Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Refuge by Jo Fenton. This is the second book in The Abbey series and also the second book of this two book blog tour. It’s a dark psychological thriller set in the aftermath of the disassembly of a religious sect. A fast-paced sometimes disturbing read.
Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.
Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.
When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.
About the book
Following the death of The Brotherhood’s charismatic but sinister leader, Dominic, Melissa and her husband Mark resolve to turn the Abbey into a refuge for victims of domestic abuse. But when Melissa’s long-lost sister, Jess, turns up at the Abbey, new complications arise.
The Abbey residents welcome the new arrival but find it hard to cope with the after-effects of her past. As Jess struggles to come to terms with what she’s been through, her sudden freedom brings unforeseen difficulties. The appearance of a stalker – who bears a striking resemblance to the man who kept her prisoner for nine years – leads to serious problems for Jess.
Meanwhile, Mark also finds that his past is coming back to haunt him. When a mother and daughter venture from the Abbey into the local town for a shopping trip, there are dreadful consequences.
A build-up of tension, a poorly baby and a well-planned trap lead Mel, Jess and their family into a terrifying situation.
Can Jess overcome the traumas of her past to rescue her sister?
I’m sure this can be read as a standalone novel, however I do think reading the first book in the series puts everything into more perspective, especially because previous characters and events feature heavily in this one. This book starts where The Brotherhood left off, with Melissa reunited with her baby and with Mark.
Her sister, who has been missing since she was child, has escaped her captors. She is reunited with her sister at the abbey, which is in the process of being turned into a refuge for victims of domestic violence. Very apt considering the terrible crimes the members and leader of the sect committed.
Jess has a lot of trauma to overcome. Being held captive and both experiencing and seeing the depravity some people are capable of, well it’s no wonder she needs time to adapt. It certainly doesn’t help when someone turns up at her supposedly safe haven, someone who looks a lot like her captor. What are the chances of that happening?
It’s a dark psychological thriller set in the aftermath of the disassembly of a religious sect. A fast-paced sometimes disturbing read.
This sequel follows on from the basic storyline and characters of the first book, which means there are bound to be certain similarities. I do think Fenton needs to move beyond the basic structure of this premise. The sexual harassment, crimes against women and rape tropes become repetitive or overdone the second time round. There needs to be a slight element of freshness.
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