The Third Return

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Pub Date May 31 2022 | Archive Date Dec 06 2022

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“...nothing short of beautiful.”— Nicole Munoz, Mental Health Advocate

It is not the usual story told by a victim or survivor, but rather by a daughter who lived to witness the domestic abuse of her mother for seventeen years. This story provides an intimate perspective of the strength it took to recover from the wounds of loss and trauma while lending readers a look at household violence through the eyes of a child. 

After Monica’s mother remarried and a new baby brother was born, her stepfather, Ian, transformed their Chicago home into a smothering confinement that seeded fear, tension, and horrific abuse. Although her childhood was consumed with dysfunction and confusion, as she grew older, the tormenting cycle of violence became clear to her, and she rebelled against the daily manipulation of her sadistic stepfather.

With continual insistence, she urged her mother to stay away from Ian long enough to break the cycle of leaving and returning. But in spite of her pleas, her mother returned to Ian a third time, and her decision resulted in a feared and tragic outcome that shattered their family as well as their hearts. Yet in spite of the devastation caused by her stepfather, Monica and her siblings bravely struggled to overcome the unexpected pain and grief, and ultimately found lasting peace in their lives.

It is because of her experiences and her awakened understanding of life that the author has come to believe that every life is beautiful. It is with this perspective that she shares her story and encourages her readers with this final message: You are a Beautiful Life.

“A powerful story shared from a lesser-told perspective—an absolute must-read." — Ciara Suarez, LMHC
“...nothing short of beautiful.”— Nicole Munoz, Mental Health Advocate

It is not the usual story told by a victim or survivor, but rather by a daughter who lived to witness the domestic abuse of her...

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ISBN 9781950906680
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Featured Reviews

So interesting to read a story about domestic violence from the perspective of a child. The cycle of leaving and going back was written in a way that showed how Monica’s understanding and attitude about their situation changed the older she got. The fact that the family never gave up hope of getting justice for their mother showed determination and strength. Thought provoking and written from the heart I would recommend this book so that a greater understanding about domestic violence and the struggles faced by the children involved can be gained. Monica shows that she has an amazing strength of character and is using her story to do good. Thank you to Netgalley, Indigo River Publishing and of course Monica Medina for giving me the opportunity to read this story about resilience, love, grief but ultimately never giving up hope.

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This is a story of a girl growing up in Chicago. It’s also about teen angst, siblings, music, family, school, and relationships. Monica, however, grew up in a family that suffered the consequences of the domestic abuse by Ian, her step-father. He smothered and controlled everyone and was a violent and unforgiving man. Even though she loved him, she hates him at the same time. Her mother suffered regular beatings which the children were witnesses to but powerless to stop.

This is a raw and at times, difficult read. It shows that Monica tries to have a normal childhood but her dysfunctional family makes it difficult for her to grow conventionally. The pressure of developing normally in a household constantly on edge, never knowing if they will receive a smile or a slap from a controlling bully. It is a story told by a daughter witnessing the brutality of domestic violence against her mother. A mother who was so controlled by her husband, each time she left him and took the family to safety, she went back to him. As she grows older she pleads with her mother to leave him but she always goes back. The final time resulted in tragedy.

Thanks to NetGalley and Indigo River Publishing for allowing me to read and review the early copy.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
Domestic violence is always horrifying to read about and this perspective of violence against the author's mother is especially horrible. Told through the eyes of a child, then a teen, and adult looking back, she really shows how growing up witnessing the violence can have lifelong effects. Without giving any spoilers, I just have to say this is an incredibly sad story but there's hope in the end.

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The Third Return is a heartbreaking, raw and emotional memoir telling the story of a daughter’s experience witnessing the horrors of domestic violence. It was extremely difficult to read, but it was important and real.

It was told with brutal honesty - showing the effects this had over the author’s life. It was unique in it showed the effects on a child growing up in brutality, and how it affected them as a person and any difficulties they experienced.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher, for the chance to read and review this emotional book.

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Reading books like this is difficult for some. Others can draw strength from the author’s experience. Monica’s mother was in an abusive relationship with her stepfather for a long time. She escaped twice, but inexplicably went back to him and met her demise. Medina’s story focuses that relationship and how it impacted her entire life.
She waited a long time for the judicial system to catch up and when it did, the real healing began.

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Medina opens her heart and soul and shares her perspective as someone growing up in a home with domestic violence. Even though she is writing this as an adult, it is clear that the way she felt as a child is still very clear and memorable to her. Her experience is heartbreaking but eye opening - demonstrating how domestic violence impacts children and why women stay or return to their abusers. I can't imagine the reliving of trauma that went into writing this, but I hope it was equally healing for Medina to share her mother's story with us.

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This memoir tells the story of pain and domestic violence in a way that is understandably emotional and yet full of strength. A deep and profoundly impactful story and one I would recommend. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book.

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