The Refuge by Jo Fenton

I have just finished the new novel by Jo Fenton, The Refuge, published by Crooked Cat Books. The novel is a sequel to her debut novel, The Brotherhood which is also reviewed on this site at .

The Refuge commences at the point where the Abbey has passed from the Brotherhood to Mark and Mel. The couple have also just welcomed their baby, Emma. They are determined that something good will come from the building and establish a refuge for those still living there as well as for abused women. Predictably, things do not go as smoothly as they had hoped.

The book explores the pressures the arrival of a new baby has on the lives of the parents. Jess, Mel’s sister, comes back into their lives and, for me, it is here that the most compelling scenes of The Refuge take place. The emotions that are explored within Jess, Mel, Mark and other characters are sensitively and realistically drawn. The exploration of the minds of the characters raises this novel from good to truly gripping.

I highly recommend The Refuge and hope the author will write further novels based around these fascinating characters.

Val Penny


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