Marlene Hauser


The treatment of Lily, her older sister Mags and younger brother Artie, meted out by their emotionally scarred father Jack Preston and his horrendous mother Emma is insane. I know Jack suffers from PTSD, but the way he treats them is unforgivable.

Emma, crippled in her back by childhood polio, is a monster. My grandmother also had what we called a ‘Dowagers Hump’ and was only 4’9″. I never really knew what caused her spinal deformity, but she was the sweetest, kindest lady I ever knew. Emma’s disability is no excuse for her unbelievable behaviour, particularly towards Lily.

Jack meets Lauren Rose, beautiful, gentle and kind. She loves flowers, particularly geraniums, which Emma thinks are common (how dare she), and grows them in terracotta pots. Jack can be very jealous and controlling. Emma thinks Lauren Rose isn’t good enough for her son.

They have three children, but their marriage is falling apart. Jack is driving his wife to the brink and Emma is actively encouraging him to divorce her and even have her committed. It’s heartbreaking.

For the children, there is a pattern emerging that will almost destroy them. A series of ghastly women, Jack is vulnerable as well as controlling. He controls his wife and the children, while his mother and his women control him. As far as Lauren Rose is concerned, he tells the kids that she is dead to them.

Lily is determined to be reunited with her mother, who she is sure is alive somewhere. Mags believes that Lauren Rose could have done more to help them. Artie is threatening to go off the rails. It’s a difficult dilemma, because I can see where Mags is coming from. Even if her mother was mentally incapable of doing anything (I know this from personal experience), their other Nana and Granddad could have done far more to rescue them from the dysfunctional situation they were in.

Full review on blog –

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