Just finished. My thoughts on this memoir have been percolating for days now. At first, it was hard to keep reading. Ms. Samuel did not lead an easy life. Meaning, in a perfect world, someone would have intervened and saved her. There was no saving going on in her journey, other than the saving she did. The old saying, "change anything about your life and you won't end up where you are today," has a whole new meaning to me now. Rather, I'm not sure the axiom is true!
I'm happy. Not MGM musical happy, but happy in my life. Sure, I have struggles, fears, thwarted ambitions, but I wouldn't change one thing if it meant changing how my life turned out. The same can't be said for Ms. Samuel. Change any number of things about her life, and she would still have been controlled by the labyrinth of Indian tradition. The die seemed cast at her birth. Fascinating story, but in ways that made me feel helpless, because it's my nature to fix sadness, because sadness is a horrible place to be. (Probably why I write romance.)
When I put the book down for the last time, it occurred to me Ms. Samuel wasn't alone in her experience. Sure, her particular circumstances were her own, but those same restraints, those same vulnerabilities her culture forced on her, could have been the story of most women, distilled to its essence. Born a woman, your world is immediately carved a little smaller depending on where you're born. But smaller, nonetheless.
"A Fractured Life," is a deep dive memoir into a different world (India) through the eyes of a woman who survived, and became stronger than those who relentlessly told her she was weak. It could have ended differently. It could have been a tragedy, but Ms. Samuel made this story uplifting and life-affirming.
I wouldn't be honest, however, if I didn't admit that this book broke my heart, while it impressed the hell out of me. Written as if we were chatting over a cup of coffee, it was accessible, (and after the first hard chapter, where I spent the whole time grimacing, needing to intervene in a family situation that happened fifty years ago) it was enthralling.
Great job. Five stars. A must read.
Here is the poem I use in #CatchAKiller. (lol I can see your eye roll from here.) A weaponized poem is nothing to scoff at. Read it, and you'll see how a poem come to life can scare the pants off you.
57. Broken Love
By William Blake (1757–1827)
MY Spectre around me night and day
Like a wild beast guards my way;
My Emanation far within
Weeps incessantly for my sin.
‘A fathomless and boundless deep, 5
There we wander, there we weep;
On the hungry craving wind
My Spectre follows thee behind.
‘He scents thy footsteps in the snow
Wheresoever thou dost go, 10
Thro’ the wintry hail and rain.
When wilt thou return again?
’Dost thou not in pride and scorn
Fill with tempests all my morn,
And with jealousies and fears 15
Fill my pleasant nights with tears?
‘Seven of my sweet loves thy knife
Has bereavèd of their life.
Their marble tombs I built with tears,
And with cold and shuddering fears. 20
‘Seven more loves weep night and day
Round the tombs where my loves lay,
And seven more loves attend each night
Around my couch with torches bright.
‘And seven more loves in my bed 25
Crown with wine my mournful head,
Pitying and forgiving all
Thy transgressions great and small.
‘When wilt thou return and view
My loves, and them to life renew? 30
When wilt thou return and live?
When wilt thou pity as I forgive?’
‘O’er my sins thou sit and moan:
Hast thou no sins of thy own?
O’er my sins thou sit and weep, 35
And lull thy own sins fast asleep.
‘What transgressions I commit
Are for thy transgressions fit.
They thy harlots, thou their slave;
And my bed becomes their grave. 40
‘Never, never, I return:
Still for victory I burn.
Living, thee alone I’ll have;
And when dead I’ll be thy grave.
‘Thro’ the Heaven and Earth and Hell 45
Thou shalt never, quell:
I will fly and thou pursue:
Night and morn the flight renew.’
‘Poor, pale, pitiable form
That I follow in a storm; 50
Iron tears and groans of lead
Bind around my aching head.
‘Till I turn from Female love
And root up the Infernal Grove,
I shall never worthy be 55
To step into Eternity.
‘And, to end thy cruel mocks,
Annihilate thee on the rocks,
And another form create
To be subservient to my fate. 60
‘Let us agree to give up love,
And root up the Infernal Grove;
Then shall we return and see
The worlds of happy Eternity.
‘And throughout all Eternity 65
I forgive you, you forgive me.
As our dear Redeemer said:
“This the Wine, and this the Bread.”’
*I found this copy of Blake's poem at this website.
When Hannah Cambridge's life makes her feel like a punching bag, she punches back. It's not easy. It's sometimes overwhelming, and sometimes...she doesn't handle it well. BUT, she adapts, moves forward. She fails fast. She has to if she wants to survive, and with an infant to care for, a job where lives are on the line, survival seems more of a baseline than a goal. Until it isn't. A serial killer is on the loose, and there's a target on her back. Hannah needs her team's help now to track down the person who uses POETRY as a vehicle to kill. Is it poetic justice that the FBI Special Agent the bureau sends her way is her ex-lover? Her daughter's father? The man she'd been mourning for a year because he'd DIED?
Come join the fun and order "Catch a Killer," my new release from #KensingtonBooks #LyricalLiaison line.
Repped by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.