Authors: Jenny Tomlin
Jenny Tomlin is happily married and lives in France.
With continuing support from her two children Martine and LJ, she still loves to write and enjoys family life to the full. She champions the causes of those charities that fight to wipe out abuse in all its forms, including Barnardo’s, Refuge, Red Cross and domestic violence units. Her other works have been in non-fiction:
Behind Closed Doors
Also available by Jenny Tomlin
Behind Closed Doors
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Adobe ISBN: 9781407005508
Published in the United Kingdom by Arrow Books in 2008
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Copyright © Jenny Tomlin, 2008
Jenny Tomlin has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser First published in the United Kingdom in 2008 by Arrow Books First published in paperback in 2008 by Arrow Books Arrow Books
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is available from the British Library ISBN 9780099509837
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This book is dedicated to the little souls lost, gone from us but never forgotten
I love doing this bit! To Alan, always there with endless cups of coffee, kisses and encouragement, thank you. To Martine, my angel and friend. To Jack, a timeless musician. To LJ, my big man and special boy. To Kim, my sister and nutcase always!
To my wonderful agent Jaine for all her never-ending support, and for the introduction she gave me to my lovely publisher Mark Booth and all the gang at Random House. Mark, you’re a lovely man with real insight and great creativity. To the lovely Deb, my mate, guardian, angel and helper – here’s to a lasting friendship. To Dawn for all her help in giving me time to work and for watching over my ironing and stopping it from spreading. To Matt Pullen and his family for always coming out late at night and fixing my computer and teaching me to cut and paste! To all my friends, up North, down South, and in France, the UK and Spain, for being there for me. I love you all.
Throughout my life, I have been told many stories –
some true, some not so true – and when I was given the opportunity to extend my writing into the fields of fiction, I decided to write what I knew about. I’m not a world renowned expert, but over the years I feel I have got to know real people, with real stories.
Most of these stories have touched my heart, moved my spirit and shown me the true meaning of life, love and survival. I feel humble and grateful to have the opportunity to write about some of the memories I have and to transpose them into fictional stories.
I’ve never been slow in coming forward, and I’ve always believed that there is a right and a wrong. I can be quite self opinionated and stubborn at times, but I do have my own faiths and beliefs. I try never to sway or compromise anyone though and all of this is personal to me, but when asked what I think on certain subjects, I do say it how I see it and I suppose there may be times when I offend. I don’t mean to do this however; I find it hard to keep my mouth shut. I believe in fairness and justice and I believe it should be every person’s fundamental right to have it, providing you don’t abuse it! Unfortunately, ix
children are not always lucky enough to be treated in this way.
As a child I was abused, sexually, mentally and physically, and no one seemed interested in the scruffy little girl with a dirty face, no shoes, and a pervert for a father. My rights were stripped from me because of my age, and the choices made for me by adults were often wrong and damaging. With the love of siblings and a great aunt on my mother’s side, who truly loved me, I made it through, but I long to see the day when you don’t just survive, you strive, achieve and fulfil.
My father lived on into his late seventies. After abusing all of us throughout our childhood, he continued to beat my mother senseless until the day he died. I ask myself sometimes why he was never punished. Instead he led a full life and gained pleasure from other peoples misery. Never once did he regret his actions or offer any pity or remorse. I can still remember the voices of the authorities, “It’s a domestic. She’s lying, making it all up! Don’t speak until I say you can.” I grew up disbelieving most adults, too scared to talk, too afraid to act.
It would be true to say that as a parent, I haven’t always got it right. When that baby pops out, it doesn’t come with a set of rules on how it all works, but you don’t need rules when you have an over -
powering instinct to love and protect, and generally in most cases, its enough to get you started! Like an x
empowered large wild cat, I protected, fed and cared for my cubs, hoping that their lives would reach the potential we all hope for in our offspring, and more than anything, I wanted them to be safe.
What kind of world do we all live in when a child is taken, snatched away, generally by someone trusted and respected, then harmed, murdered even, while we are left powerless, wondering what we did wrong, and why we were not there when they needed us? What gives someone the right to take away what was not theirs? And what greater power gives them their lives back without the justified punishment?
As parents what can we do to protect the young and innocent? Protection and punishment comes in many forms, and I know that retribution is not always the answer, but ask me what I would do if someone took my child, abused them and then murdered them, I would, quite honestly reply that I’d kill them myself. Why? you might ask. The answer is simple. I am not brave enough to carry on with life if my children were not in it. I would have to try and stop anyone that hurt them ever hurting another child again and I would do it myself for the law does not dish out the punishment that fits the crime committed in my view: a life for a life. I am pro-capital punishment and always will be, but can never see it being re-introduced into our society until a referendum vote, on this law, is given back to the people. I believe we need something to stop the xi
tidal wave of murder that’s ever present in our lives today. What deterrent is there to stop these terrible crimes today? Life does not mean life and the only thing that keeps someone behind bars is the outcry and publicity surrounding the crime. While they are taking educational exams, or painting or making pottery, the parents, pay for their rehabilitation and sit at home looking at the pictures of children lost and dreaming of the day when justice will be served.