An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.
Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…
When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…
Justine’s insight into the character of Amelia.
Amelia is a tall, intelligent and elegant lady in her mid-40s. She has dark blonde hair and loves to travel. She runs a small recruitment agency in London which she is, and always has been determined to make successful. She has high hopes for her company and hopes to expand it.
She is married to Jack, who she genuinely loves and respects. Her marriage is strong, but she sometimes feels he can get a bit clingy, or makes too much of things. She knows her love is returned and is secure in her relationship, and she loves that Jack is still attracted to her looks.
She has struggled with her weight over the years and is probably slightly overweight which, she feels, doesn’t sit well on a tall person because it makes them look ‘big’. Her mother always called her big and she despises that – it destroyed her confidence as a child. Having said that, she has settled with her common weight which isn’t fat, but not thin either, and it allows her to enjoy most foods. She is sensible with her eating, and decides not to diet constantly.
Amelia has no children of her own – she never really wanted any. She did think about it in her mid-thirties, when her maternal clock told her this was the last chance, but she wasn’t with anyone at the time and thought it was probably too late anyway.
Amelia adores her father, Roger, and holds him up on a very high pedestal. She strives to please and impress him almost constantly, often with disappointing results. Roger has lived in New York since he divorced Amelia’s mother in the 1970s. Amelia was only six years old when he left and she was devastated. She didn’t take well to his first wife Helen, because young Amelia thought that Helen had stolen him from her. But when she grew up and realised that this was what happened in grown up relationships, she felt guilty for creating upset and began to try to make amends. But around that time, Helen was killed in a car accident. Roger was emotionally crushed, and Amelia’s guilt escalated to an almost insurmountable weight. She tried to help her father through his loss as much as possible, but it was difficult to do that from England, and he didn’t travel to the UK very much any longer as he was now retired.
Roger met another lady, Evelyn, about a year after Helen died and began dating her. Although Amelia was initially shocked and slightly worried that her father was dating too soon and for the wrong reasons, she realised he had been lonely and need companionship and love, just like anyone else. She promised herself she would support him and in doing so, hoped it would atone for her past treatment of Helen.
When Evelyn shows herself to Amelia to be two-faced – a kind and sympathetic partner to Roger, but cruel and toxic towards her – Amelia is floored at how to cope with the jealousy and bitterness. She knows she cannot tell her father as this would result in him disbelieving and blanking her, and she knows that Evelyn realises this too. Eventually, as Evelyn wears her down more and more, she decides to come clean to Roger – surely honesty is the best policy? But the result is everything she feared and when Roger seems to choose Evelyn over, her, his own daughter, she is utterly devastated.
About Justine John
After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.
Justine’s social media links…