I have just finished reading the novel by Caroline Smailes. I can honestly say I was blown away by it. I had avoided reading other peoples reviews until I had read it myself as I didn't want to be influenced or have other peoples views of it. I was also a little nervous about what I would do if I didn't think it was good, I think I would have had to keep quiet. But it is good, very good.
It is not an easy read because of the subject, child abuse, but Caroline has an amazing way with words that draw you into the book from the first paragraph and holds you til the last, in spite of some very difficult scenes. You want to fold Jude in your arms and make life better for her, she is as real as your own child and her pain is very hard to bear. This is a very unusual book in its perspective, told from the childs point of view, and with unique use of language which works so well. You never question that it is Jude a small child telling her story. Despite some very harrowing scenes it is never gratuitous and the other characters are very well drawn, you can picture them all, they come alive on the page.
Caroline has achieved a remarquable first novel and I shall look forward with impatience for her next book.