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Through Every Storm
By Sharlene MacLaren
Review by Roseanna White

 No one understands.  It’s been two years since their sweet little Emma died, and everyone thinks they should be moving past it now.  But they just don’t get it.  The guilt.  The anguish.  The emptiness inside.  It’s all Maddie can do to get through every day.  Her whole life’s fallen apart, and her marriage with it.  Her husband hasn’t said he loves her since Emma died.  They haven’t touched.  And now Jeff’s brought up divorce.  He isn’t sure he wants it, but where else is there to go?  And Maddie didn’t fight back about it, did she?

            Through Every Storm is a wrenching and yet uplifting story of two people lost in the tempest of life.  Facing every parent’s worst nightmare, when their toddler died, they pretty much give in completely to the despair.  And now, two years later, they’re facing the consequences of some severe neglect.  Maddie’s mom ropes them into taking in her cousin Rose’s seven-year-old son for a few weeks while Rose undergoes another bout of chemotherapy, which finally gives Maddie something to do with her time.  Jeff isn’t so sure at first, but the precocious Timmy, boy genius, soon worms his way into his heart.  And Timmy’s determined to be a good influence.  He gets them going to church again, tries to get them to talk and admit how much they still like each other, but there’s only so much one boy can do.  If they’re going to stop talking about that D-word, God would have to step in.

            This isn’t what one would call an easy book, simply because of its subject matter, but MacLaren handles the issues and the characters themselves with a gentle touch.  Timmy provides a light element to offset the serious nature of the story, and each character brings something special to the pages.  Timmy is a too-old-for-his-age little guy that still maintains the innocence of childhood with all its blessed clarity, Maddie is seeking something so desperately that, not surprisingly, she’s the first to find it, and Jeff’s aggression and stubbornness is what spurs the whole story onward.

            I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this novel, but I couldn’t put it down—except to go check on my little girl frequently, who’s just about Emma’s age.  Sometimes I have a hard time reading books that deal with a tragedy involving a child, but this one, since it takes place after the fact, somehow managed to capture the grief of it without overwhelming me with despair.  I found myself focusing, not on the ugly past in their lives, but on their current story with all its difficulties. The characters were realistic with all their flaws and struggles and victories, and though I anticipated the twists correctly, I came to love them all.

            I highly recommend Through Every Storm to anyone who needs a story of love conquering all or just wants a thoughtful, but not overwhelmingly so, read. The story is told with the care  I’ve come to expect from Sharlene MacLaren, and I’m looking forward to reading many more titles by her in the future.

Publisher: Whitaker House
Publication Date: January 2007
ISBN: 0883687461
Price: $12.99
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Inspirational Romance

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