Title: A Home For Christmas
Author: Deborah Grace Staley
Format: Electronic (Kindle)
Published: 2003 print/ 2011 Electronic
This is not the review I intended to write this week. The review I was planning on writing was for another book that I loved, but I cannot let this book go unremarked. Be warned SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW
It, more than any other book I’ve read this year, has made a lasting impression.
A young female physician takes a visit to the small Tennessee town she remembers fondly. Her mother is a socialite ashamed of Tennessee and its ways, but the doctor’s grandparents were the only real home she ever knew as a child. The story is a heartwarming Holiday read about how she reconnects with the colourful small town and practices medicine in the old way.
Of course there’ s a romance, and the romance and feeling of love she gets are key to how the town of Angel Ridge becomes home to the doctor at last.
But then it happened. The thing that left me wishing I’d never even heard of this novel, let alone spent time reading it.
The male love interest–a Pierce Brosnan handsome, down-to-earth construction worker–beats his brother nearly to death. Because of the usual Romance Novel Misunderstandings this True Love man becomes so enraged that he calls the “love of his life” a whore and almost kills a man. Of course they break up. And of course he apologises, brings flowers and jewelry and swears it will never happen again. The novel ends with their New Years Eve wedding.
This is supposed to be romantic. Anyone who has known a classic abuser knows this story well. Only we know it from the true beginning. We know that after the wedding–three months, six months, two years–he will lose his temper again. He will hit another person. Maybe her. Maybe their child. Then he’ll apologise and bring flowers and swear he’ll never do it again. Until he does. Until she’s dead or fled to a shelter under an assumed name.
I’m so angry that this was passed off as an escapist romance, as an ideal love relationship. Women don’t need to be led to believe that this pattern of cruelty is “love”. They don’t need to think that Happily Ever After comes when he apologises the first time. Because there is always a next time. If you live with an abuser there is always a next time.
Amazon and GoodReads won’t let you give a book “zero stars”. I’m really hoping that my fellow bloggers here won’t care when I give this book Zero Bookworms.