There is something dark and menacing in Will Dean’s writing. He perfectly describes the tiny world of ‘Jane’, a prisoner in a home she never wanted. Her outlook on the life she has is not the one she dreamed about, nor the one promised. The Fen landscape reflects her own life: bleak, barren, mile after mile of nothing. Her ‘husband’, Lenn keeps a close eye on ‘Jane’. Nothing is private. I admit, there were times during this book that I had to put it down. Some of it makes for uncomfortable reading.
There is repetition here, but Dean is showing the repetition of her life – how she cooks the same meals on the same day, how they drink lime juice with every meal, how Lenn inspects and comments if she hasn’t bleached the kitchen sink properly that day like his mother, the original Jane, used to on a daily basis! How she sits on the floor every night with Lenn in the chair as he plays with her hair as they watch the TV which is locked away in a cupboard during the day. This constant repetition, of things being done by the clock is enough to make anyone scream!
Dean is clever as Lenn is one of the most menacing horrors I have read about for a long time. Besides one time, Lenn has not been physically violent towards ‘Jane’. It is all mental control, the burning of her things when she has been ‘bad’ shows Lenn to be nothing but a cruel, controlling bully. It is this controlling of another human being that was most shocking to me.
An unexpected event brings ‘Jane’ to the point where she knows she has to break free. Events have got out of hand with Lenn taking risks. Escape is her plan, but even ‘Jane’ could never begin to imagine the scale of the subterfuge that has been her life for the past nine years. Towards the end I was literally on the edge of my seat, scared for all those who had been caught up in this despicable drama. Dean delivers shock after shock as this horrendous drama gains momentum towards its desperate end.
Pardon the pun, but this book is a slow burn, but that innocuous, lonely house on that desolate Fenland with ‘Jane’ inside with her invisible chains will stay with you for a long time after. This tale will twist every emotion inside you. Breath-taking.