Thursday 29 June 2017

Blog Tour: Her Last Breath by Tracy Buchanan

I am so excited to be kicking off the tour for Her Last Breath by Tracy Buchanan today. I can't believe it was a year ago that I read her last book, No Turning Back. The buzz around that book was enormous and I got all the ladies in my office reading it. Now Tracy is back with her fourth book which is out today! As part of the tour I have a intriguing extract of the book- this is right that the beginning of the book so no spoilers ahead. Enjoy!


Description of the child’s daily life and experience at the time harm was identified.
Estelle is a seven-year-old white British girl born to parents with long-standing drug addiction issues. Estelle lives with her parents in a two-bedroom local authority flat.

My observation during visits is that the flat is kept in an untidy state. Unclean plates are often left out, carpets are stained and filled with debris, and discarded bottles of alcohol can be seen. Estelle’s bedroom is kept in a reasonably tidy state with a small single bed and a wardrobe. On closer inspection, however, her duvet appears to have not been cleaned for several weeks.

Estelle has informed me in private on several occasions that her parents are still asleep when she wakes. She learnt to dress and feed herself in the morning from the age of six. A typical breakfast is toast and butter, or leftover dinner from the evening before. Estelle noted that she would prefer cereal, but the milk she finds is often sour.

Estelle attends school at Greyswood Primary, a ten-minute walk from her home. Her head teacher, Mrs Jenny Pyatt, informs me Estelle is rarely accompanied by her parents on the short walk from her flat, and parents report having seen her walking to the school alone since she began at the age of four, something Estelle’s mother denies.

Mrs Pyatt informs me Estelle arrives at school dishevelled and unclean on a regular basis. On first starting school at the age of four, she arrived wearing a nappy. But with the help and care of her teachers, she is now able to go to the bathroom.

Estelle’s attendance rate is below average and her parents have only attended one parents’ evening. On this occasion, the police had to be called due to Mr Forster’s abusive behaviour towards the teachers.

In the evenings, Estelle informs me she eats dinner – often chips bought from the local fish and chip shop by her parents or a microwave meal – while watching TV. As detailed in previous reports, there have been two occasions where she has been reported as being left alone while her parents were at the local pub. Her average bedtime is 11 p.m. This continues into the weekend where Estelle spends the majority of her time indoors watching TV or reading.

Estelle does not benefit from any extended family due to both her parents being solo children and her grandparents having passed away.

Estelle has struggled to form friendships due to her low attendance rate at school and her generally shy and reserved nature. Her teachers inform me she takes comfort in retreating to the school library during breaks and has shown a keenness in improving her reading and writing skills. She takes particular joy in any lessons involving food.

The last time I visited Estelle before the distressing incident that led to her being removed from her parents, she was attempting to teach herself how to bake a chocolate cake. It is clear she is a bright girl who could thrive given the right circumstances. But when I mentioned this to her, she informed me her father laughed at her when she told him she wanted to be a chef, and told her the closest she’d get would be ‘working at the local chippie’. I detected a real sense of sadness and pain when she said this.

Combined with the terrible recent incident, I strongly recommend Estelle is permanently removed from her parents before long-lasting emotional damage occurs. It is my professional opinion that we may already be too late.

Her Last Breath is out now

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