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The Custody Battle, by Ellie Monago

The Custody Battle book cover
Madeline wants a divorce. Greg agrees to cooperate but has a plan to delay the proceedings in order to win back his wife and daughter…
The Custody Battle is a family drama about divorce proceedings.
Madeline has decided she wants a divorce and nothing will stop her. But Greg is going to try his best! They both want the best for their daughter Lola but things turn nasty as they compete to be the best parent. Secrets are ready to be revealed…
Initially, I thought Madeline was quite selfish. She hints that she has met someone else but is keeping this quiet so that the divorce can proceed quickly. Greg is completely blindsided by her announcement that their marriage is over and his kneejerk reaction is to fight to save his family. Lawyers and therapists soon get involved and both sides battle to sway opinion. My sympathy for Greg started to wane as his selfishness is also revealed.
The book is written through the alternating first person perspectives of Madeline and Greg so we are privy to their personal thoughts and feelings as the plot develops. This is extremely effective in aligning us with each character in turn so we perceive the other’s actions as unreasonable. I thought the representation of the family was realistic and the competition to ‘win’ the divorce felt authentic. It was so easy to see both sides and the value both of them added to the marriage yet how this was skewed during the divorce proceedings.
The Custody Battle is a vividly dramatic tale of divorce.
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The Custody Battle: A completely gripping and addictive domestic suspense novel
“What’s going to happen to me?” my little girl asks, clutching her teddy bear tight. “Daddy and I love you,” I reply. “Nothing is going to change.” But I was so wrong. How far will I have to go to keep my darling daughter?

When Greg and I first decided to separate, we promised to keep it civil for our daughter Lola. So when she stopped wanting to hug me, I thought Lola was just struggling with the divorce. Then she started screaming at me, calling me a liar, and I could hear Greg in her words. I’m certain he’s trying to turn our baby against me.

He’s determined to dig up dirt on me, to make the court think I’m a terrible mother… But two can play that game.

So when he reveals the worst thing I have ever done, my heart pounds in my chest. Because I know Greg’s deep dark secrets, too. But the more we each try to win, the harder it is to turn back. Now I’m terrified that we’ve put Lola in terrible danger…

By the time we realise what we’ve done, will it be too late for us to save her, or ourselves?

A completely gripping dark domestic suspense novel about a family tearing themselves apart, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Sally Hepworth.

Ellie Monago is the pen name of an acclaimed novelist and practicing therapist. She’s also a wife and mother, and when you add it all up, she doesn’t wind up with much time for hobbies. But she’s an avid tennis fan, a passionate reader of both fiction and nonfiction—especially memoir (nothing’s as juicy as the truth!)—and she relishes a good craft cocktail.

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