Set in the present, Penitence tells the tragic story of a young mother, Emma, whose past holds a dark secret which she finds hard to bear. Emma, who lives with her parents, gives birth to a daughter, Sophie, whose father Emma met at a party when she was drunk and who has no idea of Sophie’s existence.
Later, Emma meets Gabriel at a nightclub and quickly falls in love with him. She and Sophie soon move in with him, but before long cracks in their relationship begin to show. Disaster strikes when Sophie dies suddenly, which is caused in part by the betrayal of her two-timing boyfriend and Emma’s scheming ‘best friend’, Tara.
Some time after, Emma becomes romantically involved with divorced supermarket manager, Ian. He is far more smitten with her than she is with him, Emma being in love with Gabriel still, although unable to forgive him for his part in Sophie’s death.
Emma and Ian move to Bristol so that Emma can take up her place as a mature student at the university, having previously been obliged to relinquish her undergraduate place due to the birth of Sophie. It is here that Ian uncovers Emma’s dark secret, but in doing so he reveals that he may be far more involved than either of them had ever imagined…
Jude Williams lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire. She has been working as a teaching assistant at her local school for several years. Jude has always had a passion for creative writing and finally found the time to fulfil her dream of writing a novel once her children were all at school, and following major brain surgery several years ago, an experience that shocked her into re-evaluating her priorities.