Release Date: April 8, 2014
Series: Angel Island #2
Review Source: eARC for review from author
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.
When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.
Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…
After the Storm is a standalone companion novel to Waiting for the Storm.
After the Storm is the story of Ella, a character we first got to know in Waiting for the Storm The good thing is that you can read this book as a standalone, as it gives you all the background information you need. However, I highly encourage you to read Waiting for the Storm. It’s such a sweet and sad and lovely book, and by reading it first you’ll get even more insight to Ella, and to the side characters, especially Ella’s sister Charlotte and Charlotte’s boyfriend, Ezra.
Ella is most definitely a complicated character. In the past she's been spiteful and harsh to her sister, acting out with boys and alcohol. Then one night that goes too far shakes Ella awake and brings her back from the brink, changing her and her relationship with her family. In the things we hear about Ella’s past we see how she was simply a young girl, lost, confused, and hurting. She was coping in the best way she knew how, which was to put on an act. The Ella we get to know in After the Storm is trying to reconcile the Ella of the past, the Gabriella she was pretending to be, and the Ella she is now.
This is definitely an internal journey sort of book, where Ella has to learn to love herself, to forgive herself, and to see that she's worth caring about. It’s a journey of self acceptance, and I loved the roles that both friends and trained adults had in this. It really showed how sometimes we need help and support, even with things that we ultimately need to decide and work out for ourselves.
Marie Landry knows how to write a fabulous romance, and After the Storm is no exception. River was such a sweet love interest for Ella. I loved how he encouraged her and treated her well. Their relationship was based on strong friendship, and that made it seem all the more real and strong. I also enjoyed the friendship that both Ella and River shared with Sadie. She was an interesting side character, one with a very well developed back story. I was saddened by her situation, and intrigued to know more about her. I’m glad that we’ll get to read about her story in the next Angel Island book.
The reason why I love the Angel Island books so much is that Marie has a great talent for emotional stories which tug at your heart strings. She really makes you feel like you know the characters. It’s so easy to think of Angel Island as a real place to visit where you could run across Charlotte and Ezra or Ella and River while on your travels.
I highly recommend Waiting for the Storm and After the Storm. If you’re at all a fan of contemporary romance and stories that combine romance, friendship, and family, I can almost guarantee that you’ll enjoy these books.
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Guest Post from Marie Landry:
Canadian authors & Canadian settings
Canadian authors & Canadian settings
I’ve noticed something over the years: a lot of Canadian authors don’t set their books in Canada. I don’t know why - whether it’s a personal preference, or they prefer other countries, or they feel people won’t know Canadian geography well enough and won’t be able to click with something they don’t recognize. Regardless of the reason, I’m always a bit disappointed when I read several books by a Canadian author and not a single one of them is set here.
This, plus just general Canadian pride, is why my books are set in Canada. I always create fictional towns - so far all in Ontario - but I mention real places to give people an idea where the book is taking place. For instance, in my debut novel, Blue Sky Days, Emma grew up in Toronto, but moved three hours north to Riverview to live with her aunt Daisy. In The Game Changer, Melody lived in the fictional city of Bellevue (which is based on my hometown, with a twist on the name), but her best friend Olivia, who moves home at the beginning of the book, was living two hours away in Toronto. Also, Melody visits Ottawa at one point in the book.
I never mention the setting in my holiday novella, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, but I imagine it being set in one of those picturesque little towns all over Ontario. And finally, Waiting for the Storm and After the Storm are set on Angel Island, a fictional island in the Thousand Islands area near Kingston. The O’Dell sisters are from Toronto (High Park specifically), and Toronto and Kingston are mentioned quite a bit throughout the books.
In After the Storm, Ella’s love interest, River, is from Tyendinaga, which is a real Mohawk reserve. We don’t actually see the reserve in the book, but River mentions it a lot, so I thought it was important to use a real place, especially since I live just ten minutes away from there and have been there countless times. Besides giving people a general idea where a story is taking place, I love throwing in cities like Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa, because I know them well and think they’re amazing cities with so much to offer. I hope people who know those cities will be excited to see them in print, and for people who have never been there, maybe reading about those places will make them want to visit.
I love this great country of mine. I love its landscapes, its diversity, its history, its people. I’m proud to be Canadian, and I hope that comes through in my books. I also hope that fellow Canadians will appreciate seeing their homeland featured, and that people all over the world will enjoy learning a bit about this beautiful place.
Marie has always been a daydreamer; since early childhood she's had a passion for words and a desire to create imaginary worlds, so it only seemed natural for her to become a writer. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece. She's a hopeless romantic, an unapologetic eavesdropper (occupational hazard), an equally unapologetic squeeing fangirl, and a lover of swoonworthy book and TV characters. For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie any time!
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