Troubador Broken Lives

Released: 28/01/2020

ISBN: 9781838591953

eISBN: 9781838599287

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Broken Lives

A Social Worker's Tale


Just like any other mother, Samantha Bushell adores her two little girls. Her own childhood was unhappy with an abusive, neglectful and inadequate mother. Tormented by her childhood memories she struggles to function as an adult and finds comfort in alcohol until it begins to destroy her life. Social worker, April Gardiner strives to help Samantha to hold on to her children whilst her priority is to keep them safe.

At the same time as dealing with the trauma and sufferings of the families she works with and making life changing decisions for children, April is also trying to deal with her own personal issues.

The story raises issues around disadvantage and describes how the state and government ideology perpetuates underprivilege and inequality, trapping those families in a cycle of deprivation and abuse.

Whilst the story provides an insight into the shadowy world of children and families social work and the dilemmas and life changing decisions that are part and parcel of their everyday work, the main theme of the story is how the luck of who you are born to will determine who you later become, and the steep uphill struggle faced by the unfortunate children who are born into deprivation.

Although there is sadness, there are also happy outcomes for some and a spattering of humour throughout; laughter as well as tears.

An emotional rollercoaster.

With Broken Lives Teresa Devereux has created a remarkable book: a page-turner of a novel that resonates with the spirit of authentic social work and child protection, populated by characters that struggle with problems that are all too real and current. April Gardiner is a fascinating protagonist: sensitive, strong-willed and emotionally articulate while at the same time grappling with personal demons. Devereux walks a fine line between giving the reader hope of a happy denouement, while never losing sight of the fact that so many children are lost within a system that is both overloaded and criminally under-resourced. Beautifully written and artfully paced, Broken Lives begs to be read in one sitting. - S. A. Dunphy

This story was bleak with bits of light shining through. Pretty true to a social worker’s experiences. I wish the ending had been resolved, but that is often the way these tales go. Well done.

by Lana

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you NetGalley.

Samantha is a mom to two little girls who she absolutely adores. Samantha lacks the coping skills she needs, so she depends on alcohol to assist her.... which leads to social worker April Gardiner getting involved into her life. They form an unlikely bond due to their pasts/childhood experiences.

by Kade

Broken Lives was such a heartbreaking read that I had to stop reading for a few days. It was full of emotion and convincinly shows the true life of a social worker, which can be a very dark place. There was no beating about the bush with this, it was straight to the core but it did have some lighter moments. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you intrigued. This was a very well written book.

by Jolene

This book cracks open the door to give an insight into the trials and tribulations faced by a social worker when dealing with a family under stress. By its very nature, a family in conflict seldom has a totally happy outcome as you might see from Hollywood or on TV. The best you can hope for, in most cases, is that maybe one of the parties has a good (or goodish) result. Compromise is generally the key.
This book highlights these dilemmas and how the case-worker strives for that (probably unattainable) perfect outcome. It is well written and the characters soon draw an empathetic response from the reader: it has little gems of humour and, in contrast, some moments of pathos.
It is testament to the writer’s skill that I was quickly pulled into family situation and found putting the book down difficult. Indeed, at the end, I was left wanting more, - always a good sign.

by Annie Clare

A very well crafted book which gives an emotional insight into the daily dilemmas faced by Social Workers - of which the author clearly has an in-depth understanding.
The characters come alive on the page as their wide range of feelings, hardships, strengths and shortcomings are illuminated.
The reader will become involved in their lives, will care about their futures and need to keep turning the pages to discover the outcomes; they will be left wanting to hear more of April Gardiner.

by Juliet Massie

Teresa Devereux

Teresa is a full member of the Health and Social Care Council and holds the advanced diploma in social work. She worked on the front line in child protection for 11 years before becoming a manager. The need for confidentiality inadvertently raises many misconceptions around social workers and the families they work with and these novels provide a glimpse into the mysterious world of social work and the families whose lives are blighted by disadvantage and hardship. Broken Lives was written primarily as an entertaining read but has also been of interest to colleges and universities. Teresa is frequently asked to give presentations to social work students relating the cases discussed in her novels.

Teresa is an active campaigner for social justice and equality of opportunities. She uses every opportunity to advocate for fairness in society and speaks out against discrimination of any kind. She has seen for herself the hardship, deprivation and lifelong battles caused by disadvantage and poverty and this is starkly evident in her writing.

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