Ugly Truth or Beautiful Lies?
Talking about abuse and physical violence is such a complex and painful subject for many women that one should approach it very carefully. In my new medical romance, Rx FOR TRUST, I kept the physical violence in the back story and mentioned it sparingly.
My heroine doesn’t want to remember the past, doesn’t want to talk about it and carefully hide it from her daughter and from the man she loves. As a successful psychiatrist, she treats abused patients and projects the appearance of a strong woman and dedicated doctor. Yet, because of her inner fears, she refuses to face her past experience and deal with her problem. Olivia is so terrified about the past catching up to destroy her daughter’s peace of mind, that one little lie leads to another, and another,… until the past catches up with her.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott.
Rx For Trust is the first book in the Doctor’s Order series and will be released in three days, on December 4, 2009, by The Wild Rose Press.
Contest Awards: First Place in Central Ohio Ignite the Flame; Second Place in Heart of Denver, The Molly; Third Place in FTHRW Golden Gateway.
Short Synopsis: Olivia Crane is a psychiatrist at Cincinnati University Hospital and a woman with a troubled past and secrets by the bucket-load. Dr. Luc George, the French psychiatrist, she loved ten years ago, detests secrets. All hell breaks loose when Luc strolls into her office, with a confident smile and a perceptive eye, determined to rekindle their relationship and threatening to unravel the secrets of her thorny past. Can Luc win Olivia’s trust and love before her inner fears destroy their second chance at happiness?
By the way, I should mention that far from being a dark novel, Rx FOR TRUST is a sweet and spicy story that will make you smile, laugh and cry—the story of two psychiatrists with conflicting theories on how to treat their patients and tame their own emotions.
Here is a fun excerpt from Rx FOR TRUST.
Olivia loved her mother to death, but at the moment she wanted to scream her frustration at her beaming Mama. It was obvious Marianna Crane had fallen in love with Luc the moment she’d seen him, or more precisely at the very minute he bent over and kissed the back of her hand with an “Enchanté, madame.”
“I’m delighted to meet you, Luc. Please have a seat. Where have I put my glasses? Melissa, bring the tray of hors d’oeuvres from the kitchen. Olivia, can you serve the drinks? Luc, what can I get you?”
Mama bustled with energy, the way she always did before starting a new project. Seeing her fussing around Luc, Olivia was afraid to guess the name of the new project—her mother’s ongoing goal.
But Olivia was too tired to protest or interfere. Two hours ago, when she’d voiced her panic at the possibility of losing Melissa’s love, Luc had cut short their session. He’d told her she needed to relax now that she’d exteriorized her real fear. They’d continue next week. Olivia had been so exhausted, she’d let Luc drive them in her van.
“May I help with the drinks?” Luc offered.
“Of course. Make yourself at home,” Mama purred.
Dropping onto one of the overstuffed chairs of the old-fashioned living room, Olivia rested a moment. She liked coming home to her mother’s. The warm aroma of potpourri soothed her rattled nerves. Tonight, the garlic and nutmeg smell of Mama’s masterpiece roast emanated from the kitchen. Her mother had sharpened her tools to conquer their guest.
Olivia recognized the symptoms. Good dinner, good drinks, good stories. Luc wasn’t going to leave unscathed tonight, not when her mother wanted Luc’s heart for her daughter.
Mama turned toward her. Eyes narrowed, she signaled to Olivia to follow her into the office. “I need you for a second,” Marianna ordered with a you-failed-big-time look.
Olivia braced herself for the worst.
As soon as they stepped into the office, Mama closed the glass double doors behind her, spun around to face Olivia and pointed to the door. “This Luc, is he the French boy you dated when you were in med school?”
Mama’s scowl promised her lecture was going to be worse than Olivia had expected.
“The one you never wanted to bring home to meet your mama and dad?” Marianna propped her fists on her hips.
Olivia took a deep breath and exhaled. “Yes.” It would be a long discussion, all right.
“And you sent him packing? And you let us believe he was no good? Olivia, are you crazy or what?” Marianna snatched a chocolate from a crystal bowl and popped it into her mouth.
“Mom!” Olivia scowled and took a step toward the door.
“Oh no. I have to tell you what I think. Madonna mia, you are a great doctor, but as a smart woman…phht.” Her mother cut the air with her hand. “Any uneducated Italian girl would know that when she meets such a handsome, nice, good-mannered…” Her mother paused for a second to catch her breath and launched again. “Intelligent, famous, wealthy…” She stopped, at a loss for adjectives, and glanced toward the living room for more inspiration.
“Mom, I get your point.”
“I’m not finished. He came back. Now you have a second chance. Don’t lose it, girl. For once, listen to your mother and keep him. You understand, Olivia?” Mama threw another chocolate into her mouth and chewed on it and then clucked her tongue.
“I understand, Mama. But you have it wrong. I don’t think Luc wants to get married, and I’m not ready. I need to see Melissa settled first.“
Her mother flung her hands in the air. “Santa Maria, help me. Not ready? At thirty-five? You want to wait until you’re fifty? And sixty pounds overweight like me? Since when does the daughter marry before her mother?”
“I didn’t say Melissa should marry. Just be out of college with a good degree and settled in her career.” She smiled gently at her mother, trying to pacify her. “Besides, you know my case is special.”
“Special. Why?” Mama shook her head and slapped her thigh. “Olivia Maria Crane, do you think you’re the only girl who went through a lousy experience? It happens to many girls, but they move on. My father beat my mother every time he drank. During those days in Napoli, a woman couldn’t survive without a husband. My mama stayed with him, but I left home, came to America and met your dad. He certainly didn’t want to get married after the sad accident. I was pretty at the time. I made him change his mind.” Mama reached for another chocolate.
Olivia chuckled. “You’re still pretty, Mama. If you can only stop gorging on chocolate, you’ll be healthy too. I’m afraid about Melissa learning—”
“So what if she learns her father’s a rotten ass? She’ll hate him. Big deal. She’ll love you more for protecting her.” Her mother stood on tiptoe to pat her cheek. “Bambina, it’s a great time you think about yourself for a change. Grab him without hesitation.” She tugged at Olivia’s hand and walked toward the door. “I’ll be watching you tonight. I’ll keep Melissa out of the way, and I want to see some action.”
The book is based on the true story of a friend paralyzed by fear for most of her life. To protect her child, the abused woman distorted the truth and buried it as deep as possible. With great effort, she managed to build a successful career for herself and sacrificed love and marriage to create a happy family atmosphere for her child. Life is good in spite—or maybe because—of the few lies that embellish the painful past and ugly truth.
Here is a contest.
1- Was Olivia wrong to hide the truth from the man she loved?
2- Should Olivia tell her daughter the truth about her father?
3- Do you think the abusive father has the right to be informed of his daughter’s existence?
Answer as many questions as you want in your comments for the chance to win an autographed copy of Rx FOR TRUST.
Thank you, RJ, for inviting me to present my new book Rx FOR TRUST and to expose the emotional problems created by domestic violence and their lingering effects years after the actual abuse has stopped.
Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press:
And medical romance in the genre of ER and Grey’s Anatomy for The Wild Rose Press:
BABIES IN THE BARGAIN that received a 5-ribbon review at Romance Junkies
and Rx FOR TRUST
All books are available at Amazon.com
Your book sounds intriguing, and you raise some important questions. I’m sorry I missed the conversation.
Thank you Chelle.
This sounds like a cery intriguing book and certainly tackles a difficult but important topic. Good luck with its release.
author of Bartlett’s Rule, a love story about patience and trust
My DH pulled a name from a basket.
AND THE WINNER IS: Emma Lai. Please email me with your address at
Thank you all, dear friends, fellow writers and readers, for participating in my contest. I hope you will read and enjoy my new romance Rx FOR TRUST coming as ebook on Friday at TWRP and already in paperback at amazon.com.
RJ and Romance Junkies, thank you so much for inviting me to guestblog. It was a wonderful day.
Jana, I am so glad you like the excerpt. I was laughing while writing it. I could imagine Raymond’s mother in Everybody Loves Raymond, or my mother-in-law and my mother frowning at me when they disagreed with my way of raising my kids or my way of dressing or…
I am so interested in all the answers. I wish that women with this problem could read all the comments and find the courage to break their bondage to an abusive man.
I love your excerpt. And I especially like Olivia’s mother. She sounds like a great character.
To answer your questions:
1. I don’t know if Olivia was wrong to keep the truth from Luc. She can only face the truth thwhen she’s ready.
2. If Melissa is old enough and mature enough to learn the truth, then she should hear it. Better it comes from her mother than from somewhere else.
3. No, I don’t think the abusive father has a right to know about the daughter. He sounds dangerous. I doubt this man would be interested in a relationship with his daughter.
Good luck with your new book.
Big hugs P.L. I wish you a lot of happiness in your marriage to your best friend and soul mate. This is how a true loving spouse should be. I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband and pray every day for us to have long years together. It’s difficult for me to imagine how a woman can live, EVERY DAY, with a man who abuses her. And yet I saw my best friend going through that. She never told me but I found her diary she left in my car as if she wanted me to read and I collapsed crying that awful day. But she got out of it too.
Thank you Beth. In my book, the heroine is faced with conflict after conflict. The story is based on this saying: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott.
Kathye, I am glad you like my covers. I like them a lot. LOL
Yes, secrets can tear a person apart. My friend developed chronic migraine and stomach. Beilieve it or not she still keeps her secret.
Scarlet, you are right. We must educate our daughters not to submit to a bully and cope. But will they always listen to their mothers?
Lisa, great answer to each question. Yes there is going to be a healing and not an easy one as the girl may resent her mother for lying to her, lies by omission. You are right the decision to see the father may depend on the daughter if she’s old enough to have an opinion. All these issues are tackled in my book.
Having survived an abusive relationship, and getting out, this is an extremely personal issue to me. Embarrassment is a big factor for many abused women. So is disbelief. How can a person who says he loves you, hurt you so badly. Fortunately, I grew a backbone and got out and now I’m married to my best friend, my soul mate and my one true love. Happy ever after does exist. Course we’ve still got lots of years ahead of us, God willing, but I can’t see this changing.
Mona, high five for tackling such a difficult but important issue that sadly many women face. Your sensitive approach sounds most fitting and this is sure to be a well received story. I can well understand why a woman would conceal the truth, even try to bury it deep. Should she? Ultimately the truth will set her free or so we’re told.
IOnteresting blog and topis. I admire people who can write about touchy subjects with such poise.
Love your covers.
I think Olivia will know what to do. Secrets can tear you apart.
She will need to tell her daughter, otherwise it will always be a barrier for her. Only when they can speak freely about everything will they truly share an unbreakable bond.
I beleive every man has the right to know his child. But that doesn’t mean he has the right to interfer in the child’s life. If the child knows the facts, only then can the decision be really made.
Great article. This is such a current topic and one that is very important to women. We must educate to support those who are in harms way.
Interesting blog today, thoughy subject.
1. I think Olivia should share her secret when she is ready to. Once she gets it out, the healing will start for her. The more she shares it with others the faster she will heal.
2. I think she should tell her daughter. Unfortunely, this pattern follows women from one generation to another; even if they aren’t expose to it Abuse is a hard thing to overcome..
3. Does he have a right to know his daughter??? After she knows the facts, let her make the decision whether she wants to know him or not.
Barbara, the mother is actually a mix of my mother and my MIL who both drove me crazy with attention, advice and subtle orders, all in good faith and for my own good. LOL
That was a lovely excerpt, Mona. Olivia’s mother is just great!
I guess the answers to those questions depend on the individual circumstances and the characters involved.
Mona, I’d think that would depend on the child. Some could handle truth like that earlier than others. And then again, there may be some who couldn’t handle it at all.
Great answers CJ. I like your third one: >
I remember my grandfather was often a hard man raising his kids with a strict discipline. My father often told me of how he was told to open his hand and received a number of smacks with a ruler for misbehaving. But that same man who raised his kids so strictly was a lamb with his wife. Hmm that’s giving me ideas for another book.
Thank you Stacey. You said at the right age and time. What would be the right age in your opinion?
Thanks Mary. So you think she should tell her daughter the truth? I agree with you but what if the girl wants to meet her father, what if she blames her mother for depriving her of a father?
I have another friend who stayed with her husband twenty years because she believed the children needed their father. He never physically hit them or abused them, but he consistently put them down. Verbal abuse of the mother and kids even publicly. The mother is reaching the end of her rope.
1. I can see not telling a boyfriend in the beginning but once you see that the relationship is going past casual to a serious relationship, then he should be told. He doesn’t need to know blow for blow (no pun intended), but enough to understand her feelings.
2. I’m torn about this one. In one sense I think a child should know his/her father, but if this man is as abusive as it appears, then, no, I’d not subject my child to that.
3. The right? No. I takes more than the man’s gamete to make a father. What kind of life would she have had with a father like that? Would she have grown up as strong and self reliant as she has? Besides, the Olivia would worry herself sick any time her daughter was alone with the man.
Yes, I’d think it’s good to share with the one you love, and the daughter should know, at the right time/age.
Sounds like a great book, Mona!
Mona, I love all of your books! And now a new one I have to read.
I’m with Emma as for telling the truth to her daughter. There is a time and place for it.
Linda, my friend did excatly what you suggested. She told the ugly truth to her boyfriend and later married him, but hid it from her daughter. Glad you like the book premise.
Lynn, thank you for sharing your experience. It’s interesting to see how the children react. There are no correct or wrong answers here.
Emma Lai, thank you for your good answers. So you would hide the truth while the kids are small, hide them from the violent father to protect them, but reveal it as they get older and ready to absorb it.
Pam, thanks for your answer. The idea of my book came from a real story that I twisted a bit. We tried to tell the mother to reveal the truth to her daughter but she doesn’t want to hear about it, saying she blanked the past and can’t stand to talk about it.
Always get into communication! The truth is the only way – why live a half-life? We t old our daughter he dad was Gay when she was eight and she handle it well. I love the idea of your story, Mona – books that touch on real issues are great! Good excerpt –
Such an important issue to tackle. I can well understand her not wanting her daughter to know about her dad. I would tell her the truth, I would tell my boyfriend the truth. I think hiding a child from an abusive parent is better than letting them be abused. That’s just my opinion though for what it’s worth. It sounds like a great book, I will look forward to reading it to find out what happens.
As you say, Mona. This is a very touchy subject. Here’s my opinion…
1) Olivia should share, but only when she’s ready to. Their love should help heal some of the wound.
2) Older children should be forewarned lest they become the target of his violence and be caught unaware.
3) Parents are responsible for the health and well-being of their children. If they are a danger then they should be kept away.
It is very understandable that Olivia has trust issues and wants to hide from an awful truth. It is a very tricky situation. I like that you wrote about this subject as unfortunately it is an ugly secret in so many lives. Melissa has the right to know her father but at the same time I can see why Olivia wants to protect her.
Love & Hugs,
Thank you RJ for inviting me to guestblog at Romance Junkies.