Released: 28/06/2020

ISBN: 9781838593506

eISBN: 9781838595791

Format: Paperback/eBook

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1960s, England. 

Adie wants to be free. For ten years her husband, Bill, has kept her in a prison constructed of fear. She knows if she ever leaves, he will kill her - and now that same fear has invaded the lives of her children. She knows the police won’t help; run on home and be a good wife, they’d say. Risking it all, she dares everything to get herself and her children away from his influence, fleeing far and wide and hiding amongst ordinary people to escape her husband’s wrath. 

Bill learnt early in life how to use terror as a means to get what he wanted. Until now his methods have worked. When the realisation dawns that his wife and children have escaped him, he embarks on a journey to uncover them with dark desires plaguing his every step. With violence shimmering on the horizon, only the courage of ordinary people can stand between Adie and the man who seeks to destroy not only everything that she is, but her life as well. 

Cleverly written and gripping! Difficult to put down and you are left wanting more.

by LMB

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was difficult to put down. I really felt for the characters. A difficult subject, dealt with well. Came just at the right time for Lockdown.

by Rhonda Barker

Really enjoyed this book. Difficult to put down. A difficult subject, dealt with sympathetically but not pulling any punches.

by Rhonda Barker

Cracking read from start to finish. Right from the first page you are drawn into the lives of Adie and her family. The author certainly knows how to immerse a reader in the plot straight away. The characters are developed with perfect timing, cleverly switching between them just when you want to know a little more. There are times when you are sure you know what is going to happen only to be proved wrong at a later stage. Beautifully written story about a difficult but important subject. Highly recommended!

by Kerrie Fuller

Beautifully written and full of interesting characters. Fast moving and the kind of book it is difficult to put down. I really enjoyed the story.

by Veronica

Not normally a subject matter I gravitate towards, I found myself being hooked straight away. Adie’s plight for freedom is a moving and determined one and you root for her straight away. It was interesting reading the same story through the eyes of both central characters, and then again from Adie’s children.
A very gripping tale, and a thoroughly recommended read.

by Neela

I loved this book, couldn't put it down. Felt the pain of Adie right from the start and her desperation to save her children from their father.
Would definitely recommend this book, you won't be disappointed.

by Pat

A novel which provides insight through good storytelling into various aspects of domestic violence from both the victim & perpetrator's perspectives.
Setting it within the 1960's allows us to appreciate changes since then that have occurred in recognising the existence of this type of violence, it's impact & the need for support & justice for it's victims.
While giving a graphic account of physical & psychological damage & fear the story also allows the characters to display strength, courage & resilience which can give hope & understanding to those who need it.
I recommend this book & look forward to future novels from this author.

by Mary Dooher

This a gripping story of one woman's attempt to escape from the terror and violence of her marriage. The pace of the narrative keeps you reading as Adie makes her escape with her children. There is an air of menace and danger throughout the chase. The humanity of those who help her - despite their own problems - shines through, but at the same time, Anne Ludlow does not hold back from showing the realities of violence within a marriage. Setting the story in the 60s adds interesting detail and context to this important theme. Thoroughly recommended!

by Libby Bernard

This book is not of my usual genre, but had been recommended to me. Once started, I literally couldn't put it down, I read it in 2 days. With the right mix of action and reflection, the tale of domestic violence in the 1960's does not pull any punches. I felt for Adie as she struggles to get help from the police and then eventually finds compassion from strangers. The ending was not what I expected and I was gripped right to the end.
I look forward to more titles from this fledgling author.

by Caroline Asteraki

I began this book with reservations about the content. However, the characters draw in the reader from the outset. Although the story is set in the 1960's, it could be just as relevant today. An absorbing book with twists and tension throughout. A thoroughly good read about relationships, overcoming adversity and friendship. An excellent read.

by Carole Cresswell

A gritty thriller which reminds us how bad women's lives could be,when they were told to go home and make the best of it. The characters were good,especially the animals.

by Kathryn

he Gentleness of Steel by Anne Ludlow is a beautifully written story about an ugly subject. Adie was perfectly portrayed, it felt like the reader really got to know her.

by NetGalley review

Very well written book and totally gripping. How differently the abuse suffered by women was treated in the 1950s and 60s. No women’s Refuge in those days just suffering in silence. This is not just a book for women as it is totally fast moving and gripping. An amazing first novel, can’t wait for Anne Ludlow’s second one.

by Carole Sinclair-Smith

The story of a family that is broken. The husband/ father feels the only way to keep his family is to control them through fear and violence. The wife/ mother plans a path to freedom for herself and her children, ages 7 and 10. The topic is a horrific one, the husband's actions unjustifiable. Yet, the support system relied on in these types of crimes is just not there in this instance.
Anne Ludlow has written a story that is hard to read, I can't imagine it was any easier to write. The abuse victims, while sympathetic, do not ask for sympathy, just a place where they can live without fear. They do not ask for charity, but the help they receive is given without expectation of return. The book is written in a detached voice, allowing us to see and hear their journey with a degree of separation. Without that, I do not think I'd have finished the book. It's not a long book, only took me half the night to see the end of the physical and mental abuse of this family. The end of the book is cathartic.

by NetGalley review

Anne Ludlow

The Gentleness of Steel has been many years in the making. Having the ability to retire early meant I finally had time to fulfil my lifetime ambition to write novels.

I've had a bizarre life; rickets as a child and a mother with paranoid schizophrenia, a ballet scholarship, qualified as a personal fitness trainer and worked as a bus driver, cleaner and many other menial jobs. Lived in Srinagar, Dubai, Sharjah and Tehran. Ran a fashion business selling high end into Harrods and boutiques the length of the country, including my own store. Marriage, children, divorce, single parenthood, happy marriage and now grandchildren. All of this makes a writer's soul fertile.

As I soon as I retired I began to write. I wrote my first three chapters and read them back. Oh dear, they were awful. Being an all or nothing person I embarked upon many writing courses, at least ten thousand hours of practice, lots of rejections, followed all the advice and edited, edited, edited. I am pleased with the outcome. Although, of course, there is always room for improvement.

The Gentleness of Steel is my first novel, it will not be my last. My head is bursting with stories to be told. I couldn't possibly retire to the roses. I shall write until my demise.

Autumn in my garden.
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