8 Jul 2020


Today I'm delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Imprisoned By Love by C.S Brahms. Organised by Faye at Authoright, please feel free to stop by at the other participating blogs (at least one of which, Monday's host, features not only a review but an extract from the book  which might be of particular interest to you), links to which can be found further down.  

ISBN 1913340827
Deputy head teacher, Sophie Boswell, is back from Croatia and set to tackle the new academic year at her independent school in London. As the term unfolds, Sophie’s husband Michael’s increasingly erratic behaviour begins to take its toll on her. Everything is in a state of flux. Sophie’s world is no longer safe. How will she cope with Michael’s confusion and violence at home while maintaining authority and dignity at work?

Imprisoned by Love is a compelling story about living with dementia. The author's debut novel provides an arresting insight into the uncomfortable realities of balancing love and duty. With her many years in the teaching profession, C.S. Brahams is all too aware of the problems teachers face keeping up appearances in the classroom whilst compartmentalising their personal struggles. In the past, the author was deeply affected by a significant trauma which left her emotionally labile; it was this strain of maintaining authority on the surface whilst drowning beneath it that made her want to explore someone's mental health whilst dealing with a personal crisis at home.
- Summary

It is extraordinary how quickly a summer holiday can pass without incident or argument.
- First Sentence, Chapter 1 {The End of the Long Hot Summer}

I watch him fill up the kettle; I think, this is alright. He can do this. The procedure must be embedded in his long-term memory. But he has forgotten where we keep the mugs - even though they have always been in the same cupboard above the dishwasher - he takes out a tumbler instead. The kettle is boiled and the water is poured into the glass; I wonder if it will crack. He has forgotten about the teabag. I take a moment to decide whether to intervene. 
- Memorable Moment, Page 148/9

MY THOUGHTS ... A psychological thriller at the heart of which is the story of a family who are learning to live after the father, Michael, not quite fifty, is given the diagnosis of early onset frontal lobe dementia.

Imprisoned By Love is the poignant, compelling and, yes, at times disturbing story of living with a dementia. Sophie and Michael, their young adult twins and Sophie's parents characters I instantly became attuned to. 

That Sophie is both strong and yet vulnerable (both in her private and professional lives), selfless and yet not without her flaws makes her the kind of character I love. That she at times questions her love for her husband, that she finds herself constantly reminding herself that this isn't her husband saying/doing these things but the dementia something I found truly heartbreaking. 

The decisions she finds herself having to make decisions that no one wants to find themselves having to make; that one of them, the introduction of 'the interloper' into the family home, could see the man she loves in danger of being abused (hence the 'thriller' label) terrifying.

Harrowing at times (I found one particular incident especially so, that Sophie then went on to suffer a very similar indignity/assault at the hands of a fellow member of staff at the school where she works something that I personally felt an unnecessary addition to the story but then that is me) but what I felt was a great debate novel that hi-lighted many of the issues of living with dementia;  that the author did so both realistically and yet sensitively something to be commended. 

SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ... An emotional read with good, strong characters in a story that portrays the impact a diagnosis of dementia can have on a family; that it features something of a thriller is a bonus.

Title: Imprisoned By Love
Author: C.S. Brahams
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Page Count: 282
Links: GoodReads ~ Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ... Catherine Brahms read English, Russian studies and Linguistics at Durham University where she spent much of her time acting, producing or directing plays. She qualified as a teacher of English (secondary) a year later and spent over twenty years in the teaching profession. At the height of her profession, Catherine was the Vice Principle of a Sixth Form college in Kensignton and a head of Sixth Form in central London. She has also been a manager at both English Heritage and Bonhams Auctioneers, both of which gave her a wonderful insight into a world outside of teaching. Catherine has been a School Inspector for some years now and is also a Governor at a girl's school in London. She is married to Lawrence with whom she has a daughter called Alice. Find Catherine on Twitter.

Monday 6th July: Jera's Jamboree
Tuesday 7th July: Library Of Books and Tea
Wednesday 8th July : Pen and Paper
Thursdsy 9th July: Jazzy Book Reviews 
Friday 10th July: Donna's Book Blog
Saturday 11th July: JeanzBookReadnReview
Sunday 12th July: A Daydreamer's Thoughts

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Suko said...

Felicity, I'm glad you enjoyed this thriller! It sounds quite good.

nightwingsraven said...

This sounds like a truly poignant,
compelling as well as disturbing
book which I would also appreciate.
I will add it to my list.
And as always thank you for your
excellent review.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I cannot imagine how difficult it would be living with someone who has dementia! Thanks for sharing this one. I'm glad it was a good read for the most part. :)


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Felicity,

What a lovely post and review of what must have been at times, a very emotionally disturbing read.

I have had experience of a couple of early symptom dementia cases amongst the more elderly of the ladies I volunteered with at the hospice charity shop. Also my own FIL sadly passed away with dementia a couple of years ago now, but he was in his 90s. However I can't even begin to imagine the trauma and emotional turmoil of living with someone with early onset dementia,

I think that the dilemma Catherine highlights amongst teachers, can easily be translated to just about all of us, in that we all tend to keep up appearances to outsiders, or sometimes even close friends and family, whilst really inside we are slowly falling apart and dying under the weight of the emotional burdens we have to deal with behind closed doors.

Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure that this is one for me right now, although perhaps it is something that I ought to read right now? Yet another dilemma!

Take Care :)


Kelly said...

I'm glad this one worked well for you. Although your review is excellent and points out many good things, I just don't think I want to read about this topic right now.

It's a gorgeous cover!

Karen said...

This sounds very intense. My father had dementia so just that one element is a lot but adding the thriller aspect would make it even more so.

Karen @ For What It's Worth

Sophia Rose said...

I think it would be so tough seeing someone so young with dementia. It is hard enough when they are seniors. I would definitely like to read this one. Thanks for the introduction.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

This sounds interesting, just what the family is dealing with intrigues me, but to then have thriller elements..impressive.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a domestic thriller. I worked with a man whose wife was diagnosed with early onset dementia. It was awful. But I've never read a book that deals with it head on or that uses a teacher as a central character. It sounds like my kind of book! I will add it to my summer reading list and discuss it with my friends.

Genevieve said...

I love thrillers, especially ones with real characters like Sophie in Imprisoned by Love. I'm a teacher (but in a primary school) and think that there aren't enough books about real teachers in difficult situations.
Sounds like the ideal summer read or book club read!