The setting is Okeham England, a little coastal village where Tabitha Hardy lived as a child. She returned to start life anew, buying a fixer upper and hoped to put her dreadful past behind her.
This starts out with Tabitha arrested and jailed for murder. She doesn't think she's done it but she has memory losses. The evidence points to her as a body was found in her shed and she is covered in blood.
The dead man is Stuart Rees and he sexually abused her when she was fifteen years old; he was her teacher. There is certainly motive but on further investigation there were quite a few people Stuart alienated and screwed over in the small village.
This is hard book to review. As I start to write my opinions, I stop and think....did I like this book? There was a question posted on Goodreads by someone who abandoned it yet wanted to know the ending because she was curious. I was never tempted to abandon it.
Tabitha is hard to like. She has a caustic personality yet I kept reading because you could understand why she was so closed off to people. She was bullied as a child and teen, she was taken advantage of by a trusted teacher, one who gave her some of the only positive attention in school and that turned out poorly. The descriptions of the correctional facilty will chill you as you read about the cells, the awful food and officers who can make your life a misery.
I'm really selling this book, huh?! LOL The story is divided by the prison life, the upcoming trial and defense then the epilogue. Tabitha represents herself as her court appointed attorney suggests she plead guilty to manslaughter to get a lesser sentence. Yes, the evidence is overwhelmimg but hang in and watch as Tabitha researchs the case and finds flaws in the investigation. Not loopholes, but a sloppy investigation and, in my opinion, flawed crime scene info. It was clear the authorities just felt it was a slam dunk conviction.
This was written by the English husband and wife team Sean French and Nicci Gerrard. I prefered the Frieda Klein series to this novel but I will read more by these authors in the future.