Amanda Young, author and cover-artist, hopes that by sharing her story she may help those who are living in pain, speak out and end the silence. The cover picture is very fitting to what this tale is about. Amanda has certainly captured the essence of this novel with her artistic drawing.
Amanda is a registered nurse with a degree in homeopathy. She currently lives in Las Vegas. This tale is quite depressing, it follows Amanda’s (April’s) life as she grows up and exposes the cruel way in which she was quite often treated. Even the hardest of people will find themselves weeping as they read.
April is a scared and lonely little girl whose parents are alcoholics. It seems almost every night there is yet another argument between her mother and father. One night it is particularly bad and terrified April flees for some place to hide. She watches in horror as her father loses his temper and later finds her mum covered in blood. Her mum is taken away in an ambulance. This marks the end of a life at home that is often filled with domestic violence.
April is taken to an orphanage where she meets Miss Hall, a stern woman who is “in charge of everything”. It is there that April makes her imaginary friend up, a girl named Jenny, to help her through her sadness at the home. In her fantasies Jenny and herself are running free with one destination in mind: to visit another make-belief character named Jed who tells them of a magical place called Diamond Mountain. In this place if they can find Devil’s Garden, they will find mighty treasure - this just might be the answer to getting free of the hell April lives in at the orphanage ,to be free of the nightmare.
One day April is called to see her Aunt Mary and Uncle Ned who take her away from the orphanage to their small dwelling with their children Andy and Cathy.
Andy is horrible to April, angrily picking on her and calling her names. Cathy is older then her brother but all she seems to talk about is her boyfriend. When April goes with them to the school bus, they both pretend she simply does not exist.Andy tells her “I don’t want my friends to know we have something like you living with us!”. His hurtful words cut April deep and she soon ends up sitting by herself during trips to and from school. If any of the other children happen to sit next to her, it is only so they can tease her and call her more names.
She does get introduced to a girl named Elizabeth but when April tries to get close to her at school, Elizabeth tells her not to tag along with her while she is with her friends. Again April feels that same feeling: rejection.
The near-by woodlands are a place of refuge for April where she can collect her thoughts and discover all the woodland creatures. Over time though April grows fond of her Aunt Mary but sadness and loss is never far away. More people come into April’s life that she builds up a close friendship with, only to have it taken away from her once again.
And when Cathy marries her wicked boyfriend there is more abuse and rape in store for April.
April does marry but on her wedding day there is a great thunder storm and rain pours down. This must mean something bad surely?
A wonderful, heart-rending tale. I could go on but words are simply not enough to praise such a poignant read. Each sentence is as touching as the next, written in a very clear but emotional way. You feel as if you are living April’s life with her through each chapter. Each character is so vivid and the surroundings brought to life with just a few words. As soon as I began this, I just could not stop. Brilliant.
The above review was contributed by:Jessica Roberts:Jessica is a book reviewer for a local newspaper and has reviewed for a national women's magazine too. She has had various articles published in magazines and has now completed her novel. Jessica currently lives in West Yorkshire and enjoys walking in the dales and woodlands as part of her hobby as well as, of course, reviewing books. To read more of Jessica's reviews CLICK HERE
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