The Darkest Place
by Helen Walters

"What she wouldn’t give to have a real moment again with someone who thought she was the most beautiful person in the world and with a kiss could make the earth stop turning!"

Hannah and Sean are high school sweethearts who marry shortly after graduation. Putting her dreams aside, Hannah quickly settles into the life of a housewife and is content until Sean’s behavior becomes controlling, aggressive, and then abusive. Hannah realizes that she is trapped in a dangerous situation, but she continues to hope for a change and the possibility of a healthy marriage. Longing for something to occupy her time and offer some social interaction, she musters the courage to enter a small café displaying a Help Wanted sign. She knows that she must keep her employment hidden from her husband, but she quickly uncovers that she is not the only one keeping secrets. Isolated from family and friends, Hannah meekly accepts her fate. When she least expects it, she meets a handsome stranger and discovers the chance for a future she never dared to consider.

Written from two separate perspectives, the story unfolds swiftly as the reader is presented with both an interior and exterior view of Hannah’s struggles. Walters projects a sense of urgency with the rapid pace of the novel, conveying the unpredictability of domestic violence situations. While the subject matter is intense, the author conveys a sense of optimism as Hannah’s confidence increases, and she begins to believe herself deserving of love. A cast of empathetic characters provides a positive atmosphere that contrasts with the dark and painful environment in which Hannah resides. A cautionary tale of abuse, the novel balances a life-threatening scenario with a flourishing romance that convinces the reader of the transformative abilities of love. As the story comes to a conclusion, Walters layers a final twist that solidifies the fate of the characters and creates an explosive ending to this emotional story.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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