A Skylark Flies

12 July 2019
NZ Christian Writers

A Skylark Flies

by | Jul 12, 2019

A Skylark Flies

By Robyn Cotton
Published by DayStar Books Ltd 2017

Rose, a young Kiwi, is on a working holiday in the UK, to discover her roots. When in Scotland, she is subjected to a brutal assault by a local man, Tommy.

Their lives will never be the same again, While Rose fights to recover from her emotional trauma, Tommy, a victim of lifetime abuse, struggles with guilt. The choices they make will ultimately determine whether they live life as victims or rise above it.

Inspired by true events A Skylark Flies is a poignant story of forgiveness. It gives the reader a window into the souls of two very different characters whose stories converge at critical points.

The assailant has power over the victim, induced by fear – and the victim has power to release him from his guilt and shame.

Excerpt from Focus Magazine

By Millie Freeman

While on her OE in 1981, Robyn Cotton was enjoying a walk in the hills above the village of Lesmahagow in Scotland when she was brutally attacked from behind and strangled. So tight was the attacker’s grip, Robyn struggled for breath and felt herself drifting into unconsciousness. A rush of adrenalin urged her to fight back and the man let go, giving her a chance to break free. Issuing a threat on her life if she went to the police, the attacker took off, leaving Robyn bewildered and traumatised.

Now living in Tauranga, Robyn recently published her first novel as a way to finally put an end to this episode in her life. She has returned to the town several times and the spot where the incident took place, and while it no longer has any hold on her, she wanted an ending to this unfinished story.

A Skylark Flies tells the story of Rose, a fictional character who shares Robyn’s experiences. It also tells the story of Tommy, a young man who attacks Rose. Robyn knew nothing about her attacker, yet wrote the story to make sense of why he did it, and in doing so has created a novel offering hope, strength and positivity.

“I had the freedom to write the ending I never had,” says Robyn. “Through the book I could say things to my attacker that I never had the opportunity to say face to face, which was a really positive experience.

Review by Julia Martin – NZ Christian Writers

Inspired by true events, A Skylark Flies is the story of two fictitious individuals from totally different worlds. Rose, a single Kiwi on her OE in the UK, travels to Scotland to trace her family roots. On a deserted track outside the village of Lesmahagow, she meets Tommy, a local dropout with multiple problems, who brutally attacks and almost kills her. From this horrific encounter, both Rose and Tommy become victims and the trauma of this incident dogs them for the next 10 years.

The novel is a poignant story concerning the power of true forgiveness. When the two finally meet again in fortuitous circumstances, Rose is prepared to forgive Tommy, and with that act, both are freed from their overwhelming fear, guilt and shame of the past. Like skylarks, they are no longer weighed down by anything and are free to move on.

As Rose concludes: ‘Each life is a story, and we’re constantly colliding and bouncing off others, for good and for bad. These encounters can change the course of our lives, but we can control how we respond to them.’

This novel is well written and researched and the author has dedicated it to those who have experienced terror at the hands of another. I believe its message is capable of inspiring courage, determination and forgiveness in anyone struggling with fear and guilt from circumstances in the past. An excellent first novel and we look forward to another.


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NZ CHRISTIAN WRITERS is a nationwide collective of authors, bloggers, editors, lyricists, poets, publishers, songwriters, storytellers and writers throughout New Zealand. Along with our bi-monthly magazines and competitions we offer inspiring seminars and writers retreats to encourage, inspire and upskill people in their writing. NZ Christian Writers’ vision is to cultivate a vibrant community of Christian writers by connecting them to other like-minded writers in New Zealand. We welcome both beginner and experienced writers.

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