuse. The main character, Beth Christopher, is a psychologist assigned to help Erin, a child accused of murdering her father.
Hoping to get Erin to open up and reveal evidence for her innocence or reasonable motive for justifiable homicide, she begins telling the story of her own trauma growing up in an abusive home and subsequent foster homes, once the abuse is reported and her mother unwilling leaves the abuser, Beth’s stepfather. From there the story diverges into two plot threads as chapter by chapter, readers are privy to Beth’s childhood growing up under unstable circumstance, and then reverting back to Beth, the adult, trying to uncover the truth of Erin’s past and the alleged crime.
There is also the interplay of Beth’s personal life in dealing with her husband and foster siblings as well as reuniting with one of her aging foster fathers and the unresolved issues that persist from her childhood.
Marsh delves into difficult issues with sensitivity and frank reality. Some parts are difficult to read, especially for those who have endured similar abuse or who are sensitive to a child’s plight. But overall the story comes across in a realistic and dramatic way. While I do prefer stories that don’t rely on gimmicks such as spinning two storylines back to back and teasing it along with chapter-ending hooks, I did find this one worth reading.
The character of Beth and Erin are particularly compelling and well-drawn and the situations realistic, however, some scenes drag on needlessly with extraneous detail and inane dialogue that may be common to real life but did nothing to move the plot forward. Hopefully, in future novels, the author will hone this skill to perfection and make what could have been an extremely riveting crime thriller for her next project.
While there were some flaws common to many indie-published novelists these days, nevertheless, it is obvious Ms. Marsh either has experience in the foster care or law enforcement community or does her research well.
Elkin Hardcoves’ Review: 4-Stars
I’ll admit from the blurb onward I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel. While it sounded interesting, it felt at risk of being heavy-handed or amateurishly clinical. Instead, the Storm Ends was clean and fairly precise in its execution: the tale unfolds and culminates with ease. Marsh is able to tie any loose ends into a pleasant package.
Having said that, there are moments where one has to suspend their disbelief just a little, given the arguably unethical and possibly dangerous path the main character pursues in her therapeutic approach with Erin.
Don’t try this at home kids.
Still, besides this issue, and the greater implications of its use, aside, and for the purposes of this review that should be very much be left aside, the book is an otherwise solid effort.