How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

Cherie Jones

historical fiction | adult | race | contemporary

First published 2021

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Lala is married to Adan, a violent criminal and thief. Lala is pregnant with Adan's baby when the book begins, and goes into labour while Adan is in the middle of an armed robbery at the home of Peter & Mira Whalen. She walks the length of Baxter's Beach searching for Adan so that he can take her to the hospital. She arrives at the Whalens' house by chance and rings the doorbell just as Adan fatally shoots Peter Whalen. 

Adan goes into hiding after the murder and only returns home to see Lala and Baby when he is sure that the coast is clear. Adan's friend, Tone, brings a friend to the house to visit the newborn, and a scuffle ensues between Adan and Lala, resulting in Baby's unfortunate death. Tone and Lala's past as lovers is slowly revealed throughout the novel, and as Adan's violence towards Lala intensifies towards the end of the book, Tone kills Adan and Lala manages to escape to start a new life.

Every female character suffers extreme violence at the hands of men. Lala's mother was killed by Lala's father, and Lala grows up with her grandmother and grandfather, who also abused Lala's mother when she was young. Mira Whalen is shot by Adan in the last part of the book, and Lala herself is beaten by Adan on several occasions, each time suffering more and more serious injuries. Tone and Mira Whalen's neighbour, Grayson, are the only two male characters who do not harm a woman.

My Verdict: An incredibly intense and realistic novel about the prevalence of violence against women. A really amazing debut novel and a new writer who I'm eager to read more by.

Review Award | 5/5

Posted 24.01.2022

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