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Purgatory Behind the Wire by Maureen O’Brien

Purgatory Behind the Wire

by Maureen O’Brien

196 pages
Two women experience postpartum psychosis; both are prisoners of guilt.

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
Aimy O’Neal and Janet Lansing could be any two middle-class women discussing the difficulties of parenting, except the setting--Western State Mental Hospital--is not ordinary, and Janet’s four children are dead. She is serving a life sentence for killing them while under the stress of postpartum psychosis.

As Aimy accompanies her friend, Cheryl, inside the state facility, it is more than curiosity drawing her to Janet. She thought I was afraid of the patients; I was afraid I should be one, reflects Aimy after encountering Janet for the first time.

Rejected and abused by her mother, Aimy has stumbled through life feeling inadequate but keeping up pretenses for the sake of her marriage and daughters. When the girls leave for college, Aimy’s fearful and reclusive nature finds temporary strength in an unlikely pen-pal relationship with Janet Lansing. Over time Aimy comes to believe Janet has been wrongfully indicted and encourages her to seek her release, while striking out on a new life of her own under the auspices of Dr. Paul Nichols.

The doctor had treated Aimy before, during the dark months following her son’s death. Back then, Aimy kept her part in that event a secret. She has carried this heavy weight for years, suppressing her emotions until depression descends upon her with a vengeance. Once again, Janet is exhibiting psychotic behavior.

Both women have secrets that can stay hidden no longer.



About the Author
Maureen O’Brien is a native Southern Californian. Married for thirty-one years, she and her husband, Dennis, have three sons. Her foray into writing began when her oldest son began filling out college applications. Purgatory Behind the Wire is her first novel.



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