Published: Random House
Narrator: Julia Franklin
Length: 16hrs 58 min
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Own book
Alex Lake’s day job is all about helping people, especially children. She cares about them passionately and does everything in her power to rescue them from those who mean them harm.
When the case of three-year-old Ottilie Wade comes to her attention, Alex finds herself completely unable to detach from the child the way she should. She feels an overpowering need to make a real difference in little Ottilie’s life, but no one is prepared to believe that Ottilie is in danger.
In the end, Alex makes a decision that has consequences for her, her family and Ottilie – consequences that no one, least of all Alex, could have foreseen.
Oh my! What a novel! This is the first time I have read Susan Lewis, so I wasn't so sure whether I would like it. However one very telling review on Goodreads from a reader I really respect - Laurel-Rain, had given it 5 stars so that was a good start!
It's a long book, so it took me a few weeks to listen to it. It is set in a small town in England. The narration was excellent and held my attention all the way through. The only very picky thing I have to comment on was the accent of a certain character who came to visit Alex. Sorry - but that is not a New Zealand accent!
But what of the content? Well it engaged me all the way through. Alex is a social worker, and a very good one. She cares about the children she works with. She puts in long hours and it is often heart breaking and difficult. She has to contend with situations where sometimes her life is at risk. She herself had a very distressing beginning to her young life and so knows first hand being left orphaned.
She has a few minor enemies, nothing outstanding, but enough to niggle and cause damage in small but significant ways. As well as working she is into drama and enjoys directing the local club. She is in a relationship with Jason as the book opens, but even as the book opens that looks a little shaky.
Alex trusts her instincts, and she follows up a phone call about Ottilie Wade and senses that all is not well with the child. The mother is very strange and the father is domineering and seemingly holding down a very respectable job as a deputy head at a local school. The more Alex knows of him the more she suspects. She soon is keeping a close eye on Ottilie, but things move slowly and social workers have to play by the book.
When one terrible night things go pear-shaped in a big way, the press go after Alex in a big way, blaming her for what has happened. As they do! They are out to sensationalise it all and Alex has to hide away at the rectory hoping it will quieten down soon. And she has put herself in a very compromising place. Go Alex!
I will certainly be listening to or reading the follow up book to this one, although with a little break in between!