In this dark, sometimes raw novel set in Laramie, Wyoming, a young woman physically and sexually abused by her husband is being held captive by him in their home and searches for an escape.
Protagonist Lizzie’s intense situation is apparent from the book’s opening pages as she struggles with the demon of a man she once adored. Now she is continually being subjected to horrific abuse, both physical and mental, subdued by drugs, and is further demeaned by being forced to have sex with “associates” of her masochistic and violent husband, Rick.
Lizzie wants only to sneak her three-month-old son out of the house. Her attempts to leave seem hopeless until she hits upon an inkling of a plan. Little does she know, a reclusive neighbor has been watching the strange goings on at the house from afar and is considering her own need to act.
Written predominantly as a monologue by Lizzie, the book is compelling from the start. Between gripping and sometimes graphic abuse scenes, the reader learns the back story of how Lizzie and Rick met and what in their past led up to Lizzie becoming a victim.
The writing is tension-infused, reflecting the numb vulnerability Lizzie feels in coping with her husband’s irrational fury. “Rick was still play-acting at being loving and gentle. That always makes me exponentially more anxious. If he’s calm I am preoccupied. [sic] Wondering and waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
Despite numerous flashbacks, the author leaves some story threads dangling, and the book has copyediting needs (the text includes misspellings, missing or improper punctuation marks and occasional repeated words). Yet the subject matter truthfully reflects the many such disturbing situations that exist in life today.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, but it carries a powerful message for those interested in the roots and tragedy of victimization.