Scars. We all carry them. Some are mere scratches. Others run deeper.
At a school rife with bullying, Will and his best friend Luke are involved in a horrific incident that results in Luke leaving.
Twenty-five years later their paths cross again and memories of Will’s painful childhood come flooding back to haunt him. His wife, Harmony, who is struggling after a miscarriage that has hit her hard, wishes Will would open up about his experiences. But while Will withdraws further, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic stranger from her husband s past, and soon all three are caught in a tangled web of guilt, desire, betrayal and revenge.
*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
‘The Judas Scar’ is the second novel by Ms Jennings, but it’s the first book by her I had the opportunity to check out. I really try hard to have a blank slate state of mind when I start reading a book, as well as not have any expectations, especially if I haven’t read anything by that author. However, I’ve been hearing so so many great comments about ‘The Judas Scar’ I simply couldn’t wait to find out what’s the reason for the buzz. And yes, I had high expectations, but as high as they were I didn’t expect to love this book so so much. So, as you see, the buzz is sometimes right and in the case of ‘The Judas Scar’ I totally approve of it.
The story follows Will and Harmony, who’re married but experience slight troubles in their marriage ever since they lost their baby. They have always been a couple people look up to, solid marriage, lots of love for each other, even not having a baby was something they agreed on years back. However, after realizing she’s pregnant, Harmony couldn’t be happier while Will is having second thoughts but doesn’t feel strong enough to confront his wife about how this unborn child is making him feel. But after losing the baby, Harmony is feeling down though she’s still trying to be the rock Will relies on. But she isn’t the strong Harmony any more, while Will experiences some other emotions besides grief. But, their lives become even more complicated when Luke, Will’s friend from boarding school shows up, bringing up some memories and secrets Will has been trying hard to bury.
Secrets, lies, love, lust, this book has it all. There are so many aspects Ms Jennings covered in this book. Loyalty and trust between partners and friends, the hurt and anger of feeling betrayed, the sadness of living a life without feeling the love of parents. The story is too complex and would take me a lot of time to analyze every aspect of it. It’s also a thought provoking novel, one that will make you think about your own life, marriage, friendships. The novel took off to a slow start and I must say I wasn’t impressed with Harmony at the beginning. She seemed too perfect as a character and very unrealistic. However, once Luke was introduced to the scene, the real action began and things started developing in a direction I didn’t expect them to go. I saw the characters (Will, Luke and Harmony) transform in front of my eyes, showing they are not what I thought they were at the beginning. Sometimes life situations, especially what we’ve been through in our childhood define us and for some those very childhood memories are a burden they carry for all their lives. We all have scars, every person we’ve met has had an impact on us. Each of us has had a Judas in their lives, those that haven’t, you should consider yourself lucky. But it’s not the scars that make us who we are, but the ways we try to heal them and move on. Either we forgive, or we turn into bitter, full of anger people. Same happens to the characters in this book. The book explores so many serious topics, one of them being bullying, and the way sometimes people close their eyes in front of it. It’s getting epidemic proportions in some countries and it’s taking its toll every day with hundreds and hundreds children every day damaging them (physically or mentally). Maybe bullying was always a problem each society through history had to face, but seems lately it’s taking bigger proportions and loads of different forms. It’s a problem we all need to work on and try our hardest to stop it. Nothing is more fragile than a child, and as grown ups we need to work on persevering the innocence and well being of the youngest.
As you see, there are a LOT of topics these book covers and a lot of things it will make you think about. Even days after finishing it, I can’t take this book off my mind. Fantastic psychological thriller revealing the darkest sides of a human psyche. I can only imagine how hard it was for Ms Jennings to write such a book, especially since she’s passionate about the subjects as she reveals at the end of the book. Must have been cathartic even, and I applaud to her for delivering this book in such a realistic way, for creating such diverse and memorable characters and for keeping me guessing till the very last page. I honestly feared the slow pace and the number of characters involved in the story (too little for my liking) would stop me from thoroughly enjoying this book. However, this is truly a gripping, atmospheric read that will get so many emotions out of you. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, especially fans of family drama/mystery/psychological thrillers. Prepare yourself for one hell of a journey!
My rating: 9/10