by Randy Susan Meyers
Why did you choose this book? I saw this on Goodreads and the synopsis was interesting
When did you read this book? May 2012
Who should read this book?
Here is a synopsis of ‘The Gathering Storm' from Goodreads, where it rates 3.64 stars.
Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.
Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.
This was a pretty good read. All the action happens in the first chapter, when Lulu and Merry witness their father murder their mother. He also attempts to kill Merry and himself. The story covers the 30 years after the murder. Lulu carries around the guilt of not being able to prevent this murder, while Merry carries insecurities about WHY her father tried to kill her. Lulu reacts by pretending her father is dead, refusing to visit him in the prison or to respond to his letters. Merry, on the other hand, has a need to visit him. Shortly after the murder the girls are placed in an orphanage when their maternal grandmother dies and their aunt refuses to have ‘evil’ in her house.
I didn’t care for the ending, mainly because I felt like I was left hanging and wondering about the girls. The story ends after 30 years when the father is released from prison and the girls theoretically make peace with that. Did they REALLY feel at peace? I think there was a long way to go, and especially a lot to learn about Merry and what came next for her. The book also dragged a bit at times. But I did enjoy the book and think it would make an excellent book club pick. There are many discussions points to cover, from ‘would you be more like Lulu or Merry towards your father?’ to ‘why were the girls the way the were’ to discussions on the aunt and the orphanage. I think this is a book that would improve with discussion!
My Rating: ★★★ 3 Stars