Stoni Astley

Sanctuary's Lights

A powerful and heart-breaking novel about parental neglect and domestic violence, from author Stoni Astley.

Eleven-year-old Sydney and her younger siblings, Amanda, and Dylan, move to a new house, a new town, and a new school. Their mother Barbara, alcohol dependent and addicted to prescription drugs, has moved them again, this time to Ontario to escape the prying eyes of the social services and nosey neighbours. The children have spent years in and out of social services care, due to their mother’s substance abuse and violence. As the children try to settle into their new school, the neglect, the abuse, the violence, and the range continues at home. No-one hears their cries. No-one sees their bruises. No-one cares. But when their mother’s violence escalates, Sydney confides in one teacher who shows her kindness and compassion. Just when Sydney gets the support she desperately needs, and starts to believe she will escape with her siblings, her mother loses control and the lives of all three siblings are changed forever.


Sanctuary’s Lights is a powerful and heart-breaking novel of three siblings who live in constant fear of their mother. While a work of fiction, the book is inspired by the authors own traumatic childhood experiences. Honestly and sensitively told from the children’s perspective, the novel is a moving tribute to all victims and survivors of childhood neglect and domestic abuse.


The book highlights the brutality of a system that repeatedly fails vulnerable children, by failing to act quickly, by separating traumatised siblings, by housing them in unsuitable homes, by repeatedly allowing them to go back to neglectful and abusive parents, and by simply not caring enough. Sadly, the story of Sydney, Amanda, and Dylan, and of the author, Stoni Astley, is not an uncommon one.


Star Rating: 5 Stars


Summary

‘Honestly and sensitively told from the children’s perspective, the novel is a moving tribute to all victims and survivors of childhood neglect and domestic abuse. A BRONZE WINNER and highly recommended.’