Book of The Month- July 2018
Restless Storm by Jamie Summer
Title- Restless Storm
Author- Jamie Summer
Genre- Contemporary Romance
Published- Self- Published by the author in summer 2018. (I read this the day it came out)
Imagine losing everything you loved. Could you go on?
After her father’s death in an unexpected storm, Madeleine Core knew she needed to leave her home behind. The island of Crystal Cove, surrounded by the very element that killed her only family, reminded her too much of the things she lost. Not even one special person could convince her to stay. Now, two years later, a devastating phone call changes everything.
When a storm threatens to destroy the only place that feels like home, Jake Barron knows he needs to do everything in his power to protect the people who saved him. Including Maddy, the one who left him—and everyone else on this island—and never looked back. Seeing her again after two years brings back painful memories for both of them, the betrayal and hurt as fresh as the unresolved feelings they have for each other.
Maddy is forced to go back to the one place she vowed to never see again—and face the person she left behind without so much as a word. As the deadly storm moves on Crystal Cove, Maddy and Jake try to find a way to fight their fears and doubts. Sometimes two people determined to stay away from each other need a push, but what if their second chance is just as restless as the storm blowing in?
What can we learn as a writer?
Pathetic Fallacy and emotional reflection-
“The clouds had parted- giving way to the clear, starry sky.”- Maddy
One of the key devices used in this novel which is a stunning example for new and seasoned writers alike is that of Pathetic Fallacy. The storm in this novel is not just a natural event, but a marker for the emotional state of the characters in the novel. The calm before the storm, the silent building ferocity of the natural event itself aligns perfectly with the two characters finally giving into their feelings for one another and sleeping together for the very first time. Then, the height of the storm itself mirrors the devastation felt by both Maddy and Jake at being torn apart not only from each other but also from the island of Crystal Cove. The aftermath and the build-up resonate so clearly with Maddy’s personal journey, with rough seas and uncertain skies, to heal her broken heart after the loss of her Father to this precise natural occurrence, it is clear that the author is familiar with grief. She demonstrates this with the concept that the event itself may be one storm, but learning to move on, learning to live is another no less ferocious terror, though a natural part of life, in its own right. This is the perfect story to learn about the vast microcosmic and macrocosmic appliances of pathetic fallacy, and it was a joy to watch the mirroring of the state of the natural world, and the inner emotional state of the characters reflect one another so succinctly.
The Healing Character Arc-
“With another deep breath, I stood straight. I was determined not to let panic win anymore. My father had taught me to be strong, and dealing with a panic attack because of the very thing he treasured wasn’t what he would’ve wanted for me. He loved the ocean. Honestly, so did I. I needed to find that love again.”- Maddy
One thing which I loved about this story, was the way in which it was absolutely accurate when displaying the process of healing after loss. It’s not a sudden change, but a gradual one which marinades each chapter, and if you look at the final chapter, you can see a vast difference from the Maddy in chapter one. This is hard to achieve, especially when trying to create an accurate narrative, but is expertly done by Ms. Summers. It’s also refreshing that the change is not immediately and drastically obvious, it’s kind of like swimming in that respect I guess. First, our protagonist dips in her toe and is uncomfortable with the temperature, but by the end, she is at ease, and relaxed. Ms. Summers utilizes more logical based thought processes, rather than more sweeping generalizations and emotional interpretations as she does at the beginning of the novel. It is interesting because here we can see that through learning to feel again, she is also becoming more logically attuned to the world around her.
The Realism of the unfinished-
“Anna and Grace gently pried Betty from George, and while I wanted to comfort her, I couldn’t. I merely watched as two men put a sheet over George’s lifeless body.”- Jake
I thought the death of George, the town’s mayor, was perfect. Not because it isn’t sad, but because it actually had nothing whatsoever to do with the physical effects of the storm. George wasn’t killed by a falling tree branch, nor was he drowned, he died of a heart attack, probably from the stress of being responsible for so many. This is refreshing, mainly because the death comes out of nowhere, has nothing to do with the main character ARCs and shows the reader that in this novel, truly anything can happen, and will. It’s not a death of grandeur either, with George making a silent and entirely undramatic exit, displaying the reality of death in a way many novelists fail to grasp.
Perception versus reality- Anxiety and the unreliable narrator
“Considering how I left, they had every reason to resent me.”- Maddy
“They all made sure to tell me how good it was to see me, and I thanked them before I moved on.”-Maddy
“I’d never be able to repay them for their kindness.”- Maddy
Summers also does an excellent job of creating a mental barrier between what is perception and what is real. Maddy is convinced the people of Crystal Cove will hate her for leaving, but this, and her not feeling welcome becomes evident as being completely made up in her head. The author does a good job with this dual narrative of showing the reality of the Island’s residents and their attitude to Maddy, as well as his own attitude to her, versus Maddy’s anxious and heartbroken perception of events, highlighting how grief not only changes the mindset of an individual but also how it can change our feelings toward a particular place, event or person in drastic ways which can be difficult to personally overcome.
The Island and the creation of a closed story world-
“If you wanted to know anything about anyone, Earl, the owner was a good person to ask.”- Jake
“Sometimes I forget you weren’t born around here.’ There was a grin in his voice, but I felt the small stab in my stomach.”-Jake
One of the things I loved in Restless Storm was the feeling of community within Crystal Cove. You get the impression that if you’re not on the island, you’re really not within the true home of the story. When Maddy is made to go home during the storm, and at the beginning of the novel when she is in her apartment, I found as a reader that I felt almost as though I was on the outside of Maddy’s life looking in. It was the memories, the people, and the setting which really made this story and her journey come alive for me, and I thought it was very clever how the author showed that being welcomed by this inclusive community was something to be treasured, as we see Jake’s perspective on how precious the island is to him. We do get the feeling, however, that perhaps the island wouldn’t be so homey if Jake and Maddy didn’t have each other and the two of them can also be linked with the island itself, as part of the appeal. Maddy’s family was what brought Jake originally to the island, but Jake is what pulls Maddy back in all honesty. The two are a kind of unending cycle, kind of like the weather, whereby they are both pulled back to the island or kept there indefinitely by one another. When they’re separated, we see Maddy she becomes out of place, almost a nomad on the mainland… keeping herself close to the shoreline instead of going home and if it weren’t for Maddy, Jake never would have become a valued member of Crystal Cove to begin with.
To conclude, there are a ton of awesome things about this book, but the thing which was refreshing for me was its raw simplicity. The author uses the natural, that of the earth and of the heart, and brings the concepts together in a terrifying, sweet, and guttural mix which will leave the reader wanting to visit Crystal Cove for themselves, storms be damned.
Grab your copy right here!
Restless Storm https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D36W7VD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_1d0yBb5B0C304