For seven weeks the internet was deluged with news of a famous defamation trial which started after accusations of domestic abuse. Regardless of the verdict, it is clear that domestic abuse can be a difficult crime to prove or unprove. Who is to be believed, the accused or accuser?
It may seem baffling that many abused partners choose to remain quiet or wait years before revealing their stories. Many even stay with the abuser. The Favor, a debut by Nora Murphy, delves into the deep pit of domestic abuse. It is a suspense novel of two abused women, murder, and investigation.
Leah knows what it is like to have a controlling spouse. She is monitored, trapped, and afraid. While turning to alcohol to dull the pain and purchasing her daily bottle of vodka, she sees a woman who triggers a primal reaction within her. Leah knows, in her soul, that this woman is like her. The woman from the liquor store is McKenna.
To the average outsider Leah and McKenna would seem to have the perfect lives. After establishing themselves in professional careers, they married rich husbands and left their jobs to settle into pampered domestic bliss. Friends and family can sense that something is not right, but have no proof. Leah and McKenna never tell anyone what is actually happening. Until they run into each other, no one knows. Now that someone does, things change.
The power of this novel is it’s ability to reveal how a partner can feel trapped and unable to change an abusive relationship. It enables the reader to understand that there are ways to immobilize someone without physically binding them.
Murphy ends the novel with an authors note, some shocking statistics and a list of resources for those in need of help. Referencing her experience with family law and legal studies she states that “domestic abuse is not just common, but endemic.”
Recommended for fans of The Wife Between Us or The Last Mrs. Parrish. This reviewer listened to the audiobook at Libro.fm.