- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 36 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 July 2018
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B07D6T5DT2
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Sticks and Stones Audiobook – Unabridged
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Read reviews that mention
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As the curtains close around Phillip Rochester’s coffin and the vicar offers up his eulogy, Naomi, his young vulnerable current girlfriend sheds a tear as she shifts uncomfortably in the front row whilst bitter ex-wife, Imogen (mother to Phillip’s six-year-old son, Alistair), watches from five rows back and ex-ex-wife, the kind-hearted and dreamy Ruby hovers in the back row. On the surface all three women appear diametrical opposites from vastly different backgrounds and with no love lost between them. However, a common nemesis unites them and has the power to reduce them all to quivering wrecks with one demeaning slight, withering sneer or the back of his hand.. On the surface Phillip Rochester appears a popular man with an impeccable service record as a CID officer and protected by an old-boys network of colleagues, but behind the charming public mask and unblemished reputation lies a self-centred and controlling bully who has isolated and cruelly manipulated the woman who love him with his violence and self-esteem reducing barbs. But unbeknownst to Phillip these very actions have created a commonality between all three ladies and all the necessary ingredients to forge an unbreakable bond...!
As the guests file out of the church, Naomi, Imogen and Ruby share one secret.. the satisfying realisation that Phillip Rochester got the death he deserved.. As Jo Jakeman chronicles Phillip’s demise the first-person narrative is supplied by a bitter and needy Imogen, who arguably suffered the worst at Phillip’s hands with years of systematic abuse. In the week before the funeral, Imogen is trying to settle her divorce from Phillip only to visit the lavish new home he shares with the woman he left her for, Naomi, and start to suspect that Phillip’s new fiancée could be suffering from the life that she once did. A fuming Phillip responds to this visit by issuing Imogen with an ultimatum that he not only wants the single mum and his son out of the family home by the end of the month in order to sell the place but also intends to petition for sole custody of Alastair, citing Imogen’s fragile mental health as reason enough. In a moment of fury Imogen makes an instinctive decision to lock Phillip in the cellar (in reality a soundproofed cinema room) and fearful of a backlash given how much credence her complaints to his police colleagues have received in the past, swiftly begins to panic. A chance meeting at the local A & E with a surprisingly plain-spoken, Naomi, sporting a bloodied face and stitches following her threat to walk out and report Phillip to the police provokes a shocking confession and crucially, paves the way for a tentative alliance and a plan by the pair to take back control. A late entrance from the weak link of the trio of wives in sympathetic Ruby threatens to scupper the whole plot as she appeals to Imogen and Naomi’s consciences and unleashes a reinvigorated Phillip once again hellbent on revenge!
The avenging action abates into the second half and the three women’s mutual distrust and already strained relationship is brought under the spotlight. Jo Jakeman’s cast of flawed and complex characters shine as each of the women in turn come to recognise their insecurities and begin to move on from their damaged pasts in a rousing emotional journey. As timely flashbacks explore the individual plight of all three, they slowly learn that perhaps they aren’t all so different at all. I confess to finding the deluded Ruby and her misguided belief that Phillip has insecurities of his own tiresome and sadly her introduction curtails the vigilante action, slows the pace dramatically and kills any sense of tension The positive is that this reveals the novel’s true strength, with its hard-hitting and emotional confessions and route to self-discovery making it feel more akin to standard women’s fiction.
For all its rousing moments of solidarity, the soul-searching second half is a little too extensive, and given that the reader knows that Phillip will have met his maker by the end of the book, I did feel my interest waning as yet another highly improbable and convenient occurrence arose. Whilst the twisty path to the end is unknown, the ultimate knowledge that Phillip gets his comeuppance blunts the knife-edge of suspense and the entrance of Ruby signals the death knell on the much vaunted vigilante action, which in all honesty will have been the selling point for a great many readers! A thought-provoking and honest eye-opener on the truth of domestic violence slightly marred by its escalation into the realms of seriously far-fetched.
Sticks and Stones is an amazing debut novel, and an astounding piece of domestic noir. Opening with the Phillip’s funeral, we’re then taken back over the previous two weeks - and the years preceding - to discover exactly what happened that led to his death.
The story is expertly put together. It manages to twist and turn without ever feeling gimmicky or predictable. At no point do you get bored or feel anything is being padded out. Jakeman’s writing is lean and slick, leaving in nothing unnecessary. She perfectly keeps the mystery going without resorting to cheap tricks or cliches, throwing in red herrings and distractions that made it impossible to guess where we’re heading. At times I thought I’d guessed incoming reveals onto to discover I was completely wrong.
But as good as the story is, it’s the characters that really make this book. The concept of the mentally abusive husband and dominated wife is one that could easily become two dimensional, but Jakeman has created a cast of characters who all feel fleshed out and real. You really feel for Imogen, who never comes across as either comically weak or impossibly resolved. When she changes it’s because her character development brought here there, not becuase the plot required it to move forward. She comes across as a real person doing her best to avoid conflict with an ex-husband she knows can control her but can do nothing about, all the while fighting to protect her son over everything else. Phillip, too, is never a pantomime villain. He may be a monster, but he’s a monster of the type we all know is so very real. The kind who hides behind a reputation and knows exactly what they are doing.
Sticks and Stones isn’t any easy read. There are trigger warnings for all aspects of domestic abuse here. But all of it is packaged in an impossibly hard to put down story of one woman discovering how far she is prepared to go to defend her child and get revenge on a man determined to ruin her life