The Favour by Nora Murphy
This unsettling novel is about two women, Leah and McKenna, who have never met but have a lot in common. They both are intelligent, professional women. They live in similar prosperous neighbourhoods, and they live in expensive homes with beautiful gardens. They are both married to successful, ambitious, hard-working men who are tall and good-looking.
Leah and McKenna’s lives look enviable from the outside, but they are not. They are both suffering from controlling, abusive husbands who have, bit by bit, taken away their jobs, friends, family and self-esteem. When we meet them in the book, they are living lives of fear and hopelessness.
But everything changes when their paths cross one day. Leah is standing miserably in a shop queue when she sees McKenna, and she recognises something that reminds her of herself, so Leah follows in her car and sees where McKenna lives. This sets in motion a train of events that eventually leads to murder but also to new beginnings.
The Favour is a brave and gripping domestic suspense novel, and I can’t tell you more about the plotline, except to say that it brilliantly tells Leah and McKenna’s similar stories and that of the detective investigating a murder.
While this is a suspense novel, it is also extremely thought-provoking. It sheds light on how people can become victims of domestic abuse, which often happens over time, slowly eroding a person’s sense of self-worth and safety. The author Nora Murphy has worked in this area and brings to life the unique challenges faced by victims of those men with high-profile careers or respected positions in society. It shows that domestic abuse can occur in any part of society.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan