Soldier Boy by Cassandra Parkin

Cassandra Parkin gives added poignancy to Liam’s desperate attempts to hold onto any semblance of normality as she peels back the mental scars of a soldier whose fight to keep his family unit intact appears to have already been lost to the battle fields of Afghanistan.

Emma’s solitary battle to overcome the invisible enemy trapped in the recesses of her husband’s traumatised mind seem doomed to failure as the relentless cycle of nightmares, flashbacks and denials continues unabated. Yet by focussing all her energies into trying to halt this heartbreaking implosion they both fail to recognise their daughter Alannah’s seismic personal transformation…… 

As the reader you feel as if you are being lead down a narrative cul-de-sac where the only escape will be to allow your moral compass to point to the real victim – mother, father or daughter? But the case for a vulnerable daughter having to question the very essence of who she is meant to be is difficult to ignore. The author highlights a number of socio-political issues, which frequently divide opinion, but describes these with a sensitivity clearly borne out of an understanding of what it is to be different. 

The disjointed plot time-lines appear to mirror the confused mental states of the protagonists as their perspectives on past events are often contradictory and masked with regrets as the author manages to create a mental puzzle which moves inexorably towards finding the missing piece.

The ending is heartfelt and in many ways shocking and leaves us hoping that love will not succumb to tragedy.

Soldier Boy – Cassandra Parkin (Published by Legend Press. Price £8.99). Get it at Amazon.

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