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Book Review: Don’t Let Me Go by Susan Lewis

Don't Let Me Go
My Rating:                    4 / 5
Format:                        Paperback courtesy of Random House
Publication Date:          1 February 2013
Extent:                          464
ISBN:                            9781846059544
Imprint:                         Century
RRP:                            AU$32.95

The Blurb
“Charlotte Nicholls has made a new life for herself and little Chloe. They have left everything behind, determined to forget a past which has cast a shadow over both their lives.

Charlotte would do anything for Chloe. But just when she feels they might have a chance of happiness at last, Charlotte is forced to confront the consequences of the heart-breaking decision she took only a few months earlier.

And it seems as if her greatest fear is about to be realised – that the little girl she promised to love and protect will be lost to her for ever…”

Summary and Thoughts
What do you do when your good intentions are not seen as such in the eyes of the legal system?
From the beautiful countryside of Te Puna in New Zealand to the inclement weather of the United Kingdom, child abuse to child kidnapping, this story takes us on a compelling journey in which we get to see first hand the guilt suffered by one woman and the pain and abject fear suffered by a young child who has no control over her own destiny.
Charlotte Nicholls, still trying to come to grips with her own family history after reuniting with her biological mother, has now settled in New Zealand in an attempt to build a positive family life for herself and Chloe. Constantly fearful that her unlawful actions will be discovered, she does everything in her power to protect Chloe, but when one perfectly innocent friendship stirs up a hornets’ nest, the unthinkable happens and both Charlotte and Chloe are swept up into a seemingly awful nightmare – one where Charlotte’s greatest fear is realised and the well-being of Chloe’s mental health is at risk with her trying to understand why her mother has allowed this to happen.
With a court-room drama looming before her and the prospect of true love in the offing, will Charlotte be able to convince a jury that whilst her actions were unlawful, they were always in the best interests of the child?
While this is the sequel to No Child of Mine: A Novel and not having read anything by this author before, besides adding a whole lot of graphic content and a bit more depth to the reasons behind them fleeing England, Susan Lewis has done a great job of fleshing her characters out that in no way did I feel I had missed anything from the first novel. Needless to say, much like Jodi Picoult, Ms Lewis tackles subjects that are extremely controversial and pulls no punches with the subject matter which, at times, can be confronting – in this case, child abuse, and the ramifications of one woman’s actions to try and protect a child in the only way she knows how.
Being a mother myself, child abuse is a reality I have always feared and I take my hat off to all child protection agents out there who bear witness to these despicable acts perpetrated against children on a daily basis but who somehow find the strength to fight to the bitter end for justice on behalf of those young victims.
Although I did initially struggle with Ms Lewis’ style of writing, I’m glad that I persevered with the novel since, having spent the majority of my working life as personal assistant to a variety of Barristers in South Africa (Senior Counsel being the closest I got to a Queen’s Counsel (QC)), I could understand the legal procedures behind the courtroom battle and relate so well to the hard work that goes into consulting, drafting papers and calling witnesses, and the author is to be commended for so skilfully drawing me in to Charlotte and Chloe’s world where I was able to experience both heart-wrenching and warm moments, some of which had me reaching for the tissues.
Unsettling and suspenseful with a steely core of gritty reality beneath it, Don’t Let Me Go is a story which places emphasis on the fragility of trust as well as the strength of love and one which will leaving you questioning what you would have done in a similar situation!
I wish to thank the publisher, Random House Australia, for providing me with an ARC of this fine novel.

A Little About the Author
Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels with Just One More Day and One Day at a Time being moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol.  Having resided in France for many years, she now lives in Gloucestershire.
For further information on this novelist, please visit either Random House Australia or the author’s website, Susan Lewis.

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