Behind a Broken Smile

-by Penny Jones

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It’s only for two weeks. I parrot my mum’s words. I’m safe here, there’s nothing to fear, it’s just me and my nan. A chance to bond again after all those years. It’s not as if my dad is going to pop round for tea, that I’ll go downstairs and find him sat at his old chair at the scratched Formica table in the kitchen. He’s down the road, buried under six foot of earth.

It’s just a doll, I tell myself as I reach towards it. Nothing more than an old woman’s attempt to reconnect with her granddaughter.

Behind a Broken Smile brings together 21 uncanny stories of the beauty and horror that lie at the heart of everyday life. From the childish pleasure of clowns and dolls, to the simple scent of flowers or the tang of the sea drifting on the breeze, what brings joy to one can bring terror to another. Penny Jones brings her own unique voice to this collection of harrowing tales.

“Penny Jones’ Behind a Broken Smile contains all the heartbreak of the world. It explores the effects of trauma, abuse, poverty and isolation, the trials of childhood and parenting, and how these interplay with mental illness. Sometimes her writing is delicate, sometimes droll, sometimes shocking, but always pleasingly weird.”
—Priya Sharma

Paperback – £11.99

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ebook – £2.49

ePub PDF


  • Format ~ Collection
  • Length ~ 200 pages
  • Published ~ 29th September 2022
  • ISBN ~ 978-1-913038-79-3