According to the World Health Organisation domestic violence is a worldwide major public health problem, with the majority of the victims being females and children. As recently as 2017 the WHO estimated that 30% or a third of women globally experienced domestic abuse at some time while in an intimate relationship. Under normal circumstances victims and their off-spring have some outlet to escape or avoid their perpetrator, but with the Covid19 restrictions worldwide, it has forced both parties to be confined in their homes for longer periods of time, thus leading to more opportunities for abuse by the partner, whether it be husband or wife. The quarantine restrictions, and social distancing rules have also placed constraints on the various domestic abuse groups worldwide to assist those in trouble and offer an out from the situation. This month’s third book review tells the fictional story of one woman and her children’s escape, it’s a Life Of Their Own by Pauline Tait and published by Silverwood Books (www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk) in September 2019.
Kate Thomas and her kids Jake and Lucy, have been living for years in the unrelenting shadow and control of their husband and father Adam. A person with a Jekyll and Hyde personality of street Angel – house devil, who denies them all access to friends, family or social interaction. One day Kate and the kids board a Greyhound bus in New York, two days and numerous bus changes later, they arrive in Colorado Springs, where no one knows them or their past. They soon have to become used to the surreal, if never before experienced, kindness of their landlady and the local community. Then Kate bumps into an old flame in the local diner. She and Matthew Harrison dated in New York before he left to go to San Francisco. Then Kate fell into the clutches of the initially charming but soon to be maniacal Adam on the rebound. Matthew soon moves the family into his dad’s ranch home and Kate who ran a business in NYC starts working in the ranch office, where she sets about modernising and making it more ergonomical as well as economical. All while her relationship with Matthew starts develop again. Have Kate and the kids really found the promised land, out of the clutches of Adam, and has she found her true soulmate again after all this time….
The subject matter is something rarely touched on in such a direct way, and is very gritty for an author’s first tentative steps into a new genre. The last time I read a book with domestic abuse at its heart was Irish author Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who walked Into Doors. This book is short, at two hundred and fifty pages long, almost verging on novella-esque, which makes it an easy read, possibly in one sitting. As well as that, it comes across as well written and researched.
At times though, it is quite saccharine in its story telling. Everything seems to happen too easily, and there is very little in the way of push back or any real sense of struggle in the trio’s survival in the big wide-open spaces of Colorado Springs. Except for the constant underlying fear of Adam’s possible discovery of where they are. Which had me on edge at times.
This Scottish author Pauline Tait’s (www.paulinetait.com) fourth book and first in the adult genre, the other three are from her Fairy In The Kettle series of children’s books and includes: The Fairy In The Kettle (2016), The Fairy In The Kettle’s Christmas Wish (2018) and The fairy In The Kettle Gets Magical. This fourth and final instalment in the series is due out soon. After originally working in the pharmaceutical sector for twenty years Pauline then went into Primary Pupil Support, all the while allowing manuscripts to build up and gather dust in her desk. She currently lives in Perthshire, Scotland.
This is an enjoyable read from an author who shows she’s not afraid to tackle a difficult subject. Her research of the Colorado wilderness is ever present as well as quite vivid and shows how useful the assistance gained from a fellow author in the Colorado State Forestry Service really was.
So, hop on the bus down to your local bookshop or download a copy and escape to the Foothills of the Rockies with Kate, Jake and Lucy.
Reviewed by: Adrian Murphy
This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought visit their blogs listed below, Then if you get a copy and read it comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d love the feedback.