Now You See Her

los­ing an­other mother’s child

Real Crime - - Home Invasion - Kather­ine McLaughlin

Re­leased out now au­thor Heidi Perks pub­lisher Cen­tury avail­able in Hard­back

Moth­er­hood can be both a chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, some­thing that au­thor Heidi Perks de­scribes in great de­tail and with huge em­pa­thy from mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives. Whether it’s by im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers, other mums in the play­ground, com­plete strangers or on so­cial me­dia, ev­ery­one seems to have an opin­ion on the right way to raise chil­dren. A re­cent study con­ducted by Cardiff Univer­sity, which in­ter­viewed moth­ers and grand­moth­ers, drew the con­clu­sion that this gen­er­a­tion are un­der sig­nif­i­cantly more scru­tiny.

With all that in mind, this grip­ping crime thriller in­ves­ti­gates the re­sponse to one mother los­ing an­other mother’s child. When Har­riet trusts her close friend Char­lotte to take care of her daugh­ter Alice on the day of a busy school fete, the girl dis­ap­pears. The story is split into two sec­tions, with the story told from both Char­lotte and Har­riet’s points of view as the po­lice search for the miss­ing child. As the story switches be­tween be­fore and after the dis­ap­pear­ance, the char­ac­ters are ef­fec­tively shaded in to re­veal­ing ends, as is their friend­ship and re­la­tion­ships with the fa­thers of their chil­dren.

Char­lotte is a sin­gle mother who is do­ing her best to raise three chil­dren while deal­ing with the fall­out from her mar­riage. Her ex- hus­band is sup­port­ive with child care, but their un­der­ly­ing trust is­sues prove to be a hur­dle. Har­riet is still with her hus­band, and un­like Char­lotte hasn’t been able to in­fil­trate the so­cial gath­er­ings of the school mums. Her friend­ship with Char­lotte is the one re­la­tion­ship out­side her mar­riage, and though she mostly keeps her per­sonal life to her­self, she is glad to have such an un­der­stand­ing con­fi­dante. Po­lice ques­tion­ing and a harsh me­dia re­sponse to Char­lotte places the blame on her, and as her moth­er­ing is scru­ti­nised her anx­i­ety lev­els rise, and her friends stop call­ing.

What’s most strik­ing is the way in which Perks holds back judge­ment and con­vinc­ingly places the reader in the po­si­tion of the women who are suf­fer­ing through a distressing or­deal. You re­ally do feel their pain, ter­ror and plight, with the novel con­vey­ing the strength and gen­eros­ity of women who gen­uinely care for one an­other. It’s an em­pow­er­ing story that sug­gests sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ships be­tween women can only be a pos­i­tive thing, and praises those who have the courage to stand up and be vo­cal, while recog­nis­ing that many women may not have the same free­dom.

this... in­ves­ti­gates the re­sponse to one mother los­ing an­other mother’s child

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