Into the Darkest Corner
Harper, $25.99, 416 pages
When domestic abuse rears its ugly head, it knows no boundaries. No one is immune.
British author Elizabeth Haynes delivers a psychological thriller that chronicles an abusive relationship, from its seemingly harmless beginning to a searing conclusion. Haynes shows the excitement of a new affair, the stunning realization that this handsome, charming new love is a vicious, violent man, and the desperation that there may be no escaping him. "Into the Darkest Corner" goes another step by showing the after-effects.
In 2003, Catherine Bailey is young, happy woman who parties nearly every night in Lancaster, England. Yes, she is sexually active.
She and her group of friends count on each other. Then Catherine falls hard for the charming Lee Brightman. But the intense relationship soon gives way to textbook abuse. Lee isolates her from her friends and controls her every moment as he grows more violent.
Four years later, Lee is in prison and Catherine is Cathy, living in London. But the residue of Lee's violence remains. Cathy has become an obsessive-compulsive, frightened about everything, rechecking her apartment's locks dozens of times.
If she can get to work, she is almost normal, but some days her fears confine her. She no longer is in contact with old friends.
Hope seems to come in the form of Stuart Richardson, a charming new tenant who also is a psychologist. Recognizing her symptoms, Stuart tries to help her, as the two begin to date.
Then Lee leaves prison.
Haynes smoothly alternates action between 2003 and 2007, showing two different Catherines and how she became a panicky shadow of herself.
"Into the Darkest Corner" also shows the aloneness of a victim of domestic violence. At first, Catherine is too ashamed to admit Lee's physical and verbal violence. But when she does confide in friends, they take Lee's side, refusing to believe this charming, good-looking man has anything but Catherine's best intentions in mind. "Into the Darkest Corner" is a cautionary tale of modern relationships.