She’s Not Gone
When Daryl charms his way into Katie’s life, sweeping her off her feet, she thinks she’s found the love of her life. Until he cuts her off from her friends and starts to control everything in her life, right down to the food she puts on her plate.
There is a monster inside of Daryl that plays on his insecurities, and the monster is ready to come out and play.
Will Katie make the most important decision of her life before it’s too late?
Who will protect her when she discovers Daryl’s deadly secret?
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This is the story of Katie, who thinks she has met the love of her life, Daryl, only to find out that underneath his charming exterior lies the heart of a monster.
Written in first person, present tense, the author manages to convey Katie’s anguish, self-doubts and low esteem to the reader in a way that makes it easy to understand why she can’t leave Daryl, despite the warning signs. There are hints of a difficult childhood that, while not dealt with in detail, leave no doubt in your mind that Katie has led a very troubled existence.
Even though he is manipulative and violent, and even though she is terrified of him, Katie continues to blame herself for his behaviour, justifying his actions and delaying the moment she knows she will have to leave him.
Once again, Sarah Northwood has written a book that deals with sensitive issues in a way that draws the reader into the story, pulling you along on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, right to the end when you can at last mull over what you have just read. This well-written novella will open people’s eyes to the effects of psychological and physical abuse, and help to explain the too-often repeated question: “But why doesn’t she just leave?”
Well done, I can’t wait for the author’s next book!
Submitted by Helen Pryke
This one I saw reviewed on RRR and together with the book description decided to download it as it was on Kindle Unlimited.
This story had a gripping storyline and was also poignant and sad. Told in the first person by Katie, who is in abusive relationship. At first, I wondered why she didn’t just leave but of course, it’s not as easy as that. The psychological damage leaves her with no self worth and a fear of being found and dragged back to face the consequences.
The story was well told, gripping and poignant and very sad. There is also an unexpected paranormal twist, although I’m not sure if you can even call it that. Just something unexplained and interesting happens and I really enjoyed it because it took the story somewhere else. Clever. I liked that.
Thank goodness it did have a happy ending although I would like to have seen her swept off her feet or rescued by someone very dashing.
Submitted by Karen J. Mossman
It’s a powerful story that submerges you into a mentally and physically disturbing relationship/lifestyle. When I read books about abuse, I want to jump into the storyline and defend the women in need. Sarah described events very well to induce a response like that from me. This book also had me curious the entire time because I wasn’t sure where it was going. I loved that it turned a little paranormal but I wish there was a little bit more of Eva/car in the story. Overall a great read and will read other books from this author.
Submitted by Kristina Beck
The Prologue gives no hint to the story that follows. In fact, I had to return to it after finishing the book to understand the point of including it. The meat of the story actually begins with the first chapter. Told from the point of view of the abused Katie, anyone who has been in an abusive relationship can instantly relate to her experiences. Her life is completely controlled by her live-in boyfriend, Daryl. He is a man who has obvious control issues. As with most abusers, Daryl presented a very different personality while he was courting Katie. Now they are living together, and his true colors are showing. Jealous, possessive, and abusive in all ways, he has trained Katie to behave as he wishes. The young woman walks a fine line, always fearful she will do something to displease Daryl. When Daryl’s dissatisfaction is incurred, he is quick to reach out with a cruel comment, a nasty word, or a physical attack to put Katie back where he wants her; under his thumb. As Katie herself notes in the first chapter, “Things moved fast, some say too fast.” This gives the reader some insight into Katie’s personality. It is apparent she also has personal issues in her past that have set her up to be susceptible to Daryl’s false charms. There is a desperation about her, a need to be loved and cared for. Daryl is much like a monster on the hunt. He senses Katie’s weakness and moves in like a shark smelling blood in the water.
In her naiveté, Katie doesn’t see past the attention he pays her until it is too late and she is caught like a spider in his web. Even as his abuse escalates, she finds reasons to blame herself for his violence. Unwilling to share her dilemma with even her closest friend, Katie hides her bruises, pretends all is well, and tries to present a happy face to the world. There’s no question in the reader’s mind that her employer and friend, Jeannie, is suspicious of Daryl and suspects all is not as Katie would have her believe.
Daryl blames his jealousy and behavior on his previous girlfriend; a woman he claims left him for another man. Katie knows nothing else about the ex-girlfriend and like Daryl, feels she is responsible for Daryl’s insecurity. If Daryl is insecure, it certainly doesn’t prevent him from cheating on Katie. Eventually, Katie discovers his infidelity. Coupled with a severe beating, she at last tells the secret of her dark relationship to Jeannie.
The sad thing about abusive relationships is the fact that most women will return to their abusers as many as seven times before finally making the break. Even when she is free, Katie believes she still loves Daryl. There is always an undertone of guilt and forgiveness in Katie’s musings. Northwood does an excellent job of describing this crucial stage of separation for the abused partner.
It is when Katie buys a used car that things in this book go somewhat off track. Let me say, I am not a fan of haunted vehicles. This section of the book is almost boiler plate. It is well written and would make an excellent stand alone paranormal story. Its addition detracts somewhat from the focus of the earlier part of the story. What was a cautionary tale, even inspiring in places, the book becomes a ghost story. While it makes sense in many respects, the coincidences are a bit difficult to digest.
All in all, this is a good book. It is extremely insightful when relating the internal and external pain of being the abused partner in a violent relationship. The story does have a satisfying resolution. I recommend it to anyone who has experienced abuse or knows someone who has done so. The statistics tell us one in four women will have experienced some type of domestic violence in their lifetimes. This book can do a great deal to raise awareness of this troubling data.
I’m pleased to give this book a Blue Bookworm.
In the first part of the book, you can almost feel what it is like to be her. In situations like these you often hear "Why didn't she just leave? The options are out there", but the way that the story was written helps show how the mind can work against you in an abusive situation. Almost right away i was sucked into the story. All the details were just enough to make you feel like you are watching everything, without it being overwhelming.
In the second part there was a slight switch in the flow of the story, but I like the process of events unfolded. There were points however that I would have liked to see a little more of the relationship development, and where things felt a little rushed. In all honesty though this book kept my attention all the way through to the end. I love how the end gave a sweet mix of things being tied up and the sense of wanting more.
She thinks about killing herself. "Should I blow out on to the road like the rubbish I am? Would it sweep me away and into the shadows."
She dreams of having a normal day "talking about the weather and holidays and all those wonderfully mundane things." But then Daryl snaps.
She doesn't recognize the beaten woman she sees in the mirror. "I find myself on a desert island, isolated from his affection."
There are no bars on her windows, yet she feels trapped all the same. She cries silent tears. "A good day for me is one where I go unnoticed, where Daryl doesn't see me."
Then, when she thinks Daryl will kill her, she wonders: "will anyone mourn for me will anyone know I was gone?"
"Suddenly I want to get out of this alive. I was wrong to think I don't care about dying."
Katie is again beautiful.
Katie is not gone.
Sarah Northwood writes this in such a way that the reader gets so involved in Katie. At times I felt like I was Katie and I was hanging onto every word, feeling every word. It shows more than tells, which is a sign of a great author. At first, I have to admit that I merely skimmed this book, wanting it to be over. But the second time I read it, I really felt the meaning behind the words. And it does have a good ending, I don't want you to think it's just a dark, sad novel. It is inspiring because it doesn't have a fictionalized ending so to speak, like fairies who carried her to a meadow full of flowers, or, like some novels, something blew up and she escapes. No, Author Northwood describes something almost mundane but so realistic that anyone reading this can say, "I can do this" or "I've done this!"