A Year Of Orenda – A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone

It’s the final day of Michael J Malone week and Mandie has her review of A Song of Isolation, his latest novel. This is such a timely novel, the theme one that many people will recognise and handled in the author’s usual careful and beautifully written style. I reviewed it earlier this year as part of the tour and you can find my thoughts here. Read on to find out more about the book and see what Mandie thought.

Source: Amazon

About the Book

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Not going to lie, I have struggled with this review as I just didn’t know what to say and do it justice. It nearly became the shortest one in history that basically said, read it, loved it, now go buy it. So sorry in advance to Michael, Orenda Books and anyone reading this if it seems like I am waffling.

After a harrowing incident Amelie Hart had turned her back on fame and settled down with Dave Robbins in the hope of a quiet life. All that got blown apart when Dave was arrested for abusing their neighbours daughter. As the case goes to trial Amelie finds herself once again thrust into the limelight as she supports her partner, believing wholeheartedly in his innocence. What follows is the story of how the lives of the three main characters, Amelie, Dave and Damaris are affected, and how each one is subjected to their own kind of “isolation”.

From the very first chapter you are drawn to the character of Amalie and you can understand her anxieties that are brought back into focus with all the attention that comes from the court case. She knows that Dave would never do the things he is accused of and is hopeful that the judicial system will see that too. As her fame seems to be causing more attention she is faced with the need to escape the press and try to find the normal that she so craves, something that proves is not going to be as simple as she hopes.

You would think there would be little sympathy for Dave, after all he is accused of abusing a child, yet as he despairs of ever being free, and starts to shut himself off from those that love him, you can’t help but think that there is more to the accusations against him that are evident at first. There is something about his insistence of his innocence that rings true.

As for Damaris, she is haunted by the whole thing. At times she is not sure what is real and what is just in her dreams, but this could just be her mind’s way of coping with what happened. There is also something about her mother’s behaviour that sets off a few alarm bells, but it is the coping mechanism she adopts to deal with it all that will have you angry at what she has gone through due to the action of others.

This book will have you questioning if there really can be truth in the saying “innocent until proved guilty”, especially when the crime is against a child. It will also make you look at how an accusation affects not just the accused and the victim, but those closest to them, and how they all have to try to rebuild their lives and move on. Michael J Malone has once again delivered a story with a challenging theme and believable characters that will leave you emotionally drained. I’m looking forward to what will come next.

About the Author

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

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