What could be so bad that a six-year-old stops talking?
Domestic violence isn’t only perpetrated by men. Ask Paul Jackson who is on remand, accused of stabbing his wife, Michelle. As he reveals his reality behind their troubled marriage, it seems that only his six-year-old knows what really happened. But she’s trapped in her own world of silence.
Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.
The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.
She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.
She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.
Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!
Domestic violence is often portrayed as only happening to women, but increasingly men are coming forward as victims too. When I worked at a charity that supported victims of crime, there was an increasing awareness of this fact and more organisations are being established to support these men.
However women are more likely to be victims and this fact makes proving them as perpetrators harder. Partly because men are often physically larger and stronger and also we don’t believe they can be victims – we live in a society that insists that men be strong and in charge.
This then is a timely story of a complicated and troubled marriage, with a jealous and domineering wife and a husband who tries to keep things together.
When Michelle dies of a suspicious stab wound and Paul is charged with her murder, the secrets in their marriage come to light. Their daughter, Emily, is six and so traumatised by witnessing the event that she stops speaking – a condition called selective mutism, often developed by children in stressful situations (I once worked with a little girl who had this and it is very sad).
The bulk of the plot takes place in the courtroom where Paul faces a murder charge. Revealing the past through witness statements and evidence is an interesting device, offering some insight into the way legal arguments are set forward.
There’s a very unexpected twist at the end too (no spoilers).
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.