“Book Review: Eye of the Storm”
Reviewed by Steph Huddleston
An atmospheric finale filled with courage and heartache
Eye of The Storm is the final installment in the three-book Rum Runners’ Chronicles series. The series follows Edith Duffy, a widow and owner of a blind-tiger during 1930s prohibition, where she navigates friendship, love, and the illegal liquor business.
This finale follows directly after the events of Storm Surge and Gathering Storm, immediately reminding readers of the high-stakes life Edith Duffy lives. The first two books establish Edith’s position in the liquor industry effectively, defining her relationship with other characters in the narrative, and Eye of The Storm seeks to resolve the remaining questions readers have for Edith’s future. She is forced to choose between her passion for her business and prioritizing those she loves, while she protects herself and others from the very real danger lurking in their small town.
Decter does a marvelous job of unpacking Edith Duffy’s character in Eye of The Storm. With events escalating constantly within the plot, readers gain insight into Duffy’s personal family background and vulnerabilities. As her character background was not particularly clear within the first two books, this new knowledge is exciting and offers readers a deeper understanding of her motivations and actions. Along with the original cast from the first two Rum Runners books, Decter introduces us to a few new characters who change the dynamics of the existing cast. This makes for an opportunity to see new sides of characters we are already familiar with, and it really works.
As with her first two Rum Runners books, Decter offers the vivid and beautiful descriptions of place and home, like:
“It’s a melancholy place; silent and lonely despite being surrounded by the songs of swamp life: noisy birds and insects, creatures that slither and crawl, animals that scurry and stalk. It’s a home built for two but missing one.”
Decter’s feminist commentary throughout these novels on the role of women and motherhood is well-presented. Edith Duffy and several other women within the cast struggle throughout the series with their identity and socially approved roles. It is a satisfying conclusion that in Eye of The Storm we see these women find support and encouragement in one another.
“I think the best thing a successful businesswoman can do is flaunt her success…by sharing her story with other women.”
“Here’s to the power of friendship, one of the things that has been constant through all this. Like I always say – you can go further with friends than you can go alone.”
The exploration of motherhood (one of the series’ primary themes) revolves around our deep interest in young Leroy. Through Leroy, we see that a number of women are involved in raising and caring for him. Their myriad relationships offer readers a nuanced approach to the topic of motherhood that is seldom explored in the fiction I’ve read. Eye of The Storm presents a number of women who would not have been considered traditional mother figures at the time, and perhaps not even now. Decter places emphasis on the love these women have for Leroy and friendship with one another, thereby validating their mothering roles in the boy’s life.
While at times there may be a few too many metaphors, this book is well-executed and equally strong on the sentence level. There is a good balance between historical information and plot development, which is something the earlier books in the series struggled with at times, and so I left this finale utterly satisfied.
Eye of The Storm is a beautifully written conclusion to the Rum Runners Chronicles series. The full series would be a great fit for those who are interested in reading women’s historical fiction with heart, rewarding characters, and breaking the law.
Paperback: 447 pages
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