Only foster carer Maggie Hartley stands in the way of a young girl and the family determined to make her a child bride. A moving and inspirational true story from the Sunday Times bestselling author of TOO YOUNG TO BE A MUM and WHO WILL LOVE ME NOW?
The powerfully moving new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Maggie Hartley.
Fourteen-year-old Shazia has been taken into care after a conversation at school leads her teacher to suspect that the teenager's family are planning to send her to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.
To her family's fury, Shazia is sent to live with foster carer Maggie Hartley whilst social services investigate. But with Shazia denying everything and social services unable to find any evidence to support the teacher's fears, Shazia is allowed to return home.
But a few weeks later, Maggie is woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from a terrified Shazia, who has managed to escape the family home through a window. Sobbing, she confesses to Maggie that her parents are planning to send her to Pakistan to be married in a few days, and have threatened to kill her if she speaks out again.
Returned to Maggie's care, Shazia is petrified that her parents will track her down and kill her, and Maggie must be on constant alert. But the worst is yet to come when it emerges that Shazia is the victim of FGM. Can Maggie help this damaged and traumatised young girl understand what has happened to her and to find a way to heal?
In this new book, Maggie Hartley taps into the highly topical issues of FGM and arranged marriage, and presents a sensitive and unique insight into the effect these practices have on their young victims.
Maggie Hartley has fostered more than 300 children while being a foster carer for over twenty years. Taking on the children other carers often couldn't cope with, Maggie helps children that are deemed 'unadoptable' because of their behaviour or the extreme trauma they've been through. She's looked after refugees, supported children through sexual abuse and violence court cases, cared for teenagers on remand and taught young mums how to parent their newborn babies.