Friday 19 February 2021

BLOG BLAST: Allegation - R. G. Adams

An evil monster exposed?

Or an innocent father condemned?

A scandal will shake a small community to its very foundations.

Sandbeach, South Wales. Two women have come forward to make historical sexual allegations against a pillar of the local community, Matthew Cooper. And child-safeguarding protocol demands that Social Services remove the accused from his home and his family, while a formal assessment is carried out.

The Cooper case lands on the desk of inexperienced Social Worker, Kit Goddard. Although intrepid and intuitive, she is ill-prepared for such a high-profile case.

Kit finds herself navigating a local minefield of connections and class, reputations and rumour. Unsure whether her interference is a heroic intervention or a hurtful intrusion, she knows one thing: it will have an impact. The question is whether this impact will be to expose an iniquitous lie, or destroy an innocent life...

What did I think?

With allegations of child sexual abuse, I was expecting Allegation to be an uncomfortable read but there are so many strands to this amazing story that once I got into it I was completely gripped and couldn't put it down.

The main storyline is the allegation of historical abuse and it's one that really got under my skin.  The women haven't come forward before because they feared that nobody would believe them; they are from a rough part of town and Matthew Cooper, the man they are accusing, is well connected so it could appear that they are just after a big pay-off.  The "did he/didn't he" question constantly hovered in the back of my mind while Social Worker, Kit Goddard assessed the safety of the Cooper children.

Kit is a fantastic character; although inexperienced, she's very good at her job and will do whatever it takes to make sure the children are safe.  I didn't envy her at all, locking horns with the Coopers and constantly being threatened that they were going to make a complaint.  The way that Kit kept a clear head and put the children first is really admirable, especially when Kit has so much going on in her personal life.  The gradual revealing of Kit's backstory makes her such a well-developed character and this thread added another dimension to the story.

It took me a couple of chapters to get hooked but once I did, I absolutely raced through the book.  The chapters are quite long, there are only 16 chapters in the whole 313 page book, but the plot is so gripping that I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page.  The author has first-hand knowledge of social services and I loved getting a glimpse into the life of a social worker.  There are so many minefields to dodge and hoops to jump through that it sounds like a total nightmare and it must be awful to be so unwelcome in a home where they are carrying out an assessment.

Thought-provoking, intriguing and completely compelling, Allegation is a very impressive debut.  I'm delighted to find that it's the first book in the Kit Goddard series; I'll certainly be looking out for more.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog blast; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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About the author:
R. G. Adams is a former social worker with thirty years of experience across all areas of social services. She lives in Wales with her family, and Allegation is her first novel.

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