‘Degrees of Guilt’ is HS Fields debut novel.
Maria is on trial for attempted murder. She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead. Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate. She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out. You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent. You will be wrong.
I’ve really come to enjoy Helen Fields writing over the years, with her DI Callanach series, so when a new book was released called ‘Degrees Of Guilt’ by Orion Publishing, I was curious to see what this court room drama had to offer. I started reading it on Saturday morning and didn’t put down until it was finished, as it was a bloody brilliant book.
The story is seen from two perspectives. It starts with Maria Bloxham phoning the police to tell them that she has killed her husband. Her husband, Dr Edward Bloxhom is a highly regarded consultant on environmental issues with a huge following, but he survived her attack with life changing injuries and Maria has been charged with attempted murder. The perspective is from Lottie, a young married mother who has been called for jury service on this complex case. She’s looking for more in her life than to be recognised as a mother and wife and finds herself relating to Maria in some ways. But as the story develops and Maria’s life is revealed, the jury finds themselves conflicted with their emotions and morals and unable to agree on their verdicts. It’s within this jury that Lottie meets Cameron, a passionate and outspoken man who brings out a new side in Lottie and has left her questioning the life that she’s currently leading.
Maria was a character that I felt a huge amount of empathy and sympathy towards. A deeply unhappy woman who thought she had found her Prince Charming over twenty years ago and instead was subject to years of emotional and psychological abuse with no one to confide in and reach out to. When she finally thought she was free from his grasp, she felt relief but instead was then subject to intense interrogation questioning her sanity in a crowded court where people are judging her.
There are so many reasons that I enjoyed this book, the story is cleverly weaved with two very different women, one the defendant and the other in the jury but both ultimately looking are for the same things in life. I loved Maria, she’s a strong woman, a voice for the people out there who have been subject to abuse and finally decided this was her time and she didn’t really matter what her future held as long as it didn’t feature Edward.
An addictive story of revenge and justice, ‘Degrees Of Guilt’, is a deeply dark and thrilling story that grips the reader from the very first sentence.
You can buy ‘Degrees Of Guilt’ from Amazon as an ebook and will be available from good bookshops from 5th September 2019.