NEW BOOK: Finding hope after abuse

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After abuse… what?
Whom can you believe?
Learning to trust again
Aimed at young adults and those who seek to help them
A search for meaning and worth
Gripping and relevant story

‘A story of hope.’
Mark Blackwell, Safeguarding Advisor, Hampshire County Council

The twenty-first-century challenges faced by many children and teenagers both here in the UK and around the world are increasingly brought to our notice. From the horrors of domestic child abuse and child sex trafficking to online grooming, self-harm, bullying and teenage stabbings, barely a day goes by without reference to the dangers some young people face.

The Runaway addresses these issues head on in a riveting story which focuses on fourteen-year-old Tiago, a teenager of Portuguese heritage who, having suffered multiple types of abuse in his home and bullying at school, runs away to the streets of London. As we follow his journey, these difficult social issues are portrayed in ways that educate and enlighten young readers.

Author Mary Weeks Millard says, One reason I began writing this book was the rise of self-harm among teenagers. As well as having raised three children I worked as a school nursing sister and health educator in South London schools, and was the leader of a Covenanter group of more than thirty teenage girls in the 1980s. I became aware, even then, of some of the problems they faced in their everyday lives. As a counsellor, I met with many adults who were trying to deal with issues that had begun in their youth, and some regularly self-harmed. They gave me more insight into this condition, but also I saw healing and hope come through finding a real Christian faith.’

Run, run, as fast as you can, had become a mantra that rang in fourteen-year-old Tiago Costas mind every day as he tried to escape from the gang of bullies at school and to burn away the pain of his intolerable situation at home. Could running away be the answer? Things go from bad to worse when, living rough as one of the ‘railway sleepers’ gang, he is made aware that he is wanted by the police as his mother’s boyfriend has accused him of a horrible crime, and he runs once more. Will he ever find peace and security and the love he craves, or see his sister or mother again? Maybe living in a rural place will keep him safe – or should he try to reach Portugal to find his grandparents? Through many difficult situations, Tiagos life is changed, and he finds the things for which he was searching.

Mary says, One thing I want my readers to realise is that there is hope for everyone in the love of God, and growing to know and trust Him, whatever they may have faced in the past, have to deal with in the present or may have to overcome in the future. Each person is special to God.

What reviewers say:

‘In this novel Mary Weeks Millard describes how Tiago, a victim of all four categories of abuse, deals with what is happening to him, without dwelling on the abuse itself. She crafts into the story some of the ways that the victims of abuse deal with the pain, but this isn’t a novel that delves into the darkness of abuse, but a story of hope and learning to trust again. On his journey, Tiago finds people across the age and social spectrum who could hurt him or could help him. He has to decide if he will trust again. Are the gang of runaways going to be like the bullies at school or will their shared experience bring a level of understanding? Can he trust the gypsies or are the stereotypes of them true? Who is he? What worth does he have? Can he trust anyone? Does he belong anywhere and what does family really mean?
‘Tiago discovers he has a value and can be loved as a friend, as a brother, as a son and as a boyfriend; that real love is not conditional or self-serving, but sacrificial and unconditional; that if you are being abused there are people whom you can trust and who will help you – because it’s not right and you don’t have to live with it.’
Mark Blackwell, Safeguarding Advisor, Hampshire County Council


The Runaway by Mary Weeks Millard (ISBN: 9781912726011) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 21st March 2019 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Fiction, 240pp, £7.99.


  • Mary Weeks Millard

    Mary Weeks Millard has been writing book for young people since 2009. She is a retired nurse/midwife who lives...

  • The Runaway

    Mary Weeks Millard

    ‘Run, run, as fast as you can!’ – the cry rings out in Tiago’s ears as he flees his abusive step-father and the only...