WAVE TO PAPA by Erin Lee
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Contemporary fiction | Women’s fiction (dealing with child abuse, social services, foster care and child court systems)
– SYNOPSIS –
Dawn Winchester is sure Dan didn’t mean to hurt their toddler son Noah…again.
With the media swarming her on the courthouse steps, her husband in jail, her teenage daughter already in foster care, and a determined case worker and vigilant court appointed guardian fighting to “protect Noah,” Dawn doesn’t know where to turn. Nobody cared last time Noah had an accident while in his father’s care…so why is everyone now set on destroying her family?
Dawn believes in loyalty. What kind of wife would she be if she didn’t stand by her husband?
But through the endless cycle of hearings, counseling sessions, and visitations, Dawn begins to fear she’s been fooling herself. What if she’d been wrong and put Noah in danger? What if this was all her fault? During his mandatory anger management therapy, even Dan starts to wonder if he might not be the man he thought he was.
Dawn has already lost one child—possibly for good—and can’t bear the thought of losing Noah too. But with the pieces of her life shattered all around her, can she put it all back together? Or should she salvage what she can and build a different life, broken heart and all?
The bonds of marriage and parenthood are strong.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be broken…
– PURCHASE –
– EXCERPT –
She stands at the top of the courthouse steps, clutching her toddler son to her ribs. His chubby fists form tight balls. He grabs her rope necklace, the one her husband bought her for their first anniversary four years ago. From it hangs a modest silver cross. She inhales and begins her descent, trying not to make eye contact with the reporters coming toward them. They hold cameras, microphones, pens, notebooks, and determined expressions. They remind her of hunters on the opening day of deer season. She tells herself they are interested in someone else. She’s used to lying to herself. But there’s no use. She stops, right there, on the Northampton Superior Courthouse steps. Her words leave her lips before she even has a chance to think about them; assemble them, scan them for consequence.
“He’s okay. We’re okay,” she says, anticipating their questions but not their assumptions or prior knowledge of the history here. “It’s just a little scrape. He just misses his papa!”
A mustached man with a giant camera comes closer, taking the steps two at a time. Behind him is a skinny woman with big glasses. She carries a long stick with fuzz on the end that Dawn can only assume is a microphone. It looks like the oversized dusters her grandmother used to make her clean with as a child. She holds baby Noah closer, pulling the necklace from his grip. He doesn’t fight, and instead begins to drool. She looks to her left. She looks to her right. The only way out is down. But she’s frozen.
“Why was your husband given a second chance?” A petite, chubby blonde who has caught up to the skinny one is the first to ask what everyone wants to know. “Do you believe you have battered wives syndrome? Has he ever hit you too? Or does he save that for kids?”
Dawn winces. The questions continue like rolling waves: One after another after another. They smack her ears and she can barely make sense of them. She feels like she’s drowning in a tiny tidal pool. She knows she can touch bottom—if she chooses—but doesn’t know how to find her footing. She never did learn to swim. Where is Mom? And Dan. Why does he have to be in jail? Dan would have protected us. These people are vultures.
“What are you going to do to protect your son?”
“Why did you let your husband near Noah after what he did before this?”
“How many times does it take?”
She swallows, wondering how to navigate the steps safely. Let them go away! Make them disappear. Don’t listen to them. They don’t understand. They are monsters.
“How could you let him hurt the baby?”
More questions come faster than Dawn can process them. She remains still. Move. Do something! Where the hell isshe? Come on, Mom! Dawn scans the street in front of the courthouse but can’t focus. People move in the streets like they don’t have a care in the world: Like it’s an ordinary day. A woman counts out change for a lunchtime $1.75 hot dog.
“It was just an accident,” she begins, trying to be polite and reminding herself that good Christian women always stand by their men. She tells herself Dan didn’t mean to hurt Noah. He just loses his temper. He’s a good father, really. Tell them that. Maybe they will understand that.
“A broken limb and a skull fracture?” And “…how is that an accident?” And “…who was the caseworker that let your husband around your son? What is her name? Was it Kim? Sandy? Which one?” Their words make her dizzy. They jumble together and she can hardly make sense of the things the reporters are now yelling at her. I’m a good person. A good mother. Dan always says so. How can this be happening to us? Why can’t they understand?
This book makes me feel. I can just imagine the pain and suffering of all parties involved. However and I’ll be frank Dawn irritates me. She knows Dan has a history and yet she is still giving him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her son.
She’s already lost two children due to her past and now she’s in danger of losing her son as wel but she seems more bothered about her husband.
This book shows the reality of foster care and how much the system doesn’t always work for all parties involved. I’m not sure that this book showcases al the potential issues but if im truly honest I’m frustrated at the story.
The characters are going through their own issues throughout this book but for me it was hard to read and not get annoyed with each passing moment.
I managed to finish the book but I’m afraid it wasn’t for me.
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Erin Lee is freelance writer and therapist from Southern, NH. Lee’s work has appeared in journals and magazines since 1995. She’s received numerous awards from the New England Press Association for her work as a journalist. “Wave to Papa” is her second novel. Currently, Lee is publishing “Crazy Like Me” with Savant Books and Publications, LLC, to be released in summer 2015. She has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and works with children and families in crisis.
– GIVEAWAY –
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