Post Script: Unhallowed Ground- Gillian White

Unhallowed Ground

Gillian White

Open Road Integrated Media

ISBN: 9781480402218

Description

Widowed London social worker Georgina “Georgie” Jefferson battles guilt and public disgrace when one of her charges, abused five-year-old Angela Hopkins, is beaten to death. She retreats to Furze Pen, an isolated Devon cottage that once belonged to Stephen, the deceased brother she never knew. In this refuge, she hopes to learn something about Stephen. But the hostility of her neighbours and a series of chilling incidents—including the disappearance of her dog and a stranger lurking around the cottage at night—disturb Georgie’s desperate search for peace. As winter closes in, Georgie must discover who or what threatens her most . . . the tragedies of her past or a new danger from her tormented present.

Once again, master of suspense Gillian White depicts the dreadful, dependent relationship that can sprout between love and violence.

My View:

My initial reaction to this book was one of despair – I despaired of the unsympathetic protagonist, Georgie. I could not stand the pages of wallowing self pity. I almost put the book down – however as I have read several of Gillian White’s previous books, books I enjoyed reading, I persevered.  I was rewarded with a story that from a slow burn ignited a pressure pot of fear, desperation and substance. I did warm to Georgie as she dwelt less on her past and we learned more about her current situation. White is a great observer of people and their idiosyncrasies. She created a tension so real I could feel it- in my shoulders and my neck, a tension akin to mood set by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.   This book will not date. It sits as well today as when it was first published in 1999.

Post Script: Keep No Secrets – Julie Compton

Julie Compton

Fresh Fork Publishing

ISBN: 9780988793224

Description:

After the ultimate betrayal, what is more important: trust or forgiveness? In KEEP NO SECRETS, the controversial follow-up to Compton’s debut legal thriller TELL NO LIES, a district attorney struggles to redeem himself after a one-night stand four years before damaged his marriage and professional reputation.

After surviving the private and public fallout from a one-night stand four years before, St. Louis DA Jack Hilliard wants nothing more than to be trusted again by his wife, Claire, and to earn back the respect of the community he serves. Since the day Claire accepted him back into the family, he’s vowed to be true to these goals, and so far he’s succeeded.

But all of Jack’s efforts begin to crumble when the woman involved in his earlier downfall, Jenny Dodson, returns to town claiming threats on her life and asking for his help, and resurrecting for Jack long-buried emotions and questions of her guilt for the murder of a client. Just when he thinks the pressure can’t get any worse, his son’s girlfriend, Celeste, accuses him of sexual assault, and he suddenly finds himself on the wrong end of a criminal case, battling for his freedom.

Can Jack trust his freedom to the legal system on which he built his career? Or will the ghost of his one-night stand four years before come back to haunt him, causing him to be convicted on the mistakes of his past?

My View:

This is a follow story to Tell No Lies that is written so well that it really isn’t necessary to read the earlier book – but I think I will follow this one up as I enjoyed this read so much.  A legal procedural, psychological narrative revolving around family, moral dilemmas and lies  – by omission and little white lies to save face and family and reputations. Compton is able to construct a believable tension that ripples through this story – creating a tsunami of emotion, intrigue and hope that eventually Jack will be redeemed and all will be happy ever after.

I really enjoyed this book which spins a web of conspiratorial intrigue whilst subtly questioning our understanding of forgiveness, love and family. How do we truly forgive and move on? Can we love more than one person? Jack loves his wife, he loves his family, his children, his work, he also loves Jenny Dodd (but he won’t admit  this even to himself) – how does he make sense of his world especially in a time of trouble, confusion and trial by media, a time when he really needs emotional support and unconditional love himself?

Compton creates believable and empathetic characters whose stories put the spotlight on child abuse and domestic violence and how these crimes impact on the individuals involved and the greater community. I loved Jack – his loyalty, his sense of family, his vulnerabilities, and his passion for justice. I felt for his wife and her attempts to construct normality and family after a situation of such great personal betrayal.  She wants to forgive and go back to their idyllic life but through her responses (or lack of) we see how difficult it is to truly forgive; it is easy to say the words. I felt for all involved. Compton shows us life is not always easy, decisions are not always black and white and sometimes we have to acknowledge that we cannot repair all damage and moral dilemmas are dilemmas.  A great read.