Domestic violence

I see in the news today that at last the onus will no longer be on the woman to bring a charge in the case of domestic abuse. Until I started researching my book Trapped, I hadn't realised how little the law had changed since I was suffering from this problem in my first marriage back in the early sixties. That the police would readily issue a charge of assault against a yob in the street, but not against a woman's partner in a domestic situation unless she made the charge, was entirely wrong. Now that they can use a restraining order more easily, we have at last taken a step in the right direction, although its effectiveness will depend on how willing they are to do so. Let us hope more effective action will be taken to protect women. It is not before time.



Carly Stanton is a lucky girl. Newly married to the man of her dreams, a beautiful home with her family close by and with a job she adores. But all is not as it seems. Oliver Stanton may be charming and utterly gorgeous with dark good looks and captivating blue-grey eyes, as well as being successful and financially secure, but once the ring is on her finger, Carly discovers there’s a darker side to his nature.

He is possessive and controlling, sapping her confidence so that she feels as if she is living on a knife edge, her nerves in shreds. Carly knows that she desperately needs help before he destroys her. But who can she turn to? Not her family who think he is Mr Wonderful. As Oliver’s cruelty escalates, can Carly find a way out of the marriage trap?

This book came about as a result of a casual conversation with my editor, when I happened to mention that I had once suffered a short and violent marriage. My own story took place in the early sixties, but the problem of violent men still exists to this day and many of the incidents which Carly has to deal with, and the control Oliver imposes upon her, are written from personal experience. Writing this book was rather like opening Pandora’s box. I’ve been happily married now for almost thirty-nine years, certain that I’d successfully blocked the bad memories of that painful period from my mind. But as I began to write I soon realised that I still carried a sense of shame for having ‘allowed’ it to happen to me, for having stayed in the marriage for almost three years in a futile effort to make things come right. No woman should feel such guilt, or have to tolerate abuse. Fortunately, although some attitudes still need to change, help for the abused woman suffering domestic violence is more readily available today.

I've had several moving emails from readers about the issues raised in this book. If you are in need of such help, don’t hesitate to call the numbers on this page.

Women’s Aid or Refuge, run in partnership on the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: Call 0808 2000 247


Prize Draw

House of Angels

Out in hardback on 4 September.

If you want to win a free signed copy visit www.fredalightfoot.co.uk to enter the Prize Draw.

Best of luck!


Summer Reading

Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
This was a book that grew on me. At first I was distracted by the constant changing of time in three different periods, but little by little as the story began to unfold I became quite caught up in it. A slightly contrived method, perhaps, but it worked. I was intrigued by the mysteries and the secrets. The characters were well drawn and the clever use of the fairy stories added to the atmosphere delightfully.

The Return by Victoria Hislop
This book was brilliant. It begins in the present, showing a couple of friends taking a holiday in Granada, and one of them strikes up a friendship with an old man who runs a bar. He starts to tell her about the family who used to own it and were caught up in the civil war. Moving, powerful, a family you care about, and the writer was able to draw a realistic picture of the civil war without overdoing the research and getting into all the complicated factions. I was gripped and read it very quickly, neglecting my own writing in order to finish it. Highly recommended.

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
I loved this book, but then historical novels are my favourite. Weir writes well and with confidence, as we know from her non-fiction books, but she has made the change into fiction seamlessly. I might quarrel with one or two of her ‘fictions’ but she made a good story. You could feel Elizabeth's terror through those dangerous times, and her courage as she trod carefully around her sister Mary’s sensitivities. Excellent!

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
As probably one of the few people who balked at reading the Kite Runner, thinking it didn’t sound like my thing, this book was recommended by a friend and I’m so glad I bought it. My goodness but it is a powerful story, and beautifully told. I went every step of the way with Mariam and with Laila as they were each forcibly married to the same man, and learned a great deal of the problems faced by Afghan women along the way. Strong as the subject matter was, it was not depressing, for the two main characters had such spirit and courage. I shall now have to read Kite Runner. That’s an absolute.

Happy reading,