Shelter (Catherine Jinks, Text)
Meg has taken in three strangers—Nerine and her two small daughters—in a bid to hide them from Nerine’s abusive ex-husband. The house is secluded, safe, but Nerine can’t shake the idea that she’s been tracked, that it’s only a matter of time before her past catches up with her. Though Meg tries to convince Nerine that everything’s fine, the mounting dread and unexplained events start to build up—and soon Meg is wondering whether they are actually in danger. Catherine Jinks’s latest work is a tense thriller that explores gaslighting, the different kinds of abuse people inflict upon one another and the way this abuse can ripple through generations. The reader experiences paranoia and uncertainty along with Meg, who is grappling with her own difficult history and is driven to start questioning the motives and honesty of everyone around her. The plot takes twists and turns, some that are very easy to see coming but that nonetheless hold the audience’s attention tightly. While Shelter is an engrossing read that calls to be finished in one sitting, it also serves as a grim reminder of the different forms that abuse can take, and the many ways the justice system fails women. The tension and mystery will appeal to fans of Christian White’s The Wife and the Widow and Felicity McLean’s The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone.
Elizabeth Flux is a freelance writer and editor.