Family Heartbreak – Jenny Phillips
‘Phillips spins a briskly paced, keenly observed story in which a broken, abusive marriage impacts a child’s life in devastating ways. Jenny Phillip’s narrative of young Jessie’s life over the course of nine years in Family Heartbreaks is both tender and heart-breaking.’
Kat, Goodreads review, Aug 02,2019.
Jessie’s mother, Marie, is in hospital at the hands of her abusive husband, Bert, after a disagreement turned sour, and now, seven years old and removed from the custody of her parents, Jessie continues to experience a kind of life no child should ever have to.
It is Marie who wins the battle for Jessie’s custody, and amongst her joy brings a bittersweet aftertaste for Jessie who is set to leave her new-found friend, Rose, and the home she has always known.
Marie marries again, this time to a man named Chris, who together migrate from Zimbabwe to Australia with Jessie. Another life, another side of the country, difficulties are inevitable but still are hard to endure for the three of them.
The after-effects of Jessie’s tumultuous and ever-changing childhood seep into teenage-hood when Jessie is caught shoplifting, escalating dramatically to a suicide attempt by overdosing on tablets. With nowhere to turn, she becomes a damaged soul with no direction, no purpose, lost in the experiences she has been forced to face.
If you are lost, how do you find yourself again?
Who do you turn to for trust and support if the familial people who you expect to fill that role continue to bring heartbreak?
Time passes as it always does, and at high school, Jessie befriends somebody, a boy, Bryce. Initially frustrated by his presence, an annoyance she dismissed, their association becomes a friendship, and later develops into something that could change her life.
‘I couldn’t put the book down and smiled and cried but with an increasing sense of dread as the story unfolded. Knowing this is a true story broke my heart! What a fabulous survivor and extraordinary human our heroine is!’
Amazon Review, August 26, 2019. 5 Stars.
Phillip’s characters are multidimensional, a gem in literary fiction. Vulnerable, courageous, and in beautifully depicting the trauma and self-doubt of a child in a broken family, the heartbreak of witnessing Jessie watch her parent’s marriage unfold into violent separation, you will find yourself rooting for her emotional survival. Phillip’s boundless exploration of faithful friendships in the midst of broken family relationships, is an ode to her deeply individualistic and potent writing, expertly expressing a matter-of-fact narrative in gripping, thought-provoking and emotionally-puling prose.
Hope amongst fear is a constant theme with Jessie, who is uniquely brave compared to her mother’s uncontrollable submission to men’s charms despite knowing better.
This is one to remind you of young strength and perseverance, the beauty of friendships in unexpected places, and the reality of family, that isn’t always as pretty on the cover as it is within its pages.
Available on Amazon, Kindle edition £3.50, and Paperback £5.46.
Author Jenny Phillips is currently residing in Australia where she works full-time in a small family-run business. Cultured and well-travelled, Jenny has lived in three continents: Africa, Europe and now Australia.
Inspiration for her writing goes back into her late teens at a time where, 3/4 of her way through completing a book of her own, she received a rejection letter from a publisher that lead her to destroy the book and give up on it. Like many of us with unfinished projects, the will always remained within her, and with ‘Family Heartbreak’, she finally found the way with this, her debut novel.
Find her social media accounts here for more information: