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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  34 reviews
You died in April 1965, a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.
Seven year old Susan is alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose.
The Guilt informs the rest of her life.
When it threatens to destroy not only her but her relationship with her new baby,she must revisit the past to fin
Paperback, 1, 196 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Joan Ellis Publications (first published December 1st 2014)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  49 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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“Guilt” by Joan Ellis is about a tragic accident and the consequences thereafter.

I never heard of this author, but all I can say is WOW! Can she ever write a powerful novel. I loved this story. I am so happy that Maxine Groves, publicist for Booklover Catlady Publicity, recommended this novel to the group. While this novel is listed as a psychological thriller, I would classify it as a psychological drama.

“You died on August 8th 1965, a month before your fourth birthday. You were probably dead
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: You died in April 1965,a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Seven year old Susan is alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose.
The Guilt informs the rest of her life.
When it threatens to destroy not only her but her relationship with her new baby,she must revisit the past to find the truth.
What she discovers is as horrifying as it is magical.

MY THOUGHTS: Once started, I was u
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I have review copies of this fab book! Email me for your copy.

Joan Ellis is a writer that needs to be noticed. It's so exciting when you discover a writer that has not hit the big time but you know that they are on their way there, it's like finding a diamond amongst a pile of rubble. And believe you me, I have read a lot of rubble on the way.

Guilt was a book that I did not put down once I picked it up, it engaged me fully right from the very first chapter. It's a bo
The subtitle of this short book is “Mark Wheeler: 1960-1965”

First sentence:

“You died in April 1965, a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.”

Susan was only 7 years old, left home alone to look after little Mark while Dad’s still at work and Mum’s dolled up and gone to the pub.

Her parents deal badly with the loss, Mum disappearing, Dad just being neglectful. Susan’s guilt overwhelms her for the next decade. She grow

I give this my personal 3.05 stars. Its a very good story, full of very good characters what come to life among the pages as you read, its a short story, compacted with a lot of information.

Susan is 7 years old, she loves her Mother but her Mother has reserved all her love for her Mark, who was her son, he is dead now. Her Mother loves to drink.

When Susan was left alone with her brother Mark, he took an overdose, at a young age, she blamed herself.

Susan grows and she gives birth to her own son,
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: bcp
What Ellis does really well is put the clear voice of her character at the forefront of the story. In this, Susan reminded me of Rachel in The Girl on the Train. Regardless of what you think about the women, you do not for a second question their realness. This is what real people are like and this is their experience. To get that much into such a short book is a significant talent.

However, I didn't like the way the narrative was addressed by Susan to her dead brother, Mark. This is not a critic
Linda Strong
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Susan was 7 years old and babysitting her 2-years younger brother, Mark. Tragedy strikes when Mark takes a handful of pills that belonged to their mother. When their father arrives home, he finds the two children lying on the floor .. Mark is dead.

Susan is now an adult with a young son of her own, but she still feels the responsibility and guilt of her brother's death. So how is she to forgive herself and go on with her life?

This is a short book, with Susan speaking to her brother, trying to mak
What kind of parents would assume a seven-year-old could supervise a four-year-old while left home alone? Susan’s mother did just that, leaving her to keep her inquisitive young brother, the family favorite out of trouble. Accidents happen, freak accidents when anyone turns their back on a child. That night little Mark decided to try his mother’s “candy” and he died. The tenuous family ties were shredded and her mother left, leaving her with only her cold and distant father and the weight of the ...more
Diana Johnson
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Guilt by Joan Ellis, Raw, Painful and Honest!
I found Guilt a book I couldn't put down and from the first page was hooked, I needed to continue on and find Susan's truth. What exactly had happened on the day he died and could she have stopped Mark or had she in some way contributed to his death?
From the very first paragraph I felt the brutality of the statement of Mark having died just short of his first birthday while his mother was out drinking and with a man who was not her husband.
I also was
Debra Slonek
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Seven year old Susan, and her younger brother, Mark, endured a less than ideal childhood and home life. Mark was the one human being with whom Susan was truly connected. Unfortunately, due to extremely poor parenting, Mark lost his life. From that moment on, guilt and a great sense of loss and disconnection followed Susan everywhere.

All of the neglect, abuse and disappointments wore on Susan. Life made no sense.

There weren't just gaps in her environment, there were gaping holes. Relationships wi
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm going out on a limb here but when I finished it - all I thought was "is that it?" I'm not heartless but I am logical. I can see why a seven year old child would feel guilty if her little brother died in her care, especially in such a dysfunctional family. But why on earth would a grown woman continue to think that way? Why couldn't she talk about it to her husband? I think some readers may have thought she was very brave but to me Susan came across as someone too fearful to live. Her logic a ...more
J. Kahele
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller

I was at first confused at where the story was going. Not sure if it was being told in first person or third person. But I believe that was the clever touch of the pen by the author.

The story is told through the eyes of Susan. At the age of seven, her irresponsible mother leaves her alone with her four year old brother who chooses to be a tragic mistake, after her brother finds his mothers tablets and takes them subsequently losing his life.

As an adult Susan finds it difficult to bond w
Freda Malone
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won this in the 'first reads' giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity Joan.

At first, it was difficult to get used to reading a book in 'self' (Susan) to a 'dead brother'. Then I got used to it. It was as if she were thinking aloud to herself and soon it became easier. I realized toward the end of the story that Joan wanted us to get inside the mind of young girl, then young woman, who might be experiencing a mental illness.

Mental Disorder: a mental or bodily condition marked primarily by suffic
Sarah Joint
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This one put me through the wringer a bit. It's definitely not a feel good novel, though it does have its heartwarming moments. Most of it is bleak and raw. I'm happy to discover what I think is a very talented author and look forward to reading more of her work.
Many years ago, Susan's little brother died while in her care. The guilt from his death continues to rule her life even when she has her own little boy to mother. Shockingly, the tragedy happened when she was only seven and her little b
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, kindle
4.5 stars

Almost perfect, right down to its brevity.

This is the story of Susan, a young woman marked for misery and loneliness before she's 5. Her parents favor her younger brother, but leave the two of them alone all too often. And of course, this leads to tragedy.

More tragedy waits for Susan in the aftermath of the accident that defines her life. Yet eventually she catches a break or two, and makes the most of it. But when she finds love, she isn't quite ready for a loving, trusting relationshi
Mark Tilbury
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Susan was left home alone with her younger brother. He took an overdose and died. Guilt filled her childhood. Always blaming herself and trying to explain things to Marks memory/spirit leads Susan to grow up needing answers and reassurance that events that day were not her fault.

This book has some of the best opening lines I've read. They pack a punch, draw you into the book and lead into the day that impacted on Susan's life. All the characters are well developed. Some I liked and others (Susan
Misfits farm
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Woah! From the outset the main character draws you into to her world as a child…. And takes you back to your own (if you are of a certain age) where things were different and we were treated differently to how most children are today.
The raw emotions of the main character takes you right into the cupboard with her (you have to read it to understand). Whilst reading this it made me feel emotional and taken back to another era. That said I could not put this book down. If anyone ever says events
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this from BookLover CatLady in return for an honest review, thank you.

Although a short book that could have comfortably read in one or two sittings, I was trying to read it in quiet moments during a stressful time so it took my longer than planned.

It was a very interesting read, it's written although the protagonist Susan is writing or even just talking to her lost brother, Mark.

Although I'm far from maternal, this book touched me. How one or two events that someone so young can exper
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
urgh, don't know what to say about this, I didn't enjoy it, but I didn't hate it, I nothinged it. to me there wasn't enough story to warrant the book, It would have made a perfect novella

I didn't really like the characters, I really didn't care what happened to them, ( but then I find this if the character and I share no traits,) and I worked out the 'big reveals' chapters ahead of their reveal. Had the story been more eventful I would have enjoyed it. I feel like it's a good first draft, but ne
Babus Ahmed
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Susan has been haunted with her brother's death and the events surrounding the incident. She was only a seven year old child herself at the time of Mark's death but has blamed herself for his loss. Her strained relationship with her parents means that Susan cannot communicate with them but she has to put old ghosts to rest when she has her own son.

A dark and heartening story of a young girls grief and guilt. This psychological crime thriller had me at the edge of my seat and I could not put it
Winter Sophia Rose
Gritty, Dark, Emotional & Gripping! A Mesmerizing Read! I Loved It!
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was well written but it contains material that could be a trigger to many people as it delves on childhood sexual abuse.
Digital Book Freak
***First I would like to thank Joan Ellis, the author, and Booklover Catlady Publicity for providing me with a free copy of Guilt in exchange for an honest review. My rating is 4.5 stars.


“You died in April 1965, a month before your fifth birthday. You were probably dead long before Mum downed her third gin with Porky Rawlings.
Seven year old Susan is alone with her younger brother when he dies of an overdose.
The Guilt informs the rest of her life.
When it threatens to destroy not only her bu
Cynthia Harrison
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Joan Ellis’s Guilt is an unconventional novel, a perfect example of what writers are capable of when unconstrained by convention. This quiet book packs a loud punch, bringing round for final inspection the idea that life is a circle and as it nears the end, the beginning will tend to rear its ugly head. Especially if the beginning is fraught with psychological damage such as that suffered by Susan, who as a small child witnessed the neglect and death of her younger, much beloved, brother Mark.

Nicki Southwell
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing

What a shocker!! This is such a sad story, brilliantly told. One person's life spent laden down with guilt and the consequences wrecking the future. Despite the ghastly life these people live, it is totally believable.

Susan is left alone with her 4 year old brother who eats some of “mummy's sweets”. Father comes home to find Susan trying to wake Mark up. Then things become a nightmare as Mother arrives back as well. Police become involved but somehow no one is charged.

Mum soon walks out having l
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is very different to ‘I’m Ella. Buy Me’ which I read and reviewed in October last year. This is not a bad thing; it shows Joan’s marvellous writing talent at different genres.

Guilt is dark and at times horrifying when reading what happens to Susan as she grows up with her parents. They show her not even one ounce of love. They are often cruel to her and it’s terrible to read, I felt really sorry for her.
The book is written as if Susan is talking to Mark her brother who died just befor
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an Incredible read, captivating and outstanding. The author has a natural talent for writing and has made this story blossom. The book is thrilling yet conveys so many different raw emotions, it's like a rollercoaster of emotions.

Joan has made the main character so unbelievably real, you feel their pain and sorrow.

The story is heart breaking yet simply brings a lot of strong points to the table for you to contemplate, the story stays with you after it's finished. After reading Guilty I
Rajalakshmi Prithviraj
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As I kept reading the story, I felt myself empathizing with Susan, the protagonist. Her tears, her pain, her desperation, her unhappiness, all touched many chords in my heart.

The pain of losing someone dear is something which cannot be expressed in words, but being blamed for that loss leaves one feeling guily for the rest of one's life.

Joan Ellis has brought out the unhealed wounds of a young woman named Susan Wheeler. The emotional and mental trauma that Susan underwent as a seven year old, fo
Trish Jackson
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All of Susan's mother's love is reserved for her four-year-old brother, Mark, and seven-year-old Susan knows she can never expect so much as a hug from her.
Her mother often leaves the children home alone, which eventually leads to a terrible tragedy. Their father arrives home to find the boy lying unresponsive on the floor, and despite his efforts to save his son's life, Mark dies.
Susan is severely disturbed by the traumatic events of that night. From that day forward, Mark is in her thoughts c
Lynn Mccarthy
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everybody who likes a good story
Susan was asked to look after her brother Mark while her mum went out but her brother decided to take mummy's special lollies (which was tablets) and when her dad came home from work he found Mark dead on the floor.
Her mother and father never had anytime for susan it was always Mark and susan feels the guilt of what happened especially as she can not remember some of that night.
Later in life with a child of her own she has to find out the truth of what happened that night and what she can not re
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I spent years penning letters from dogs. As an award-winning copywriter, you have to be adaptable! I worked with talented people including Paula Yates, Jennifer Saunders and Harry Enfield. With a full-time job in a London advertising agency and a new baby, I did what any right-minded woman would've done and set up a comedy club. I even appeared on the same bill as Jo Brand. Once. As a university l ...more
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