Widowed, Rebecca is a talented interior designer with her own business in London. She has a vivacious teenage daughter named Cara who has lost all her ‘spark’ since she married for the second time. Her new husband, financier Marcus Huxley Browne, while at first attentive and loving, is now controlling, cruel, and emotionally abusive and most recently he has been arrested for fraud, insider trading and money laundering, and has gangland connections.
Rebecca sells her business and flees with her daughter and mother in the attempts to make a new life for the three of them. They change their appearance, and their names to Claudia and Jasmine, in the hopes that her husband’s reach does not extend far enough to place them in jeopardy.
They move to a small town in Northern England and begin to make friends and start having a life free from her domineering and abusive husband. But although he is in prison, she finds out that he can still cause her fear, and eventually jeopardize everything and everyone she holds dear.
At first this story presented almost like a romantic suspense novel. Then, at about the halfway mark, things took a more serious and unsettling turn…
The overriding theme of the novel is ‘restorative justice‘, something I’m personally not altogether comfortable with. The story made me think, and that is never a bad thing. Although I believe I’m an empathetic person, I cannot imagine the strength it would take to forgive someone who has harmed you and your family in a grievous way. It takes a mature and generous person to truly forgive. The narrative makes the reader aware of just how important it always is to hear and evaluate both side of any conflict.
The story, told with some alternating chapters from the point of view of nineteen year old Archie Coldbrook, were poignant and served to remind us that sometimes, though it is hard to accept, the perpetrator can be a victim as well. Knowing only poverty, crime and corruption his entire life, he was bereft of the opportunities that most of us take for granted.
The narrative moved along at a good pace and kept me engaged throughout. What I first felt was a romantic suspense novel turned into a fusion of domestic thriller and family saga. With a more than satisfying ending, this novel will be sure to have a strong appeal.
ISBN: 9780062906625 – ASIN: B087QHLHN8 – 416 pages
A prolific and bestselling author, Susan Lewis is the author of over thirty novels.
Born in England in 1956, she lost her mother to cancer when she was only nine years old. She now lives with her partner James and dogs in Gloucestershire, England.