Review from journalist - Diana Fortescue

Judy King’s semi-autographical Agnes’s Broken Dreams, is a remarkable first novel. The clues are in the sub-title ‘A courageous woman’s journey to the truth’ and the dedication ‘This book is dedicated to my gifted psychiatrist…and to all adult sufferers of child abuse.’ That said, the abuse in this case is primarily, though not exclusively, psychological rather than physical.

The novel opens with Agnes, born and raised - though hardly nurtured - in Australia, flying to Sydney from London where she is escaping her husband, fortified by a book called ‘Families and How to Survive Them’.

Having lived much of her adult life in Europe as an emotional refugee from the cruelties of her childhood, her purpose is to discover and confront her family about her own distant recollections, on the occasion of her narcissistic and cruel mother’s birthday where many will be gathering.

One by one we meet members of her surviving family none of whom had been capable of giving the child Agnes the love which she had craved nor the explanations she is seeking.

A further hint. The story ends: ‘With nothing to salvage from the ashes, Agnes will sever all further contact with her family’.

The pages between are a heart-rending narrative but one which is more than worth the journey.