Book Review: The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merill Block

June 27, 2011


“The Storm at the Door” by Stefan Merill Block is a fictional book inspired by the author’s grandparents. Mr. Block, while researching his grandparents, imagined a world around them.

The pub­lisher has made avail­able one (1) copy of “The Hon­ored Dead” to be given out– enter at the end of the post.

  • 368 pages
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 1400069459

Buy The Storm at the Door from*
My rating for The Storm at the Door4
Buy The Storm at the Door from*
More Books by Stefan Merrill Block*


I didn’t know what to expect from “The Storm at the Door” by Stefan Merill Block (website), the book sounded interesting, about a time period I like to read about, taking place in Boston – a city which I’ve visited several times and intend to visit several times more.

What I got was lyrical, but a haunting account of the author’s grandparents, Katherine and Frederick, their lives and struggles with his grandfather’s mental illness, and his grandmother’s trials and tribulations of surviving not only economically, but also in society’s stigma.

Mr. Block’s writing is both sensitive and articulate, detailing the horrors of mental illness institutions and the heavy price spouses and children have to pay. As much as Frederick is suffering in the institution, Katherine’s world of shuttered dreams is also poignant and heartbreaking.

At first it was difficult for me to get into the book, some of the sentences felt heavy and the prose was too flowery for my personal taste. However, once I settled into the rhythm and the story the book came together and became very enjoyable.

The author’s elegant but distributing description of mental institutions was difficult to comprehend. Not because of the descriptive physical horrors imposed upon the patient, there isn’t much of that. The author describes the institution as a bureaucratic nightmare, self-important, cold, callous, and calculating.

So tell me, do you think there is still a stigma about mental illness?


When Frederick Merill leaves his wife Katharine and children to fight in World War II everything seems to be fine. however, over the years Frederick starts to change, his behavior and moods become dark.

While Frederick struggles with his own inner demons, Katharine struggles to keep up appearances hoping for things to change. However, things don’t change, Frederick is committed to a mental asylum and Katharine is left dealing with a difficult life and an unsympathetic society.



  • Con­test is for one (1) new copy of “The Storm at the Door”.
  • There will be ONE (1) WINNER
  • Must be a US/Canada mail­ing Address
  • Ends Sun­day June 3, 2011
  • Win­ners will be cho­sen using
  • Win­ners will have 24 hours after my ini­tial con­tact to write back their mail­ing address, oth­er­wise alter­nate win­ners will be picked

Congratulations: lisasworldofbooks@

TLC Book Tour for “The Storm at the Door”:
Monday, June 13th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, June 14th: Book Club Classics
Wednesday, June 15th: Books and Cooks
Thursday, June 16th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Friday, June 17th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, June 21st: Life in Review
Thursday, June 23rd: Girls Gone Reading
Friday, June 24th: Rundpinne
Saturday, June 25th: Colloquium
Monday, June 27th: Man of La Book
Friday, July 1st: Book Reviews by Molly
Tuesday, July 5th: Crazy for Books
Thursday, July 7th: Raging Bibliomania
Monday, July 11th: Melody & Words
Tuesday, July 12th: Amused by Books
Thursday, July 14th: Take Me Away

Zohar — Man of la Book
: I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tours.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books
Article first published as Book Review: The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merrill Block on Blogcritics.

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The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merill Block


  • Brittany GaleJune 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I definitely think there is still a stigma about mental illness. There always will be. It’s sad.
    This book sounds fantastic I’ll read it whether or not I win!

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book ToursJuly 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I’m glad that this book worked for you once you settled into the writing style. Thanks for being on the tour!

  • Laurie CMay 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    This is the first I’ve heard of this book, but it sounds really good. I like a Boston setting, and actually find reading about mental illness frightening but fascinating. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Laurie CMay 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Oops, this came up on Twitter today, so I thought it was a new book and review! 😉

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