It’s my stop on the blog tour for Christine Clayfield’s No Fourth River. Welcome!
It takes a great deal of courage to write about the abuse you’ve suffered through during your childhood and (first) marriage, but Clayfield rose to the challenge in No Fourth River. In it, she writes about her abusive father, her miserable years at a boarding school, and her disastrous first marriage to a brutal man who married her hoping to get his hands on some of her father’s riches. After nearly being beaten to death by her violent husband, Christine was determined to turn her life around and find the elusive happiness she longed for in her life.
What I Liked
Clayfield didn’t shy away from telling her story like it is—whether it was discussing the abuse suffered at home, the daily public shamings at boarding school. or the electroshock therapy she was forced to endure as treatment for her nocturnal enuresis. The isolation and despair she felt during her childhood is heartbreaking to read about, and it’s equally difficult to discover the cruelty of her first marriage.
Far from being melodramatic, she states the events of her life as they were, without embellishment, and with the willingness to forgive that is inspirational.
What I Didn’t Like
The second half of Clayfield’s life—free from the abuse of the past—at times feels a bit too pat for comfort. For example, she meets and marries the perfect man, has the identical twin daughters she always dreamed of having, and starts not just one, but several successful businesses over time. It’s not that these things are impossible… it all just felt a little too good to be true, and often through me out of the story as I marveled at yet another stroke of good fortune.
There are times when the writing feels a bit awkward and unpolished, as well. Overall, it was pretty good, so I’m putting it down to the fact that English isn’t Clayfield’s first language—that would certainly account for that.
Overall, I think this is a good book with an important message about abusive relationships—parental, spousal, etc.—that encourages people not to stay in the role of a victim. Despite the odds, Clayfield survived everything that life threw at her with grace, dignity, and a heart that wasn’t afraid to forgive. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.
About the Book
Electroshock therapy, child abuse and modern-day slavery… just another day in Christine’s life.
Take a heart-wrenching yet inspiring ride through one woman’s incredible journey that is so compelling that you are simultaneously trying to look away and unable to stop yourself from reading on.
Christine’s father is a wealthy, tyrannical man renowned in the diamond business. At the age of just five, little Christine is cast aside into a boarding school where she is ridiculed for two embarrassing problems. She grows up in a never-ending circle of traumatic experiences both in her boarding school and at home. It culminates into a falling out between father and child that was never fully mended, leading her into a world of promiscuity and alcohol, eventually landing her in a violent marriage.
Driven to the limits of despair and heartache, she creates a plan to escape her world of misery. Will her plan work?
A story that asks: How do you find the strength, when you suffer almost unbearable abuse and are broken beyond repair, to pick up the pieces of a shattered life?