The Thundering

Fiction - Suspense
292 Pages
Reviewed on 09/17/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Megan Davidson is a long-time professional editor with a background in advertising and marketing. She has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, an a Master's in Fine Arts, English Writing. Megan has four published books to her credit, the latest being The Thundering, from Champlain Avenue Books. She is at home with both fiction and nonfiction, and currently teaches writing to adults and teens at the Syracuse Downtown Writers Center.

Megan's other books include 3 historical romances published by Kensington Publishing: Road to the Isle, The Song Within, and Once a Rogue.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In an absolutely wonderful new work by author Megan Davidson, The Thundering, readers will find themselves following the stories of psychologist Cathy Morgen and her teenaged patient, Joseph. Taking place in Portland, Oregon in 1961, the story gives us some very realistic and heartbreaking insights into the atmosphere of mental health facilities of the era. When Cathy first meets Joseph, after receiving a distressed call from the director of the Summerhaven Mental Hospital asking for her help, she finds an absolutely shattered young man. Bucking, neighing and kicking, just like a mustang in the midst of a panic, Joseph's actions appear more horse than human. Using all of her skills, she makes it her mission to find out what has happened in Joseph's life to make him the way he is. At the same time, this journey is one of redemption for her as she tries to recover from the loss of another young patient.

I loved this book. Loved. It. I don't know what I else I could say to adequately describe how fantastic author Megan Davidson's new work is. Her character development skills are second to none. She has written characters, especially Joseph and Cathy, that the reader will truly come to care about and will think about long after the book is finished. If that isn't the hallmark of a great author, I am not sure what is. This book is absolutely un-put-down-able. I read it from start to finish in one sitting. I simply had to know what happened next. The Thundering would appeal to any reader who loves a generally great work of fiction, but especially those who love a book that will have their heart pounding. I highly recommend The Thundering and am very much looking forward to reading whatever author Megan Davidson has in store for her readers next!

Francine Zane

The Thundering by Megan Davidson is the story of a lost boy named Joseph who has been deserted by every human he has ever known, until he meets Dr. Cathy Morgen. Only through her patience and devotion as a psychologist does the boy venture from his “horse boy” persona back into humanity.

The Thundering is a disturbing tale of mental illness told from the perspective of a professional woman in the 1960s. Not only does Dr. Morgen struggle to help her patient, she struggles to maintain her dignity in a male dominated profession, and she struggles to maintain a marriage to a man who demeans her work. Megan Davidson does a professional job of weaving the many struggles together into a compelling book that I could not put down. I read it from cover to cover in one setting. The book made me angry. It made me cry. It made me thankful that society views both women and mental illness so differently now than in the '60s.

Davidson explores mental illness treatments of the day, as well as the transition of wives from stay-at-home moms into working women. As interesting as Joseph’s story is, Dr. Morgen’s own struggles resonated with me. I could relate to her struggles to retain her femininity while proving herself an authority in her field. I admire her ability to keep her cool while having her opinions as a woman dismissed. I also appreciate her daughter Suzie’s natural compassion, even in the face of her father’s obvious disapproval of Dr. Morgen’s profession. As teenager self-absorbed with her own world, she still showed flashes of the same qualities that made the doctor so good at what she did.

Jack Magnus

The Thundering is a literary fiction thriller written by Megan Davidson. Dr. Cathy Morgen is likely to get phone calls at all hours, but a call from the director of Portland’s leading private sanatorium convinced her to leave the warmth of her bed and tend to the current emergency at Summerhaven. It’s 1961, and her banker husband is not at all pleased that his wife is working instead of making him breakfast, keeping house and, perhaps, giving him the son he’s always wanted. Their teenaged daughter, Suzy, copes just fine with having two working parents, but Dan seems to be getting more irascible and ill-tempered about Cathy’s professional life. Dr. Gorsky is troubled by the new emergency admission the sanitarium has just admitted. Joseph Chief is a teenaged boy who was featured in a travelling carnival as a horse-boy. When he attacked one of the customers, the police took him into custody, and he ended up at Summerhaven, where he had already assaulted one of the attendants. Dr. Gorsky is reluctant to put the young man on Thorazine or another heavy sedative and, remembering Cathy’s past work with a young girl, thinks that she might just be able to reach the panic-stricken teen.

Megan Davidson’s psychological thriller, The Thundering, is an intense and gripping story about an abused and traumatized young man and the doctor who helps him come to terms with his past. I was fascinated by Dr. Morgen’s case studies of Joseph and her growing rapport with the boy whose psychological survival hinged on his decision to become a horse. The setting of this story precedes the feminist movement in this country, and Morgen’s value and role as a professional is called into question not only by her husband and colleagues, but by the nurses and staff at Summerhaven as well. And while Morgen promises Dan and herself that she will retire within a year, the reader can’t help but see what a tragic waste that would be for herself and the patients she helps. The mystery behind Joseph’s lost family and affinity with horses is a tantalizing while tragic one, and the author admirably builds the tension in the plot as the pieces of the past begin to come together. I was so impressed and moved by The Thundering. It’s a marvelous literary effort that gripped both my attention and my imagination, and didn’t let go. The Thundering is most highly recommended.

Romuald Dzemo

Still nurturing the pain of a failed attempt to treat one of her earlier clients, Cathy Morgen, a seasoned shrink, sees the opportunity to redeem her conscience when a teenage boy with a rare psychological problem becomes her patient, but diagnosing and treating Joseph takes more than Morgan could have imagined. Now she has to dig into the boy's history and discover the hurt that has compelled him to develop the kind of compulsive, delusional behavior he has, but Cathy's job comes with more challenges than she bargained for and the truth will be reached at a very high cost. The Thundering by Megan Davidson tells the story of a boy's tragedy and a woman's redemption in a very interesting and engaging way.

Megan Davidson's The Thundering is an endearing tale of how one woman's life can be completely altered and enriched through her contact with broken humanity. The conflict is multidimensional and masterfully developed, the characters compelling, and the plot complex and interesting with sudden turns and unexpected surprises. Davidson's prose is sharp and peppered with streams of consciousness that add a lot of depth to the way characters are sculpted. Megan writes with mastery, confidence, and total control of the story, creating scenes that are close to home and characters that readers will most certainly sympathize with. It’s a breezy read that will hit home to readers with a peal of glee, one that I highly recommend to a wide range of readers. The language is exquisitely beautiful, the characters so real one would think they pop up in their corridors. I read this book with a lot of interest and I will read it again and again.

Gisela Dixon

The Thundering by Megan Davidson is a powerful story about a psychologist, Cathy Morgen, and a boy named Joey who is her patient. Cathy first meets Joey when he is brought to Summerhaven Mental Hospital because he “bit” someone who insulted his mother and because he thinks of himself as a horse. In fact, he had been working in a sideshow as one of the attractions as Joseph Chief, a horse boy. As Cathy starts working on his case, she realizes that he has been deeply traumatized. As Joseph opens up to her more about the brand on his back, his previous life with Sid, and the horses, Victor and Daffy, Cathy finds herself understanding him more and also determined to help him get better. During all of this, Cathy has her own troubles like certain colleagues and managers who think her place is in the home and troubles with her husband and her marriage. As Cathy helps Joseph overcome his fears and trauma and delves into his background, she finds that she is also reaching a crossroad in her own life as well.

The Thundering by Megan Davidson is a sensitively written account of a therapist and her patient, along with the background stories of both of their lives. A book such as this hopefully goes a long way toward removing the stigma that is still attached to any forms of mental illnesses. The Thundering also addresses issues of gender bias at the workplace which is still a problem as well. Overall, The Thundering is very well written and kept me engrossed from the first page. Stories of children like Joseph who are abused are all too common, unfortunately, and a little kindness and empathy go a long way. I also liked the way in which Cathy’s personal struggle with her life at work and home, and the interaction between her daughter, Suzie, and Joseph is incorporated into the book. All in all, this is an excellent and engrossing read.