“September 1815, Providence, Rhode Island
Thirty-year-old Remembrance “Mem” Wilkins loves her solitary life running the farm and orchard she inherited from her father and has no plans to give up her independence. Especially not for the likes of Mr. Graham Lott. But when Mem is unable to harvest the apples on her own, she accepts the help of the man she despises.
Fresh off a boat from Ireland with his four-year-old son in tow, Simon Brennan secures a building in which to ply his trade as a cobbler. Still healing from the grief of his wife’s death a year earlier, he determines to focus only on providing a good life for his son. But when he intervenes in an argument on behalf of the intriguing Miss Wilkins, sister-in-law of the tavern owner who befriends him, he suddenly finds himself crossways with his landlord, Mr. Lott, and relieved of his lease and most of his money.
With no means of support, Simon takes a job helping Mem with her harvest, relieving her of the need of Lott’s help. But their growing attraction to each other makes them both uneasy. Mem gladly escapes to town when her sister begins labor, and Simon, believing it best to distance himself from Mem, takes his son and leaves.
But neither anticipates the worst gale New England has ever seen—or that the storm will threaten all they hold dear.”
*Deep breath* This is a bit of a difficult review for me to write. I have read 2 other books by Anne Mateer and really enjoyed them. I’m having a hard time putting my finger on what happened with this one. Possibly it’s because it’s a novella and not a full length novel, but I really had a hard time getting into this one. It felt like I kept waiting for the story to start, and then when the storm came I was caught completely off guard (another “I don’t know why” because the blurb talks about it). I guess there weren’t really any portents in the story itself of possible danger of storms, even though that is the central event of the story.
I liked the characters of Mem and Simon in general, though I can’t say I particulary sympathized with either of them. At times the emotion seemed overly dramatized and at others it seemed rushed (once again, this is somewhat the nature of novellas).
The spiritual content was basically good, though there wasn’t a whole lot of depth.
So my overall thoughts? It was a pretty good story, but in general a bit bland.
So sorry for this, Mrs. Mateer. I really kept trying to like it, and I truly hate writing a negative review, but I also have to be honest.
I’m giving this 3 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from CelebrateLit in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author
Anne Mateer has loved reading and writing stories since childhood. She is the author of 4 historical novels, 1 historical novella, and a few contemporary short stories. Anne and her husband of 30 years, Jeff, love to visit their grown children and tour historical sites. They are currently living an empty nest adventure in Austin, TX.
Guest Post from Anne Mateer
I’m always up for a good historical story. It’s what I enjoy reading. It’s what I enjoy writing. But I find that my pleasure in any historical fiction increases exponentially when the story at hand is based on at least a kernel of historical fact. All four of my full-length novels share this trait. So it stood to reason that when turning my mind to a historical novella I would seek the same grounding in truth I’ve sought before.
So what historical fact inspired No Small Storm? It was a combination of them, actually. Which I think always makes for the best tales!
I like an overarching historical event to help frame a story. Things like war or economic crisis or natural disaster. Situations in the historical record which required courage or resilience or sacrifice from the people who lived through them. When I stumbled upon the Great Gale of 1815, which hit Providence, Rhode Island particularly hard, I knew it could provide obstacles for my characters to overcome.
As I began to read about this event—a hurricane before such storms were commonly called hurricanes—I happened upon some first hand accounts of that day. Fascinating remembrances about a storm arriving without much preamble, then departing and leaving bright sunny skies with which to view the destruction.
And destruction there was! Not only from wind and water, but also the fact that both of those things unleashed the ships moored in the harbor and sent them sailing down the main street of town! Can you imagine looking out of the second or third story window of a building which was likely flooded on the ground floor and seeing a ship coming at you?
That, in itself, was dramatic enough. Especially when coupled with the fact that those ships often broke apart, whether from wind and waves or from contact with the buildings and bridges they encountered on land. Then I considered the in those ships? What happened to them? Many were flung into the water, searching for purchase.
It was just such a circumstance that brought one man to the window of a young woman. She helped him inside. They were later married. And if finding such a story that isn’t a romance writer’s delight, I don’t know what is!
Finally, as I continued to read about the destruction in the area, I discovered a few lines about area orchards. The hanging fruit was found covered with a dusting of white. When tasted, it was discovered to be salt. Salt from storm surge and sea spray. Salt that saturated, even miles inland. Water and wind—and they salt they carried—ruining fruit crops ready for harvest. What could be more devastating to a farmer than that?
And so No Small Storm was born, with Remembrance and Simon each trying to make a good life for themselves, each trying to trust God as they work hard. Each keeping careful watch over their heart. But sometimes circumstances take things we don’t want to give. And give things we never imagined possible.
Historical fact and spiritual truth. Characters who are a product of their times as well as universal in their struggles and desires. It’s the kind of story I love to read. And the kind of story I’m proud to write.
Texas Book-aholic, February 6
Carpe Diem, February 6
Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 7
Reading Is My SuperPower, February 7
The Power of Words, February 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 8
Inklings and notions, February 9
Blossoms and Blessings, February 9
Kathleen Denly, February 10
History, Mystery & Faith, February 10
Bukwurmzzz, February 11
Views From the Window Friend, February 11
By The Book, February 12
Maureen’s Musings, February 12
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 13
Mary Hake, February 13
proud to be an autism mom, February 14
Connie’s History Classroom, February 14
A Greater Yes, February 15
Janices book reviews, February 15
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 16
A Baker’s Perspective, February 16
Bibliophile Reviews, February 17
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 17 (Interview)
Simple Harvest Reads, February 18 (Guest post from Mindy)
Bigreadersite, February 18
Pink Granny’s Journey, February 19
Pursuing Stacie, February 19
To celebrate her tour, Anne is giving away a grand prize of a reader bag of goodies—including a Pride and Prejudice fleece throw, a “reading” charm necklace from Storied Jewelry, a Secret Garden litograph tote bag, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c604