Waterloo, ON -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/11/2014 -- Child and Family Therapist Gabriela Elias has seen the agony and heartbreak that comes from domestic violence and child abuse. In her debut novel, ‘The Crying Orchid’, Elias brings much-needed awareness to these issues, while still writing a raw and detailed fictionalized account of one woman’s stormy and painful marriage.
‘The Crying Orchid’ is the story of Michaela Martenz, a dreamy young woman with only the sweetest hopes for her future. Living in Eastern Europe, Michaela longs for escape, and soon finds it in the charming Eduard Verner. Whisked away to marry, Michaela leaves everything behind – including her friends, family, and ultimately, the life she had before. Soon, Eduard’s true nature comes to light – he is unpredictable, controlling and an alcoholic with a violent temper. Isolated and driven to despair, Michaela fights to save her young child from the abuse and in the end, must make the hardest decision of all.
While it is never easy to read about the suffering caused by abuse, ‘The Crying Orchid’ is a vital book for our time; a realistic depiction of what it means to be the one always waiting for a slap or punch, and what it feels like to be the innocent child caught in the middle.
Michaela Martenz is a dreamer. As a young woman living in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, she wants adventure and passion in her life, and nothing will stop her from achieving that. She is courted by Eduard Verner, a charming man who promises her that and more, but in her naiveté, she fails to recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship. Ignoring the warnings of her friends and family, Michaela marries Eduard and moves away, leaving everyone she knows behind-including her best friend, Nikolas, who has always loved her. But instead of happiness, her new life is a nightmare of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her controlling, jealous, alcoholic husband. Now a young mother to little Orchid, she fears for her daughter's safety as well. The product of a broken home herself, Michaela is determined to keep her family together for Orchid's sake. She knows that Eduard's own abusive childhood has affected his life in unspeakable ways and prevents him from seeing the impact of his behaviour on his own family. Michaela does everything she can think of to fix her shattered marriage, but nothing is helping. When Eduard seriously injures their three-year-old daughter, Michaela reaches a breaking point. Aware of the risks, she must now find the courage needed to leave her abusive marriage behind and start a new life. But an enraged Eduard is not about to relinquish control over his family. Will his threats undermine her newfound resolve and freedom?
As a therapist, Gabriela Elias is well aware that many people are not versed on the warning signs or typical red flags that signal abuse.
“Although it is a suspenseful story with fictional characters and imagined events, I tried to use typical abusive signs before and during the domestic violence,” says the author. “Such signs often include, but are not limited to isolation, violent temper, hitting/punching/throwing things, yelling, blaming his abusive behavior on his partner and many other abusive signs, such as restricting her from working, controlling her financially or preventing her from having other friendly relationships. These are all things I’ve seen in my line of work.”
Continuing: “In this book, I have also used typical behaviours of men that perpetrate domestic violence to capture the cycle of abuse and the difficulty for a woman to leave such a relationship. However, readers shouldn’t be put off by this darkness – Michaela is resilient, and she displays great love and compassion for herself, her child and others. In the end, she makes the right choice. This novel captures more than issues of domestic violence; it provides a glimpse into why abuse occurs in the first place and provides people with some awareness, hope, strength, and compassion.”
‘The Crying Orchid’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1gHVJWQ
About Gabriela Elias
Gabriela Elias emigrated from the former Czechoslovakia to Canada when she was twenty. She is currently a Child and Family Therapist, providing clinical therapy to clients dealing with trauma-related issues. She lives with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada.