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Puppet Child
by Talia Carner

Category: Fiction / General
259 pages; ISBN: 1930252986

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen


Rachel Belmore thinks she has it all. She has a good job in the magazine business, a loving (and rich) husband, Wes, and Ellie, a beautiful baby daughter. Everything changes the moment that she discovers that Wes is a sexual predator, with Ellie as his target.

Thus begins a harrowing journey for Rachel through the family justice system. Wes is able to play the court, and public opinion, like a violin, and have Rachel portrayed as some sort of hysterical witch. The physical and emotional changes to Ellie after her court-mandated, and unsupervised, visits with Wes are quite noticeable. But everyone involved with the case, including a seemingly endless number of social workers, seem to have concluded that Wes is some kind of saint and that Rachel has lost her mind.

The constant court appearances and meetings with her lawyer also take their toll at work. Even though Rachel works for a major women's magazine, her boss is not sympathetic. She is even fired, until the magazine is reminded that the attendant bad publicity for the magazine would be terrible public relations.

Just before the hearing at which Wes is to get sole custody of Ellie, Rachel's parents, who are retired and living in an RV, take Ellie and run. The less they tell Rachel, the less she has to tell the court. When Ellie can't be provided for another unsupervised visit with her father, Rachel is sent to prison. If things were bad before, now they have gotten worse. But she does find some solidarity with her fellow inmates. It all comes down to the question: How far is a mother willing to go for her child?

This is not pleasant reading. For anyone involved in the family justice system, like judges, lawyers and social workers, it is must reading. For everyone else, this is a gripping and plausible page-turner that is highly recommended. Remember, the next time a woman makes an accusation of child sexual abuse, she may just be telling the truth.



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