I can’t contain my excitement, thank-you Louise over at Hodder Books for providing me with a proof copy of Angela Clarke’s newest novel On My Life! For everyone who doesn’t know, Angela’s newest thriller is out in paperback on the 11th of July, although the e-book and audiobook is available here for your immediate readers pleasure!
Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.
Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.
And the police think she did it…
Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:
Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer
But can she do it in time?
I was told by a wise blogger, with FANTASTIC taste in books that On My Life was ‘the nuts’, I am very inclined to agree, I even provided amazon with a mini review with that exact heading! Such an outstandingly, thought provoking novel that revolves around female prison inmates in the UK, whether they’re on reprimand or are charged; they are imprisoned, some may be innocent, as well as pregnant. On My Life delves into this, not only has Angela written an astonishing novel, but she’s provided somewhat of a platform for these women, in terms of drawing attention to their environmental issues, the lack of protection they have from those who are appointed to provide just that and the dangerous hierarchy within the prisons. Angela, you did great!
The main protagonist is Jennifer aka Jenna, who is a woman in her late 20’s, who has been arrested and charged with the murder of her teen step – daughter Emily, and suspected murder of her fiancé, Robert. Immediately after being denied bail, but not convicted, she is ferociously verbally attacked by the crowd that awaits her outside the courthouse just before she’s manhandled into a prison van. I was horrified, Jenna has been charged, not convicted! What happened to the saying in the adversarial legal system? Innocent until proven guilty?! I squirmed as Jenna was depersonalized by prison staff, laughed at and scared into thinking the staff would tell the prison population her crime, seriously affecting her mental wellbeing. This touched a nerve because although this book is a work of fiction, it happens!
The narrative is written flawlessly, the storyline flashing between past and present timelines which develops Jenna into a more three dimensional character, especially when you come to gain an in-depth understanding of family life with Emily, her fiancé, her own family etc. I also liked the characterization of Jenna, although she begins to emotionally come away at the seams, she is smart and logical, a strong character indeed that picks herself back up and carries on. Like all great reads, you’re provided clues in delicious bite sized chunks that are moreish, you can’t help but get tide waved into a heartbreakingly raw and emotionally powerful read. I think the reason that the concept is so emotional and raw is because Angela has researched female prisons, and drawn from real – life sources to reflect genuine issues.
Again, this book IS THE NUTS! Loved it, every single page! I will be recommending this read here, there and everywhere! Thank-you again Louise for the proof copy, and Angela for writing this one of a kind read!