Meg lives alone: a little place in the bush outside town. A perfect place to hide. That’s one of the reasons she offers to shelter Nerine, who’s escaping a violent ex. The other is that Meg knows what it’s like to live with an abusive partner.
Nerine is jumpy and her two little girls are frightened. It tells Meg all she needs to know where they’ve come from, and she’s not all that surprised when Nerine asks her to get hold of a gun. But she knows it’s unnecessary. They’re safe now.
Then she starts to wonder about some little things. A disturbed flyscreen. A tune playing on her windchimes. Has Nerine’s ex tracked them down? Has Meg’s husband turned up to torment her some more?
By the time she finds out, it’ll be too late to do anything but run for her life.
Catherine Jinks’ books for adults, young adults and children have been published in a dozen countries and have won numerous awards, including a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the CBCA Book of the Year Award (four times). She lives in the Blue Mountains.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When Meg takes in a fellow survivor of domestic abuse, she thinks the biggest challenge will be keeping Nerine and her daughters a secret from the gossiping townspeople. But when ominous warnings start to surface on a daily basis, Meg doesn’t know which of their violent exes is behind them. As threats escalate against the potent backdrop of the Australian bush, veteran author Catherine Jinks ratchets up the queasy suspense and inevitable conflict. Shelter is a tight-knit domestic thriller that’s as unpredictable as it is frighteningly relatable, reminding us that the harshest disputes often pit our word against someone’s else.
In this assured, unsettling psychological thriller, Australian author Jinks (Shepherd) pushes hard on the tension between reasonable caution and paranoia. Megan trusts the women's network that brings anxious Nerine and her two young daughters to Megan's isolated homestead to hide from Nerine's violent ex, Duncan. Megan does her best to comfort the family, despite her own worries about continued harassment by her own ex, Keith, and the reminders that Nerine's situation brings up about the experience of raising her now-estranged adult daughter, Emily, with an abusive father, especially after Nerine changes her look to resemble Emily's. Megan supports Nerine when she insists her children practice hiding, despite the stress this causes the girls, and when she decides to get a gun because Duncan is smart enough to track her down. But as strange happenings around the house increase, and little things about Nerine's behavior begin to feel off, Megan fears her safe space may not be safe after all. The finale surprises, despite the clues being well set in place. Jinks's sensitive exploration of the theme of trust between women who share similar trauma will resonate with many.