“Eliza always thought of Camille when she saw blood. … Back then the sight of it made her nauseous and terrified. Now, years later, watching blood drip down her right pointer finger, she was annoyed, and slightly turned on.”
The opening paragraph of Alisha Perkins’ latest novel, Martyred (Eliezer Tristan), is certainly a grabber. Especially when the story starts off more innocently with a girls’ weekend between three best friends who bonded in college, are now well into their 30s and are in need of a getaway. However, as we soon learn, their getaway suddenly becomes their nightmare, and the power of their deep-rooted connection is tested.
While Martyred is a thrilling page-turner, it also tackles women’s most pressing issues of being respected in the workforce, motherhood, not choosing motherhood, mental health, and sexual harassment and assault, and enforces the concept that there are infinite ways for a woman to lead a fulfilling life.
Camille, a career woman first and wife and mother second, is a leading anchor of her New York news station and has quite the following. What her followers don’t see is a crumbling marriage and an insecurity that goes deeper than anyone (but Eliza) could ever know.
Perkins artfully navigates the inner turmoil of the three friends’ personal and professional lives, with the focus on a party thrown by the owner of Camille’s network. That night their everyday struggles become menial in the chaos that ensues, as relationships end, celebrity secrets are unleashed, and quick thinking is imperative when they find themselves in grave danger.
Eliza, the stay-at-home mother of two, is sweet and compassionate by nature and wouldn’t want to do anything to rock the boat. Or, as it turns out, when the opportunity arises, it just so happens she would.
Vera defies gender norms as the take-charge founder of her PR company. Her intimidating presence never fails to get the job done, except when it comes to opening up to her longtime girlfriend as well as her best friends. Though Vera may be the most powerful person in the room, she still has to learn the power of her own vulnerability.
With cliffhanger after cliffhanger, the novel provides readers with well-paced, bite-sized chapters that keep them surging forward with anticipation. Despite their fears of settling into lives they didn’t want for themselves, this one weekend changes everything for Eliza, Camille, and Vera and turns them into more than mothers, wives, and industry titans. Together they become martyrs.
As Vera realizes, “Damaged women were the most dangerous kind because they already know how to survive.”
Martyred is available for purchase.
About Alisha Perkins
Alisha’s writing has been published in Women’s Running, Huffington Post, and Fitness Most Magazine among many others. She has always been a fierce advocate for breaking the stigma that surrounds mental illness today, and depicts her own struggle with anxiety and depression in her first book, Running Home. She has since ventured into writing fiction, with a specific interest in women’s fiction and thrillers. Mental health is also the topic of a recent TEDx talk, “How Many Celebrities Does it Take to Change a Stigma,” for which she was the speaker.