Toni Maguire

“Don’t tell Mummy”, my memoir of my own childhood abuse, became a UK best seller in 2007. Writing about my experiences was hard emotionally, but in retrospect it has helped me deal with my past and realize that there is no shame in being the victim. It is never the child’s fault, whatever the abuser makes them believe at the time. How can it be? I then wrote a sequel, “When Daddy Comes Home”, which deals with the mental trauma of having a father jailed for incest, return to a home where my mother welcomed him back as if nothing had happened and turned her back on me. My success with my two autobiographies encouraged others who had kept their childhood secrets hidden to approach me and five books depicting their stories followed: Helpless, Nobody Came, Don’t You Love Your Daddy? Can’t Anyone Help Me? All very different, but with one thing in common; the victims all thought they were somehow to blame. I hope that my books have helped expose and lift the social taboos of acknowledging physical and emotional abuse together mental illness. Whereas children are victims, adults need to be survivors. I not only used my own name in my books, but placed my photograph there as well, making my point that no shame should be attached to having been a victim. To date I have published over 1.5 million books worldwide. In October last year France published Madeline’s story, “They Stole my Innocence,” which will be available in the UK in August. Before I wrote it, I had started writing my first novel; a mixture of fact and fiction which happily I have now finished, titled “Pretty Maids all in a Row” Set against the capricious, unequal and often cruel landscape of London’s Victorian era, it is the story of Agnes a fisherman’s daughter and Emily a heiress. One travels to London in search for her sister, the other is kidnapped, simply because she is was so beautiful. Both girls are taken to Mary Jefferies, the notorious brothel keeper whose clients were some of the most powerful men in England. Her sponsor was King Leopold, the cousin of Queen Victoria. Against this background the passionate men and women known as the Reformers were striving to get the age of consent. This is a major departure in the style of my writing and I think my previous fan-base and totally new readers of my work will find it enthralling.

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