Storm Cloud Marriage is a love story revolving around Sandra Harris [daughter of a wealthy Chemist Edward Harris] who is determined to find her true love in totally unpredictable world. Set in her [Sandra’s] home town Norwich, Robert Leigh manages to shell the next move [that Sandra takes] leaving a reader glued to the book and yearning to break the suspense. Through the first pages of the book, the reader is introduced to all the main characters –Edward Harris, a frail father and widower who runs Harris Pharmaceutics. Randall Pearson, a well-bred, well-educated chemist who rose to be the Managing Director of Edward’s company and Barry Chadwick, an accountant with an Advertising agency who was to be caught up later in a love triangle with the former.
Sandra grew up viewing Randall as her dad’s handpicked choice for her. This didn’t go down well with miss Harris resulting into a strong hatred for him to a point of mental attack of hives at the mention of his name. Sandra had snubbed joining an excellent local art school for another in London –away from home. Determined to make it on her own, she declined her father’s offer of being bought a studio and gallery for a job at Causten Advertising. “I want to get a job on my own merit, Daddy, not yours.” she had told her father. The new workplace was soon to see her start dating Barry. Their relationship grew up so fast to a point where she threw her pride to the wind and admitted loving him. But in a sudden twist, things went sour –pushing the door shut, he hungrily reached for her. Never the gentlest of lovers, tonight he was rougher, his mouth fierce on hers, his tongue insistent as it harshly probed the soft inner moistness—her old fear took over.
‘No, Barry! I can’t!’
‘It’s no game. Sex is special’, Sandra found herself saying.
Deep inside she knew she had strong love for him but couldn’t bring herself to the intimacy. Years back, Mario [a young Italian] had been an ideal escort then one night –refusing to take her vehement ‘NO!’ for an answer – had roughly begun molesting her. The household had heed to her cries and now that ugly scene was threatening to spilt her from what seemed her future. News that her father had been taken ill sealed the darkest hour of her life. Recuperating from the severe heart attack, Edward Harris made it clear his dying wish would be to see his daughter tie the knot with Randall [his hero]. “It disturbs me more not seeing him! He’s good company Sandra. I wish you two were friends.’ The old chap had told her daughter who was at his bedside. What followed was a series of vitriol exchange that pitted Sandra against Randall. Slowly Barry faded from her mind. Pearson the Paragon [as Sandra had privately dubbed Randall] found himself trying to prove his love for her while she tried her level best to prove their mismatch. They were too desperate: he cold where she was warm, analytic where she was intuitive, reserved where she was impulsive.
Barry regarded her as a sex object and Randall as means of securing his position. Sandra found herself taking a niche at her artistic work –being a graphics designer – after moving in with her now husband Randall from a honeymoon in New York. She had said Yes to a man she didn’t love a bit. Edward was happy. The two were getting airtime from the media and she had to feign her love for Randall on the limelight. Days of living together didn’t wither her hatred. One evening Randall grabs her and Sandra loses the will to fight back. What was to be a rape ordeal ends up an intimate session leaving Sandra a virgin no more. Writhing with shame, questions clamoring to be answered popped up in days to come. Why did she loosely give in to Randall? Edward Harris’ death set Sandra free from the Paragon. She moved out. Then did it dawn on her she had slowly fallen in love with the man she hated. How had the hatred waned?
The hunter became the hunted. Edward Leigh gives the story a gist; it takes two to tango. Packing her memories away, Sandra embarks on a journey to win the heart of a man who had lost hope in ever winning her heart. Was Randall ready for this? Had he moved on? Will she let go her pride and do the proposing? This is an example of a classical happy ending.