*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: 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.
When the Storm Ends tells the mirroring stories of Beth and Erin, who have darkly traumatic childhoods in common.
Teenager Erin is being held for the murder of her father, but won’t talk to anyone about what happened or why. Beth is the child psychologist trying to help Erin (and her defence lawyer) by attempting to gently prise open her silence in the hopes that it is hiding some sort of vindication for her behaviour.
The story is told through Beth’s perspective, for both current events and her recounting her own childhood struggles to Erin, in the hopes it will build some trust between them. Present-day Beth is surrounded by loving friends and family, and has built up a successful practice in her chosen career. But the nightmares that leave her shaken make it clear from the beginning that she has yet to deal with the demons of her past. Maybe her and Erin can help each other?
There are elements of crime mystery in this story, via the suspense about Erin’s actions, and about what happened to traumatise Beth and Erin in the first place, but the main focus is on the survival of horrific abuse and the hope of healing from such trauma to live a full, fulfilling life. Beth’s story doesn’t just offer such hope to Erin, but also to herself and to anyone reading who may have suffered through similar struggles.
Obviously there are tons of triggers here, considering the sensitive subject matter, but the content is handled in a sensitive and empathetic way, with the focus on survival, catharsis and healing, rather than on salaciously dwelling on the acts of violence.
When the Storm Ends is a well-told story of suffering and strength that is emotionally harrowing, but ultimately full of hope.
Her thoughts drifted to her patient, the one with the pleading eyes. She’d tried every way she knew to convince the girl to talk to her. In normal circumstances, patience was the best course of action. Give the patient space and time to get comfortable with her until she was ready to open up. Time was running out, though, and the interview room at the juvenile detention center offered little space and no comfort. But she had to do something because the girl’s haunted, gray eyes never left her mind.
Then a crazy idea bloomed in Beth’s mind. But, no, she couldn’t. To do such a thing went against the ethical standards of her practice… Still, what if it could work?
– Rebecca L. Marsh, When the Storm Ends
When the Storm Ends is available on Amazon right now!