Jane Barry's Review (Brisbane Courier Mail, 19/03/2011)

Mar 24 2011
Jane Barry's Review (Brisbane Courier Mail, 19/03/2011)

Hoorah! at last we are getting somewhere. This review by Jane Barry appeared in last Saturday's Courier Mail, Brisbane, 19/03/2011. Here is the text.

THERE used to be such a stigma associated with domestic violence that it was rarely talked about.
Though our tolerance has changed, the incidence still remains high. Men are generally the perpetrators and women and children are the victims. Elsie and Graeme Johnstone have written a chilling novel which highlights the classic cycle of domestic violence, including the build-up and explosion phases and the inevitable pursuit and honeymoon hiatus until all goes horribly wrong again.
Each author assumes the gender-matched identity of the main characters, giving an alternative perspective of the same events. Jennifer is a classic Irish beauty, a trophy wife to Stuart, who thought that marriage and children had passed him by. Everything is wonderful in the beginning but slowly cracks begin to emerge. Comforting as they are, Jennifer’s good friends and Buddhist philosophies cannot satisfy her longings for intimacy. Via Facebook, she seeks out Tom, an old flame from her university days.
He is the perfect foil for the conservative Stuart, whose paranoia has spread to an uncontrollable level. Stuart’s focus is increasingly on his insurance business and making the most of the Celtic Tiger, a fiscal boom for Ireland’s struggling economy.
Jennifer starts neglecting her family and makes plans for a future with her old lover. But Stuart has other plans for her and the children when he senses his control as self-appointed “captain of the ship” is in jeopardy.
The book builds to a chilling ending, highlighting the extremes that some will go to in their quest to prove a point.
- Jane Barry, Courier Mail, Brisbane.