With Song of the Storm, the conclusion of the Stone Trilogy, sublime storyteller Mariam Kobras has once again woven a spell-binding tale filled with complex characters, emotional upheaval, family conflict, and eternal love — culminating against the backdrop of the most horrific event of the 21st Century, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Soulmates Jon Stone and Naomi Carlsson emerge one last time out of the imagination of the author and into the hearts of readers as they continue their tumultuous, unrelenting love affair while fighting to control the persistent inner insecurities that threaten to destroy their hard-fought happiness. Even something as uplifting and joyous as the news of a new baby initially plays out with the trademark turmoil surrounding their relationship. In spite of his undying love and fidelity, Naomi still finds herself bristling at the rituals that characterize her husband’s rock-star lifestyle — from the shameless groupies to the grueling tours. And in spite of his success and fame, Kobras portrays with striking poignancy Jon Stone’s vulnerability, borne out of a long-ago abandonment — one he cannot quite forget in spite of all of the obstacles he and Naomi have since overcome, not the least of which being her near demise at the hands of a jealous and demented female.
In Song of the Storm, the author also delves into an interesting subplot involving Jon’s longtime manager Sal, a man who projects his unrequited love for Naomi into a much-younger woman named Maya. In spite of her youth, Maya demonstrates remarkable maturity, refusing to be blinded by the expensive gifts and upscale lifestyle provided by the man who literally crashes into her life. This likable character eventually reaches a undeniable conclusion about the nature of her relationship long before Sal can bring himself to face reality. By creating the character of Maya, the author presents a sharp contrast to the mindless, gold-digging groupies who — completely devoid of ambition and self-respect — live for the impossible dream of bedding a famous but happily married rock star. Sal’s conflicted feelings for Naomi and Maya add an interesting psychological study in projection, jealousy, longing and regret to the story, while the addition of Naomi’s cousin Gemma into this unfolding drama brings another level of tension and possibility.
As for Olaf and Lucia, Naomi’s parents, they return for the final book with the same uneasiness about their son-in-law and his unorthodox lifestyle as they’d displayed in the previous stories. And who could blame them? Having nearly lost their only child at the hands of a jealous, psychotic and would-be killer, their lingering resentment for Jon Stone makes complete sense. Given that these are the same parents who stood by their beloved daughter nearly two decades prior when she’d fled from the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll scene to raise her child amid the tranquility of Norway, it’s only natural they’d harbor genuine concern for her well-being in spite of Jon’s assurances of marital love, fidelity and commitment.
While these familiar tensions unfold in Song of the Storm, Kobras incorporates the horrors of September 11, 2001 to remind her characters of what’s truly important in life — family, friends, love, and relationships. The author realistically expresses the reactions of various characters to the terror attacks, accurately reflecting the stories of so many of us who experienced it firsthand here in the United States. From Jon’s raw anger and outrage, to Naomi’s palpable anguish during the endless hours of waiting and wondering, to Olaf’s act of selflessness on behalf of his daughter — all of the ensuing emotion and action take readers back in time to that unforgettable day. Reliving the intensity, the insanity, the helplessness, the outrage and the lessons of September 11 — one of the biggest being to live each moment in gratitude for the people we’re blessed to have in our lives — through Kobras’ well-defined characters gives Song of the Storm an enduring and unforgettable quality. We’re reminded that hope and love spring eternal as embodied by the two main characters, Jon and Naomi, and their precious new baby.
What a fitting way to conclude the Stone Trilogy. Congratulations to author Mariam Kobras on a job well-done!