Chasing The Traveller by Alex Kane
‘I’ve fled from my husband and the only life I’ve ever known. I’m terrified that if he finds me, I’ll never find myself.’
Kat is trapped in a world where she has never belonged. As a traveller, she has always felt lost, especially since the death of her parents in a fire when she was fourteen years old. Having been taken on by the Denton family as their own, Kat falls in love with their son, tearaway Jimmy. His charm soon wears off and Kat finds herself married to a controlling and violent thug.
Sixteen years later, Kat decides enough is enough and begins plotting her escape from a lifetime of abuse.
Stripped of her personality, Kat has no idea how to start again but she finds an unlikely ally in her sister-in-law Ellie who shows Kat that she is not alone.
Kat and Ellie Denton begin their venture into a new world, where they meet new people and build new lives. But Kat still wants to know more about her parents’ past and when she seeks the location of an address on the back of a family photograph, Kat begins to uncover more than she expected including a revelation that will lead Kat back to the traveller site she had been so desperate to escape from.
Will she find the answers she is looking for, or will she fall prey to the violent Jimmy Denton once more?
This novel opens with a prologue, which is a scene of brutal domestic violence. We become rapidly aware that Jimmy Denton is a jealous thug and his ‘wife’, has been subjected to physical violence, rape and being spat on regularly!
Jimmy’s wife Kat, is the central protagonist. She has lived a life of fear, dominance, and complete and utter control! Jimmy decides what she eats and wears. He views her, merely as his property! Kat is alone in the world with no family of her own. She is apathetic and accepts a lifetime with the ‘Denton’s’ on their traveling site. That is until a ray of hope is offered from an unlikely source……
Jimmy’s sister Ellie Denton, has always treated Kat with contempt. But one day, the women take a moment to confide in each other of the psychological scars they both bare due to Jimmy’s violent ways.
Together they are stronger, and it is together, a plan is forged!
“This is no way to live. You know it as much as the rest of us here” – Ellie
Kat after years of being victimised and dehumanised, relies upon Ellie tremendously, for their plan to work!
Their plan is one of escape, but an escape, that must be secretively, carefully and meticulously planned. If their plan is discovered, Jimmy may kill both the women.
When Kate discovers she is pregnant with Jimmy’s child, she fears for not only her own safety but the safety of her unborn child. She must put all her faith and trust in Ellie.
The traveller site that the Denton family ‘rule’, is fully explained. Denton women are forbidden to leave the site unless accompanied by a Denton man. It is easy to see how a community such as this, can easily harbour domestic abuse and sexual violence. Women are treated as possessions to be owned, rather than partners to be loved.
“Kat we’ll do it together. We’ll change our names so no one can trace us, we’ll start a new life together and we’ll get away from this shit hole” – Ellie
The women leave, with Kat clutching nothing but a single photograph of her parents. They are positively terrified, and fear follows their every step away from the site…….
I really admired the characterisation of the women. Kat as the victim and Ellie as the saviour. It was refreshing to read a novel where a female character, is helped by a fellow female, to save her own life. I found this very accurate and realistic. Ellie nurtures Kat, back to her former self.
There is a lot to be said, for the power of sisterhood amongst women and this novel is a perfect example.
The novel then progresses to one year later. Kat is now Katelyn with a three-month-old daughter named Lucia. Auntie Helen (Ellie) is still helping Katelyn overcome her painful past. Helen encourages Katelyn to seek therapy, as the women live their lives, always looking over their shoulder!
Katelyn begins to investigate the photograph, her only one possession taken from the site. What she uncovers is decades of secrets and a glimpse into her own family’s history on the traveller site!
The opening pages that describe the travellers site and the violence easily meted out. I could have quite easily believed to have been a Martina Cole novel. The writing was so detailed and brutally honest! The mental hold of domestic violence and dehumanisation is fully explored!
Beat, control and dominate!
Can Kat set herself free? Can she overcome the past? What will become of baby Lucia, if Kat fails to find the strength? Will Jimmy seek revenge?
To find out more of Kat’s journey, you will have to read the novel! But remember
“Don’t allow your past to define your future”