Thorns of an Innocent Soul: Barbara Watkins
A mirror does not lie except if it is in a House of Mirrors and the images that reflect back are distorted. Some people envision themselves through the glass or reflection of a mirror so imbedded with distortions that instead of reflecting a “normal plane mirror which would allow the person looking at themselves to see a perfect mirror image, it changes, curves, enlarges using a curved mirror or convex or concave sections in order to distort what reflects back.
Ella Scott lived in a world of distortions that she painted, sculpted, fashioned or molded in an image that she wanted the world to see. Perfection, no flaws, dominating the room, wanting accolades from anyone that would admire her, cold, unfeeling and selfish are just some words that describe this hard-hearted wife and mother. Never there for her husband always feeling unloved, making her way into the lives of others by hurting, threatening, endangering and abusing them, letting them know that accidents can happen, things can change and that the power to reconstruct an event was in her hands. Ella Scott was more than just a source of discomfort, annoyance or difficulty in the lives of her family. She was a stiff, sharp-pointed thorn whose tip was so double edged, that when present in your company you could feel a cold and frigid chill even on a hot summer’s day.
Jennifer Scott just wanted to be loved, accepted and cared for by her parents. Growing up as the third child in a family of four she hoped that she would have the love and support of her parents and her two brothers. But, her mother had her own idea of what a family should be and felt that outer beauty; wealth, prestige and station were the only way anyone would be respected. Jennifer Scott learned at an early age that no matter what she did, said or how many A’s she received in school in her mother’s eyes she was nothing. Expensive clothes, shoes, dresses and out buying others was Ella’s way of boosting her own ego and letting the world know that she was more than just a force to be reckoned with.
Life takes on many different turns and although you do not want to emulate someone that you hate, despise and abhor sometimes you get what you don’t wish. Renouncing, snubbing, denouncing, rebuking and even outwardly embarrassing Jennifer, her brothers and her husband, Ella’s reign as what some might say Monarch of the family continued until it didn’t.
Imagine going to your prom and winding up defiled by your date and never being able to reveal what happened because your mother would think you were lying. One man, Chris was Jennifer’s whole life but Ella made sure that any thought of having him, any happiness that she would ever have would vanish. Lies, deceits, betrayals and maybe a touch of jealousy because her daughter was smart, beautiful and caring and everything she was not, forced her to do the cruel things she did to her and to her brothers. When her brother became engaged to a woman named Ann, Ella did her best to defile her image and create doubt in her son’s mind after they were married. No one was good enough for Ella. No one stood his or her ground against her. She alienated everyone and somehow never wound up alone but was she ever really apart of anything or was this another reflection she saw in the distorted House of Mirrors that she created for herself?
Author Barbara Watkins takes us deep inside the mind of a young girl who created her own mirror images filled with many distortions, always passing off her shortcomings and failings on her mother and never taking ownership of her life. Her father was never there and escaped his marriage and children by filling his time with another woman and his job. Ella filled her time by spending his money on lavish decorations for their home, clothes, shoes and indulging her children with her own self wants and buying them things they never really needed or wanted in order to give that appearance of perfection.
Not allowed friends in her home because they did not meet her mother’s standards in any way, Jennifer often waited until she was gone to invite her best friend Chris over. Even her graduation day was ruined as her mother blames her for ruining “Her” day by associating herself with Chris and professing her feelings for him much to her mother’s dismay. But, Ella had a plan that included a young man named Philip, the same young man that defiled her the night of her prom. Forcing her into a loveless marriage, lying about Chris, hiding some truths that would have changed the direction of Jennifer’s life, Ella once again rules.
A job offer in modeling for a magazine should have been Jennifer’s road to freedom, independence and hopefully love. But, so angry, tormented and filled with hate and revenge for her mother she was bent on destroying her and in the process sometimes you destroy yourself. One night would change Jennifer’s life and what she thought was a simple virus was not and her decision and end result tragic. Married to Philip was not anything she wanted. Divorce was not in the picture but going their own way would untangle their relationship in part but never permanently sever it. Visiting her mother she learned just how far she would go to destroy her happiness and her life and that is when she snapped. Planning to pretend to care about Ella, get into her confidence and finally go in for the kill was her plan. Knowing that her father was unfaithful, hoping she would find a way for her mother to learn the truth she thought was foolproof. But, what happens and what Ella does will give you chills down your spine, let you know that Jennifer was no better than her mother and the well orchestrated and created plan did more than just backfire. Hoping to seek redemption and forgiveness for her actions and her thoughts she mistakenly reveals what her mother did to her and what caused the tragedy in her family. But, rather than rally to her side her family disowned her leaving her to contemplate her next step and reflect on her image within that mirror once more.
Would a parent destroy her own child’s destiny? Would a parent destroy her child’s chance for happiness? When the truth behind some of Ella’s actions come out Jennifer decided it was time to take control. Everything that she did comes flooding back and the truth behind her anger festered like a sore that would never go away. Learning that Chris moved on with his life, hoping to try and rekindle the fire, Jennifer learns that some things are not meant to be but can she ever let go?
Some parents teach their children respect, kindness and to be a caring person. From Ella Jennifer learned the art of manipulation, deceit and betrayal. Telling lies came easy to her and giving Ella a false sense of control and security her goal. Pretending to hang on to her every word and value her time with her, Ella never saw it coming. Losing someone she loved made Jennifer harden even more. Hating her mother and hoping to seek a permanent revenge her goal. A nightmare came haunting back at her when she stayed at her family’s cabin and these words would forever echo in her mind but would she heed their warning? “My darling, forgive and let go of the past for only you can save that little girl, or you can let her tormented soul haunt you for eternity.” What happens next will surprise the reader and the ending is definitely not what you might expect. Connecting with her sister-in-law, hearing the nightmares she went through because of Ella cemented what she thought was the only way bring her inner peace within herself.
What happens to both Ella and Jennifer as a result of a rash decision will make each and everyone one of you reflect upon your life, your feelings and your true self. Would you do what Jennifer did in order to save yourself? What is the final image that they both see in that mirror? Ella and Jennifer: mother and daughter: The same not so different and their ending will unite them forever. Just how and why you will have to learn for yourself as sometimes things that are reflected in front of you can often give you a distorted perspective unless you look long and hard to find the true image. Thorns of an Innocent Soul: Will Jennifer ever be able to remove these sharp edges? Ella/Jennifer: two lost souls but just how innocent: You decide! This is definitely a book that you want to read which will teach you the true value of family, love, caring and what really matters in life. Looking into that mirror and whose image do you see? Yours or Ella’s: Think about it
Fran Lewis: Reviewer