Thanks to Jen Brown for her review of A Judge Decided available directly from me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Fenwick’s debut novel ‘A Judge Decided’ is a tale deftly told. A touching story, which has all the elements that draw the reader in right from the start. Suspense, love, fear, joy, determination and despair all play out under the greater umbrella of universal human relationships.
Central to the novel are characters Leigh and Darren Jones, who marry in South Africa and move to England with hopes for a bright future. There, two baby boys are born to them, but their marital relationship quickly begins to deteriorate. The narrative accelerates and draws us back to South Africa, where Leigh’s father Derrick and loving step-mother Penny are waiting to offer unconditional support in any way they can, unaware of what lies in store for all of them.
We read about a family subsequently buckling under the strain of an emotional & legal crisis, and yet their strong ties serving to bind them even closer together. They pass through the fire of their circumstances, and become stronger, even as a sword is strengthened and proved after being forged in the fire.
Carey is the benevolent and gentle other-worldly spirit who watches over her beloved family. They feel her presence, and are comforted by it. Her commentary draws the threads of the story together, and it seems fitting that she is gifted the last word.
The themes of post natal depression, marital discord, divorce, emotional upheaval and ultimately a legal battle challenging the issues of child custody and abduction under The Hague Convention, combine to make this a riveting read.
It’s a page turner, and I found myself reading it straight through. As the pace of the narrative increased, I raced along with it, eager to discover the outcome of the court case, and where it had left the characters in the years after it all ended. Highly recommended!