“She already knew what she’d find. She walked into the still-steamy room, and there, in the bathtub, were all her best clothes – stewing in a pool of water the color of an angry bruise. Her cotton shirts, wool sweaters and pants, and silk blouses were ruined, their colors bleeding as the bleach-laden water sucked the life out of them.
He’s beaten me again, without even touching me.”
Andrea Garrett, a young battered wife and mother, must decide between honoring her marriage vows, her country or her children’s future. On the eve of her husband’s return from his second tour of duty, she decides to leave her children with her brother and flee in hopes of finding a new beginning. Unfortunately, Andrea finds herself in a hospital after falling asleep at the wheel and must rely on the help of a small town community to recover, rebuild her life, and keep from being killed by her abusive husband.
It’s hard to imagine the explosive fear that forced Andrea Garrett to leave everything familiar, or the amount of courage it took to finally take her life into her own hands. Especially when those closest to her questioned her stability, even suggesting she was the root of the problem.
“Maybe you’re the one that needs help. Maybe you’ve just burned out with handling the kids alone. Maybe Family Advocacy could help you with that…Andrea spoke under her breath. “Richard, listen. It’s not about the kids. It’s not about me. It’s about Sean. He’s an abuser. And I’m not taking it even one more day.”
How could a man who serves his country, a soldier respected among his peers, treat his wife more like a hostile prisoner than the mother of his children and partner?
Like many battered women, Andrea Garrett holds on to the hope that her husband will become the man she always envisioned. She makes excuses, constantly forgiving the many grievances inflicted upon her by Sean, an alcoholic and abusive husband, until the fear of everything staying exactly the same becomes greater than the fear of change. Young Andrea leaves her two preschool aged children with her only living relative, her twin brother Richard, and sets out to find a future for her children. Strung out on emotion and lack of sleep, Andrea drives her car into a ditch, leaving her unconscious and her car completely totaled. Compassionate and generous strangers come to her rescue, but her husband is inadvertently notified of her current residence in the process. The anger of rejection and need for control pushes him to hunt for her, with the intent to kill. He stops at nothing to find his prey. Blinded by his fury, Sean makes rash decisions, causing a terrible accident not only involving himself but Andrea’s beloved brother. As a result, Andrea must decide whether or not to follow through with her plans, securing a future for her and the children, or take care of her injured husband at the urging of his commander. In the end, in spite of the carefully considered decisions she makes for her family, Andrea still finds herself facing what might be her last breath.
Sean Garrett, the abusive husband, strikes me as a strong, articulate, and friendly guy to his peers. He is also portrayed as a bold and courageous military man, well-respected by his unit and commanding officers. Unfortunately, the person the public sees is not the same as the one keeping Andrea captive. The handsome, charming man she married turns out to be emotionally fractured beyond repair. Also, his best friend is actually Andrea’s brother, Richard, compromising his ability to protect and support his sister. Although I was rooting for Andrea on every level, Mary Metcalfe still gave me reason to pity Sean, in spite of his horrific actions. There are moments you wish things could be different for him and question if he could have been helped if people had made better choices in regards to his welfare. It certainly made me question certain aspects of the mental health system and reminded me of the people in my life that once held my heart, but turned out to be a bigger burden than I could carry.
Author Mary Metcalfe’s writing style is clear and concise. Her words create vivid images, while the dialogue is realistic and relate-able. I also enjoyed the way she weaved subtle yet suggestive romantic relationships without being graphic or offensive. For the most part, the characters were believable, even in their flaws. A few times, the story line seemed a little too convenient or too much of a coincidence but still created multidimensional, likeable characters. Towards the end of the book, Metcalfe did a great job of combining intense suspense with an unexpected twist.
As a busy wife and mother myself, it wasn’t hard to relate to the internal struggles Andrea Garrett was facing every day. However, Mary Metcalfe also made a great choice highlighting the red flags her character Andrea should have paid more attention to earlier in her relationship with Sean. Although Andrea is not to blame for Sean’s vicious behavior, Metcalfe reminded her readers the importance of making good choices and the responsibility we must take for the decisions we make in life. I enjoyed this suspenseful women’s fiction, and with less than 200 pages, it was easy to read in just a few short days. This is an author that I will most likely reach for again when I have a few moments available to myself.
*This book review is part of an official book tour with Novel Publicity.
Blog Tour Information
About the author: Mary Metcalfe lives in the foothills of the Laurentians, northeast of Ottawa, Canada with her husband, three cats and a very large dog. Love of writing runs in the family. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author. Clarion Review described Mary’s debut novel as a “sparkling debut… readers will love being swept along by Winds of Change.”Road to Tomorrow is her third novel in the Look to the Future series. Connect with Mary on her website, blog, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.
About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Road to Tomorrow! Here’s what you need to do…
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest
- Leave a comment on my blog.
That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form on the official Road to Tomorrow tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!
I obtained this book through Novel Publicity (Novel Publishing Group, LLC.), for FREE to read and write a review for this Virtual Book Blog Tour. I was not compensated with any money. This is in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.