Sunday, March 17, 2013

{Review} When Smiles Fade by Paige Dearth

ISBN #: 978-1475096927
Page Count: 464
Copyright: January 23, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


Emma was unloved from the moment she was born. Her earliest memory is being severely beaten by her father, Pepper Murphy, when she was just eight-years old. Seething with resentment over the sacrifice of his dreams for a woman he cares little about and children he never wanted, Pepper chooses to blame his older daughter. Her mother, Valerie, makes matters worse with her verbal abuse, leaving Emma isolated with a man that had no boundaries in punishing his daughter, taking his abuse to unimaginable levels.

Emma's father's coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

Charlene's Review:

Emma and her sister Gracie are born into a frightening cycle of abuse at the hands of their parents. When their father dies, their mother finds a new man that continues the abuse, as she looks on. When Gracie is nearly killed by the man, the girls leave home in search of safety and peace. Living on the streets introduces them to new levels of violence, but Emma is focused on the future, and nothing is going to stop her.

When Smiles Fade is a formidable tome. Not only is its sheer size a challenge for the light reader, the magnitude of the contents and their graphic nature lends itself to careful reading. This is not a book for the squeamish, and I strongly caution child abuse survivors of possible triggers in the storyline. The levels of abuse are horrendous and made even more so because they are sadly believable.

Ms. Dearth has a gift for storytelling that she herself describes as an escape from her own child abuse. While I found some of the details extraneous, the whole of the book is astounding in its detail and emotional zest. The ending is truly unexpected and left me breathless. This is the second of Ms. Dearth's books I have reviewed and, given her success thus far, I see many more in her future.

4 out of 5 stars.

*A paperback copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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