Sticks And Stones by Jo Jakeman
Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.
In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable: she locks her husband in the cellar. Now she’s in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?
‘It is a time for lies and cover-ups, not truthful observations’
This novel is a psychologically thriller, which features one of the possibly, most psychologically damaged human beings, I have ever read about all year!
‘I knew the devil lived in his soul’
The novel opens on the day of Phillip Rochester’s funeral. It is clear there was marital abuse and divorce loomed. The opening is a loaded scene, packed with tension and secrets. Phillip Rochester was not just a bad man, he was an evil man.
‘Phillip Rochester got the death he deserved’
The novel then jumps back in time, to the events in the build-up to the demise of Phillip. Imogen is Phillip’s wife, Naomi his new girlfriend, Ruby is his first wife and Little Alistair (6yrs) the son between Phillip and Imogen.
The relationships between the women are fraught and simmering with tension and unease at every turn. But it is not of their making. . .
Phillip has a dominant personality, he is a bully and used to getting his own way. I cannot fully get across my feelings about Phillip because WordPress and Amazon both have community standards. Just know this, I detest the man, he really is evil personified!
The marriage between Phillip and Imogen has been over 18 months. Imogen is slowly over-coming the emotional difficulties, with the help of her quirky best friend Rachel. They have an unusual friendship, but Imogen has support nevertheless. Imogen does start to obsess over Phillip’s new relationship with Naomi. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to this than petty jealousy and emotional envy.
‘I was too scared of him to disagree; Phillip was my darkness’
The novel also details the past history of Imogen and Phillip’s marriage. We learn it was one of little happiness or support. Phillip declares he wants Imogen out of the property and it is this that is the catalyst for the entire plot. This is when it all gets REAL!
‘I was sick of being Imogen Rochester: the victim’
When Phillip threatens Imogen for sole custody of their son, he has no idea how much he will push Imogen over the edge.
Or if Imogen can ever truly bring herself back from that edge.
The chapters from the individual women’s backgrounds details what makes them vulnerable. Phillip didn’t just target these women, he preyed upon them.
Now he is the prey. . .
This novel is a complex psychological thriller, it deals with some very strong emotional themes. The power of psychological holds, the intensity of victimhood and the bond that can exist between women. It is an absolute corker of a read and I raced through the pages in one afternoon. 4*
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