Before I begin, oh my word, you MUST go out and buy this book.
What a read!
The story is told from a couple of points of view, mainly Ava Carson and her step-son, Jack Carson. Occasionally there is another point of view in the book, namely Mitchell Carson’s and lawyer, Graham Thomas. The story starts with Jack, an eight year old boy who wishes more than anything that he was a superhero. He gets into a lot of scrapes, often ending with him having to attend the emergency room. It is on one of these occasions where we are introduced to Ava. Ava comes across as kind and sweet, the impression is that she has a perfect life and if you don’t really read the blurb then you can be forgiven for thinking that this sweet lady has it all.
However, her husband, Mitchell Carson is so jealous of her popularity and it soon becomes apparent that he is quite controlling. Pretty soon Ava’s world is turned upside down by Mitchell’s callous and controlling behaviour and she goes from having the perfect life to having everything ripped away from her. After having a few issues Mitchell decides that he should move out for a while and one day tricks Ava into thinking he wants to spend time with Jack, who Ava has adopted, and his baby brother, Sam. Mitchell does not take the boys back when he is supposed to and everything spirals out of control for Ava from that point on. Mitchell hires a top lawyer and then rings around other lawyers preventing them from helping Ava. There is a glimmer of hope though in the form of Graham Thomas, a lawyer who is trying to rebuild his reputation after a drug scandal saw him suspended from practicing for a time. Between the them Ava and Graham manage to rustle up a defence, but not before Mitchell manages to restrict Ava’s access to the kids to one hour per week and lies his way to getting a restraining order against his wife.
This book deals with the issue of domestic abuse and there may be many triggers in it for anyone who has been a victim of this kind of abuse, or knows someone who has been. It is quite shocking to read about Mitchell’s manipulation and how he goes all out to get the boys off Ava for good. The book also delves into how divorce and abuse affect children and some readers may find this quite harrowing.
That said, I was hooked right from the beginning of this book. I just could not put it down and read it in one sitting. There were times in the book that I was sad, then I would find myself become so angry on Ava’s behalf. I hated Mitchell and really hoped he would meet a nasty ending, although how things turn out for him left me feeling satisfied that he would feel tormented.
This book is a gripping tale of how abusive people manipulate others into believing their truth and how their victims are left helpless and often feel like they have no one to turn to. I felt Laura McNeill dealt with these issues really well, as well as giving us the view point of a child who is also suffering at the hands of such a manipulator. Throughout the pain and suffering you do get a hint of hope and you find yourself clinging to that hope, just as Ava does, as the story progresses. Dealing with such topics can often be difficult to get right but I feel the author has got the blend just right.
You MUST buy this book, it is sad, disturbing, beautiful and happy and it WILL move you, I promise.
Highly recommended! ***** 5 stars.