About the book:
Hope’s Merry-Go-Round is the latest addition to Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour’s collection of incredible stories told. The idea for the story mooted when she read an article in the newspaper about sexual abuse by a sibling, something she felt was an abuse seldom talked about.
Here is the tragic story of Hope, a quiet child, often ignored by her mother and two sisters throughout her growing up years. She was the “unwanted” accident in her family, the child her mother was afraid to have due to pregnancy complications. Her sisters, Faith, and Charity were much more advanced in age, while her brother, Jeremiah, was five years older.
Jeremiah’s mean streak began from the time she was born since he detested his parents having another baby. He would soon traumatize and hurt Hope even as a young toddler.
Her mother would brush away his bullying tactics by saying that it would teach her not to be a cry baby, whenever Hope cried at his antics or threw a tantrum.
The only consoling factor was that her dad doted on her, which made up for some of the hurts she experienced. She was somewhat comforted by the warmth and affection he showered on her, although he often turned a blind eye to his wife’s careless dismissal of Jeremiah’s taunts and bullying.
At eleven, Jeremiah began to sexually abuse Hope, which lasted till she turned thirteen. Hope couldn’t understand how as a sibling he behaved in such an indecent manner and was helpless during the assaults.
She kept the abuse a secret in order not to hurt her parents. Anyway, she wasn’t sure if her mother who doted on her brother and who could see no wrong in him, would believe her if she confided in her.
She withdraws into her shell.
She turns to a life of promiscuity as an adult, teaching during the day, and turning the nights into a sexual haunt.
She meets and befriends Cooper, a gay, who turns out to be her best friend and confidante. He had his problems but was there for her in every way as a good friend.
When she and Cooper were insulted by Jeremiah at a family Christmas dinner, Hope, embarrassed and disgusted, attempts suicide – her third try but is saved in the nick of time by Cooper who rushes her to the hospital. Cooper had saved her life once before.
At the hospital, she is assigned to a medical counsellor by the name of Dr. Laurie Hudson. Laurie too had been abused by family members during her growing up years and had run away from home at the age of sixteen. She could relate to Hope’s suffering and wanted to help her overcome the trauma of a painful past.
They become good friends.
With Laurie’s guidance and counsel, Hope begins to heal as she slowly opens up about the mental anguish she had undergone as a child and the trauma of being a victim of sexual abuse.
Jeremiah dies, and a hateful past is buried with him.
The story ends on a positive note with Hope beginning a new chapter, a changed woman, more oriented to finding happiness and love as opposed to the sadness, fear, and shame that had hounded her all through her life. She finally makes peace with her family members.
I would recommend Hope’s Merry-Go-Round to anyone as an enlightening and informative read. Often, as Mary says in her book, sexual abuse by siblings is seldom highlighted.
The story will take the reader into the depths of hidden hurts and trauma of children at the hands of people closest to them, who turn out to be their worst nightmare.
The story also highlights how parents of abused children often don’t notice the warning signs of bullies and tormentors among their children. Turning a blind eye to the predicament of abused children will draw a wedge between the relationship of a parent and a child, as is the case of Hope, who was bullied and sexually abused by her brother from the age of eleven.
This heart-wrenching story will take you through the trauma of an abused mind and in the end, liberate you by the concerted touch of care and at the hands of gentle healing. In this regard, Dr. Laurie Hudson, and Hope’s best friend, Cooper turn out to be her saving grace.
Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour has written a remarkable, touching story about the realities of sexual abuse and, lifelong effects on the victims…Shobana Gomes
Another incredible book by Mary M. Cushnie Mansour. “Hope’s Merry-Go-Round” is an amazing story. It is raw and tells of a remarkable healing journey. You feel the story as you are reading it, almost as if you are there with Hope. Thank you for this book.…Susie Dyck
Hope’s Merry-Go-Round is very heart-wrenching and kept me on my toes the whole time; I never wanted to put it down! …Dana Applin-Schmidt
This story takes you for a riveting ride on an emotional rollercoaster. Such a fantastic read, capturing you from the very beginning and never letting you go. Mary’s ability to make you feel like you are a part of the story never ceases to amaze me. …Mary Sass
Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour does it again, dominating every genre she pens, whether children’s, mystery, poetry, fantasy, or realistic fiction. In Hope’s Merry-Go-Round, Cushnie-Mansour introduces us to a lovely but anguished heroine, Hope. We travel with Hope on her healing journey, crying and laughing with her but always rooting for Hope to heal and move on from her past abuse. Her friendship with Cooper is remarkable, and her sessions with her wonderful therapist, Laurie, are a treasure to read. This book is filled with sorrow but also hope that life can be filled with healing and happiness, even after the darkest of times. …Regina Jetleb
Mary, first, let me begin by saying I love all of your books––even when they are not a genre I have historically enjoyed, i.e., vampire. I have now read Hope’s Merry-Go-Round, and I loved it! I could not put it down and looked forward to reading it until the very last word. Although it is a work of fiction, many parts resonated with me, including crossing boundaries with a therapist. I found the book cathartic and helpful from a personal standpoint. …Carrie Davies
Tears flowed freely as I followed Hope in her journey of self-discovery. I appreciated where the story took me with such an intimate and intense narrative. This story could be the story of someone you know. That in itself is heart-shattering. If you want to take your emotions on a carnival adventure, Hope’s Merry-Go-Round is well worth reading. Wow, I am overwhelmed. …June Armstrong
I loved the book! Fantastic read. Somewhere in Hope’s story, we can all relate to the personal struggles and the need to be heard. We have all known a Cooper and a Jeremy. Very relatable …Ashlee Beal
by Canadian author, Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour
Hope has always felt her life was like a carousel – a continuous ride of hurt, disappointment, and shame she could never get off of. After years of self-loathing and desperate attempts to stop her merry-go-round of painful abuses, Hope meets Laurie, a doctor with her own dark secrets, who might be able to help Hope get off the ride. Brick by brick, Laurie works to bring down Hope’s walls, and finally, the carousel stops spinning as Hope begins to heal.
Hope’s Merry-Go-Round is a kaleidoscope of emotions and relationships that will surprise and shock you as you delve into the pages unravelling Hope’s life.
Cover photo by Cathleen Tarawitti
Cover layout by Josef Stevens, Smashing Pixels