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**BLOG TOUR** What Nobody Knew by Amelia Hendrey

Abandoned by her mother at the age of three and left with her violent father and stepmother, Amelia had what can only be described as a horrific start in life. What Nobody Knew is the author’s own heartbreaking story, from her incredibly traumatic beginnings to her brave survival and, hopefully, happier life.

First of all, I need to start by saying that due to its content, this book may not be for everyone. Dealing with subjects such as child and domestic abuse, rape and abandonment, What Nobody Knew is a harrowing and, at times, difficult read. It’s not, however, sensationalised in any way, and is an honest account of the author’s upbringing.

Throughout the book, I had overwhelming feelings of anger directed towards the adults in Amelia’s life. She truly had no one to turn to and was let down constantly by those who had the power to do something about what she was enduring. Her numerous injuries, some of them requiring hospital visits, should, surely, have had the alarm bells ringing and yet this poor child continued to stay in the family home with those who were responsible.

What I found most fascinating about this book was the inclusion of actual documents from when concerns had been raised. This helped to highlight how little had been done for this child, the authorities seemingly intent on placing the blame firmly with the child rather than investigating the true cause of her behaviour and injuries. The more I read, the more frustrated and angry I became – how could they let this happen?

Being taken away from the family home can be traumatic for any child, but in her case, this provided one of the few high points for Amelia. Boarding school gave her the opportunity to live life as a ‘normal’ child and it was heartwarming to see her developing a close friendship with one of the other girls, doing things that girls her age would do. Of course, this couldn’t last, and it was devastating to think that she was send back to her home, and her abusers, each school holiday.

You would be forgiven for thinking that these events happened a number of years ago, but it is shocking to see how recently this all occurred. Neglect like this should never be allowed to happen again and I applaud the author for having the courage to tell her story.

With thanks to Amelia Hendrey and to Sarah Hardy from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** Trafficked Girl by Zoe Patterson

Today, I am so pleased to be one of the blogs featuring on the tour for Trafficked Girl by Zoe Patterson. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

When she was taken into care at the age of 13, Zoe hoped that her life was about to take a turn for the better. Abused at home from a very young age, Denver House was a fresh start, away from the physical and emotional violence she had experienced. Little did Zoe know that her life was about to go from bad to worse as she found herself being bullied by older girls who forced her into going to ‘parties’ which were actually further ways of abusing her. Soon, Zoe found herself being trafficked around the country with no one in authority willing to help put a stop to it. Trafficked Girl is the story of a girl who truly experienced rock bottom yet managed to fight back.

It is hard to read a book like this without asking the question, ‘How was this allowed to happen?’ The quote at the start of the book is actually a dictionary definition of the word ‘care’ and this is precisely what Zoe never managed to experience. From being physically and mentally abused by her mother and sexually abused by the older men she was forced to spend time with, Zoe really had no chance in life whatsoever. Perhaps what really sickened me the most, however, was the attitude of those who were tasked with her protection. How could the police turn a blind eye to what was going on? How could the staff of Denver House be so blasé about what their charges were doing? How could social services not put a stop to what was, seemingly, happening in several authorities at the time? The list of questions could go on.

In recent years, there have been countless stories that have emerged about the failings in the care system and while these are horrific to read, hearing the words of one of the children actually involved gives you a whole new understanding. My heart went out to Zoe as she moved from place to place, each time hoping that this would be where she would finally belong. It was also quite poignant to see how, despite her mother’s abuse, she still tried to keep contact with her dysfunctional family only to find herself still the subject of ridicule.

Trafficked Girl shows how all it takes for someone to turn their life around is the trust and belief of another person, this person being Pam, who took Zoe under her wing and gave her the strength to fight back and take on the system that had failed her repeatedly. It was thanks to Pam that Zoe is now able to take steps towards moving on in her life and, although the memories of her past will probably remain with her for ever, she is now in a position to achieve the things she always wanted but was never able to.

It has been a long time since a book has made me so angry and I applaud Zoe Patterson for having the courage to tell her story. Trafficked Girl is a highly emotive read on a subject that should never be brushed under the carpet. These children, now adults, deserve their justice.

With thanks to Rosie Margesson and Harper Collins for my ARC.

Take a look at the rest of the blog tour:

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Girl A: My Story

51Ry-oprklLAfter watching the harrowing three-part BBC Drama, Three Girls, earlier this year, I felt compelled to read the book detailing the case, written by the girl who became known as ‘Girl A’. This is a true story of how a group of young girls were groomed by a gang of Asian men and systematically abused over a period of years. ‘Girl A’ became the key witness, helping to convict these men of their heinous crimes.

First of all, I must point out that this is not an easy read, but nor should it be. It is very graphic in parts but this is essential in order to understand what this fifteen-year-old girl was subjected to on a daily basis. It is, however, well-written and paints a clear picture of the girl we get to know as ‘Hannah’ (not her real name), and how scared and despair-filled she was as she desperately tried to escape the clutches of this notorious child sex ring.

It soon becomes apparent that the BBC series, as disturbing as it was, actually missed out an awful lot of the story. If that was distressing, then Girl A takes it to another level as we find out about the fear she had for ‘Emma’, another young girl who acted as a go-between, providing the girls for the older men. It is easy to wonder why ‘Hannah’ stayed when she had the opportunity to reveal the truth so many times, but her fear of ‘Emma’ and the Asian men, coupled with the reluctance of the authorities to act meant that she felt she had no choice.

What does come through the book is the intelligence and bravery shown by ‘Hannah’ in order to bring the culprits to justice. She speaks often of the qualifications she managed to achieve despite the traumatic times she was experiencing – I really hope that’s she has been able to put these to good use and is now living a happy life with her daughter.

 

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