Tanya J Peterson reviews Storms Clouds Gathering. “When real storm clouds gather in our lives, we often feel it to the core. There’s a physical reaction: we feel cold, the hair rises on our arms, we shiver. There’s an emotional reaction, too: we worry. What is going to happen? What doom might befall us or our loved ones? The reason we have such an intense reaction, of course, is because we care about our own safety and that of our loved ones.”
Pauline Barclay captures this emotional intensity well in her most recent novel, Storm Clouds Gathering. The metaphor of an approaching storm is quite apt for this wonderful novel. The storm clouds approach and hover over three families whose lives are intertwined in both direct and subtle ways. Three different families struggle with three very different issues and hardships. Three families face unique storms, and they each weather them differently.
The beauty of Barclay’s novel of course involves the story itself. The storms that gather over the characters absolutely hold readers’ interest. The storms are real and they are intense and any given storm could definitely happen to anyone in the real world. They all have, actually, in some way or another. Despite the fact that I have not experienced a storm identical to one in Barclay’s novel, I could see myself in each of those characters, and I could directly relate to various elements of their storms. That I have not directly experienced the very realistic problems faced by the characters yet found myself understanding them and relating to them in a very real way is an indication of Pauline Barclay’s talent and beautiful writing.
Yes, the story is deeply compelling. It takes more than a compelling storyline, though, to make a great novel. For me, the characters and the extent to which I connect with them are what really make or break a story. In real life, we have an emotional reaction to gathering storm clouds because we care about the people affected by the brewing storm. In Barclay’s Storm Clouds Gathering, I absolutely had emotional reactions because I cared deeply for the characters. Barclay has created realistic, vulnerable characters, characters who, like real people, have strengths and weaknesses. Her characters, each with a distinct personality, are human. Barclay brings them to life in a very powerful way, and as I read I felt very connected to each of them in different ways.
Find shelter, hunker down, and brace yourself for Storm Clouds Gathering.
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