Cozy Cat Press
on June 8, 2011 :
An epic novel, detailing the complexities of wife and family abuse in the early twentieth century—this story follows the lives of a fated—or rather doomed—couple, Emma and Aaron Lerner. We first meet them as children as their innocent friendship blossoms into teenage love. Although Emma has flashes of Aaron’s potential for cruelty early on in their relationship, he manages to conceal his true nature from her and the couple eventually marry and start a family. Their family grows quickly and soon Emma has her hands full, taking care of their children. Aaron, however, is not overjoyed with fatherhood. His penchant for drinking and womanizing eventually leads to marital discord between the two, and Emma leaves him more than once during the course of the book. Even after their divorce and Emma’s remarriage, Aaron’s anger at and hold over his wife and children remains strong.
The intriguing aspect of this book is not so much the plot--which is winding, circuitous and follows the couple througout their entire lives to an expected conclusion. What is most gripping about this book is how it makes the reader recognize that not all that long ago in the United States of America, abused wives had virtually nowhere to go to find shelter and protection for themselves and their children. Yes, Emma returns home to her parents’ house on several occasions, but her life and the lives of her children always remain in jeopardy because her husband knows where she is and there is not much that she can do to protect herself. Today, safe houses and various organizations exist to provide assistance to abused women who must hide from violent spouses. The legal system, although not totally supportive, is also improving its response to abused wives in dire need of help. But despite genuine societal changes in the way we view abused wives, there is still much for such women today that hasn’t changed. For them, what began as love has been transformed into terror. For them, the person they once trusted the most, has become the one most feared. This reality of a not-too-distant past is captured beautifully and starkly in UNHEARD CRIES.
(reviewed the day of purchase)