Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review of On My Life by Angela Clark, this book is definitely a “must read” for those who enjoy a prison drama. Read on for my thoughts…….
Framed. Imprisoned. Pregnant.
Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.
And the police think she did it…
Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do: Clear her name, Save her baby, Find the killer, But can she do it in time?
Hells bells what an exciting and engrossing read On My Life by Angela Clarke turned out to be. If you love a prison drama, then look no further, it’s definitely dramatic, the vivid prison scenes depicted by the author give a sense of malevolence that radiate from its pages, it’s a book that’s fraught with tension. The author’s depiction of HMP Fallenbrook is so convincing it doesn’t take much imagination to sense the claustrophobic feel of the prison, the constant noise, the lack of privacy, a world where violence and fighting for survival going hand in hand. This book is more than a crime thriller, it’s a searing account of one woman’s journey through a failed Justice system. This book maybe fictional, but once you read the afterwords by the author you realise there are so many parts of this book that are based on alarming facts, facts that will make you angry and force you to question the failures of a justice service that treats pregnant woman.
On My Life tells the story of Jenna who appears to have it all, loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home, but then Jenna is accused of the murder of her 14-year-old stepdaughter and the disappearance of her fiancé. Placed on remand at HMP Fallenbrook, she finds herself fighting for her freedom, is she innocent? Who and why would someone go to such lengths to have her incarcerated? The answers are deftly revealed by the author, with numerous shocking moments along the way. The beauty of this story is the contrast between Jenna’s life prior to the murder and her life as a prisoner, the author reveals the good, the bad and the ugly in equal measures, she doesn’t leave any stone unturned.
As Jenna steps through HMP Fallenbrook she catches her first glimpse of prison life, the author expertly describes Jenna’s thoughts and feelings and captures the fear that shrouds the prison I found myself becoming more and more anxious for her. The scenes are brutal, and yet there are also the scenes that are emotionally charged and heartbreakingly sad, and made me question my own assumptions of the treatment of women in prison. As you would expect in a prison drama, pack mentality rears its ugly head and usually in a book of this nature the protagonist comes out on top, but that isn’t the case for poor Jenna, because of the nature of her crimes she’s vilified by her fellow inmates, bullied and treated shockingly by the guards.
On My Life moves masterfully between the present and Jenna’s past, although this gives an insight into her current predicament, it also explores her difficult childhood and her relationship with her fiancé and his family. I would be lying if I said I didn’t guess the mystery of the “who” but you know what? this really didn’t matter, as it was to the “why” I couldn’t fathom out and kept me so engrossed in this book, I must admit when the big reveal came I gave a very satisfied sigh. On My Life is a riveting, character driven novel, which is superbly plotted, this is definitely one book I will be recommending to anyone and everyone.
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books (7 Mar. 2019)
Angela Clarke is an author, playwright, columnist, screenwriter and broadcaster. Her debut crime thriller Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, longlisted for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Page Turner Award 2016. Watch Me is the second instalment in the Social Media Murder Series. Angela’s memoir Confessions of a Fashionista is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. Her play, The Legacy, enjoyed its first run and rave reviews at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. She hosted the current affairs show Outspoken on Radio Verulam for six months in 2014, and has appeared on the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, BBC Three Counties and more. Her journalist contributions include: The Guardian, Independent Magazine, The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, and Writing magazine. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing. She volunteers with Womentoring, and the RSA Meet a Mentor scheme, and others, to help encourage and support marginalised artists into the industry. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Angela lives with her husband and far too many books.
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