11 November 2019
OMG! WOW! I have not read Laura Elliot before so what an introduction! If THE THORN GIRL is anything to go by, I'll be looking to devouring her others!
THE THORN GIRL is a powerful story and, while it is marketed as a Mystery/Thriller, it is so much more than a suspense. It is indeed chilling and rather disturbing in parts but it was above all, a brilliant masterpiece.
It all begins with a swallow in the attic. Like a butterfly in the forest, are they just all random events or is everything connected?
Adele Foyle has returned to Ireland to clear out her late grandmother's house. Finding herself in the attic, the final room to be cleared, she stumbles upon a lifetime of memories...and a swallow fighting for freedom. It is there she comes across and old backpack with a secret diary written by her mother, who died in childbirth 24 years ago. But as Adele turns the pages, nothing could prepare her for what she is about to discover.
Marianne Mooney was 15 years old and living in Reedstown with her mother Rosemary. She and her boy friend, Shane Reagan, used to meet in a old abandoned cottage to spend some time sitting and dreaming together. But one night Shane was late leaving home...and Marianne, upon hearing the cracking of twigs and footsteps approaching, delighted in what she thought was Shane's arrival. She ran to the door in anticipation...but was met with something far more sinister. Three hooded figures wearing balaclavas pushed their way in and threw her to the floor...with Marianne powerless to stop them. Three hooded figures, faceless and fearless, took their turn with her before leaving Marianne a frightened huddled mess...which was how Shane found her, bloodied and crying.
When they reported the gang rape to the Gardai, the Sergeant dismissed her claims and throwing Shane into a cell, then forced a statement from Marianne to the contrary of what had actually taken place. She never saw Shane again.
Marianne was sent to Dublin to the Thorn House of Atonement, a mother and baby home run by the respected Gloria Thornton who was something of a martyr to a near cult-like group of believers. Conditions in the House of Atonement were nothing like the public were lead to believe. In the vein of the infamous Magdalene Laundries of decades before, the girls were forced to work tirelessly at the behest of Mother Gloria. They were shamed and thrown into "the Tank" in solitary confinement for even a slight indignity. And when it was time to give birth, their babies were snatched from them almost immediately - not even allowed to hold them, nurse them or even to see had they been a boy or a girl. Some were even told their babies had died when in fact an even greater disgrace was taking place...and the girls sent on their way.
But in Marianne's case, her baby came early...and she succumbed to the massive blood loss...leaving Adele without her mother and in the care of her grandmother Noreen.
As Adele read the shame, the pain and the heartbreak in Marianne's diary, she endeavoured to journey to Reedstown - where her mother grew up - and seek out the truth of what really happened hoping to uncover clues about the tragic event. Who were those hooded figures Marianne called the "three blind mice"? Who was her father? And why was there no investigation into her mother's horrific gang-rape?
However, upon her return, she finds that her mother and grandmother are instantly vilified and denounced shamelessly. But Adele will not let that deter her. Determined to have the truth uncovered, she publishes excerpts of her mother's diary online...which are both believed and discredited alike. She soon realised that many townsfolk are not at all happy about her investigation and they attempt to put and end to it.
Money makes the world go round...but it is enough to keep the truth hidden?
But Adele is resourceful...and determined. She will not rest until she discovers the truth. But the townsfolk are just as determined. The lengths with which they are willing to go to ensure the truth remains buried is staggering. And it seems the deeper Adele digs, the worse things become for her. Until she is forced to abandoned her investigation.
THE THORN GIRL is a heartbreaking, disturbing but incredibly fast-moving story. Once I began, I did not want to put it down! It was truly a captivating read that was both sensitive and sinister shrouded with a darkness that despite the circumstances, highlighted the heartbreaking plight of an innocent young girl whose own daughter sought the justice that was truly deserving - all in her mother's name.
What I really loved about THE THORN GIRL was the many facets of the story that were woven together throughout the various perspectives...including Marianne's diary, which gave the 15 year old a voice when she had none. The different narratives are easy to follow in which we witness differing perspectives of the same story...including their beliefs and personal feelings on the matter...some of which are almost indifferent, bordering ignorance.
There is so much more to this book than I could ever say! Your heart will ache for Adele as she searches for the truth about what really happened to her mother, to the point of putting her own life in danger. THE THORN GIRL delivers us an unrestrained story of secrets, lies and deception so toxic that have gripped an entire community for decades. But Adele will stop at nothing in her quest for justice for Marianne.
A taut and compelling tale, THE THORN GIRL is beautiful, heartbreaking, emotional, menacing, sinister, intriguing, thrilling, dark and disturbing. And yet it is still so much more. A riveting tale of secrets and lies...and a sinister tale of psychological manipulation that ended with a beautifully wrapped up finale.
What more can I say? Go out, grab yourself a copy, read it! You know you want to! You won't be disappointed!
THE THORN GIRL was previously published as "In My Mother's Name".
I would like to thank #LauraElliot, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheThornGirl in exchange for an honest review.