Historical Novel Society Review - Been in the Storm So Long
Reviewed by: Elicia Parkinson
John Healy, the hero of Terry Jordan’s latest novel, was born in 1853 in Sligo, Ireland. In an effort to give his family a better life, John’s father takes them to Canada, where John’s adventure truly begins. He falls in love with young and beautiful Odette, a childhood friend, though their relationship is complicated by the fact that John’s family essentially adopts Daniel, an orphan, who also has strong feelings for Odette. John and Daniel grow up as brothers, and what complicated and tragic parallel lives they lead. Tragedy follows both boys as they age, and their lives take vastly different paths for many years while it is assumed John has been killed.
Jordan takes us from the beauty of Nova Scotia to the energy of New Orleans throughout the mid-to-late 19th century as John’s story unfolds. Readers who enjoyed Wayne Johnston’s The Colony of Unrequited Dreams may also enjoy this book, not just for the Canadian connection but also for the quality of writing that follows the life of characters whose connections are stronger than even they may wish them to be. It tells the story of the power of love and friendship, and how strong those bonds can be throughout adventure and misfortune.