Shelter by Catherine Jinks

To be published on 5 January 2021.

‘I first saw her spotlit by headlight, a pink plush rabbit tucked under her arm.’

Meg’s own experience with an abusive partner helps her to decide to help another woman who is fleeing, with two small children, from an abusive partner.  Meg knows that she left it too long to leave her own partner, Keith, and as a result she is essentially estranged from her daughter Emily.    

Nerine, the mother, seems incredibly stressed.  Her daughters, Analiese and Colette are anxious and afraid.  Meg thinks that she can help.  Her home (aptly named ‘The Bolt Hole) is remote, and Meg has plenty of supplies to keep the family out of sight.  Meg will provide the three of them with shelter for a few weeks until another woman is able to offer them shelter.

But Nerine is convinced that her husband will find her, and when strange things start happening around Meg’s home, Meg is concerned.  Meg is in a dispute with her own ex-husband: is he trying to intimidate her, or is Nerine right?

What a bleak, heartbreaking, and incredibly beautifully written story this is.   The characters are well-developed, the issues are real, and the tension is high.  Nothing is straightforward, and while I worked out a few of the twists, I was not at all prepared for the ending.  If you read this novel, be prepared to ride an emotional roller-coaster. 

 Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. 

Jennifer Cameron-Smith