Matthew Williams is a 38-year-old Church of England clergyman. He has returned to the church after a year’s sabbatical following a violent assault on him and has recently been appointed editor of the Diocese of Aldabury’s church magazine.
The assault left Matthew with PTSD and has only increased his trust issues. His relationship with his ex-girlfriend hadn’t been going well even before the assault—she had wanted him to look for a country parish and he was appointed to an inner city parish instead. She then thought that when he resigned from his parish following the assult, he was, ‘flushing his career right down the toilet’. Their attempt to live together while he was on sabbatical was disastrous, with her continually nagging him to find another parish. They soon went their separate ways and Matthew moved in temporarily with a friend, sleeping on Mike’s sofa.
While waiting to begin work as editor and undergoing IT training, Matthew stands in for clergy who are away and he is asked to call to a woman claiming to be hearing strange noises in her house. He finds nothing stranger than a large bat roost in her attic and when he sees that Rachel is looking for a lodger is is he who asks if she would consider him.
Matthew hopes that by living in a beautiful cottage in the countryside, he can put the assult firmly in the past and look to the future. But only days after he moves in, the anonymous and increasingly frightening incidents begin.
Is Matthew being targeted? Is it Rachel? Or is it someone who has a grudge against both of them? And why? You’ll have to read The Image of Her to find out…
Rachel Harris was abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England and later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby?
Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task until Rachel meets Matthew Williams, a Church of England clergyman.
Then the anonymous and increasingly frightening attempts to end their relationship begin. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s birth?
Rachel saw nothing of Matthew the following day; didn’t hear him leave and didn’t hear him come home—but he must have—as she found a mug and plate, knife, fork, and spoon left to dry on the draining board the next morning.
That night, she was in bed with a detective novel when she heard him come home. Glancing at the clock radio, she saw it was ten to midnight. He came straight upstairs and went into his room. Some minutes later, she heard murmuring then a louder and clearer “Amen,” then all was quiet.
A few hours later, she was woken by an anguished cry. She leapt out of bed and ran across the landing just as another cry came from Matthew’s room.
“Matthew?” She knocked at his door, then thought to hell with it, and opened the door. Fumbling for the switch, she turned the light on. A bare-chested Matthew was sitting up in bed, the heels of his hands in his eyes, and his fingers in his hair clawing his scalp. Little by little, he dragged his hands down his face and groaned.
“What is it?” she asked, crouching down beside the bed and just managing to keep her voice steady.
“I’m okay.” He shrugged.
“No, you’re not. Want to talk about it?”
“It?” he repeated.
“I can’t remember it,” he told her in a flat tone. She knew he was lying. “I’ll be okay. Thanks, Rachel. Sorry for giving you a fright. Oh.” He rubbed his eyes. “Tomorrow… today, I don’t have to work, so I’ll have a lie-in.”
“All right. Goodnight.” Reluctant to leave him in such a state, she closed the door and returned to her room. As she got back into bed, she heard murmuring again.
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