Review of Sheila Dalton's THE GIRL IN THE BOX

Former bar singer and Buddhist meditator Caitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman from Guatemala, has killed Dr. Jerry Simpson, her partner of many years.

Caitlin struggles to understand what happened, and why. In the process, she confronts her own demons, as well as the innocence and wonder within Inez which seem to belie the young woman's violent actions.

For a chance to win one of three free copies of THE GIRL IN THE BOX, enter to win at Goodreads Contest ends November 18th.

Shelia Dalton’s THE GIRL IN THE BOX is a wonderfully constructed and intricately woven tale of a mute, seemingly autistic teenage girl who is rescued from a deplorable existence in the Guatemalan jungle. Chained and made to live in a windowless shed by her parents, Jerry, a Canadian psychoanalyst on vacation, rescues the girl by bringing her back home with him to Canada.

The novel begins with Jerry’s murder at the hands of the girl, Inez. This story is not a who dunnit, but instead delves into the why of it. After Jerry’s murder, his life partner, Caitlin is compelled to explore the workings of the damaged girl’s mind in an attempt to put the pieces together. Did the beautiful teenager kill Jerry because of something he did? This question haunts Caitlin and drives her to find answers.

Dalton takes us from Guatamala to Toronto to Labrador and we go willingly, unable to put the book down until we discover, along with Caitlin, the truth behind the murder.

THE GIRL IN THE BOX is a wonderful read. Dalton possesses genuine literary talent and I was greatly impressed. A five star read that I can’t recommend highly enough.

About the Author:

Sheila Dalton was born in England and came to Canada with her family at the age of six. She studied English Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. After dropping out for a year she sold arts and crafts on the streets of Toronto.

Sheila was a Contributing Editor for OWL magazine, and a Project Editor for a kids' science magazine called Discovery. Somewhere along the way, she earned a Masters of Library Science degree, and currently works as an Adult Services Librarian for the Toronto Public Library. She lives in Newmarket, Ontario with her husband and two cats.

The Facebook page of The Girl in the Box is at
You can find Sheila on Amazon, and also at Dundurn:
Sheila's Goodreads author page is:


  1. Thanks very much for this, Jeanne. I hope readers will enter the Goodreads giveaway. It's on until Nov. 18.
    Congratulations on your own fascinating read, Invisible.

  2. Shelia, I pimped your novel at work. I got to girls to put you on their Amazon book wishlists. I also tried to get my friend's book club to consider your book when it comes out.

    They prefer more lit fic than contemporary fiction so i was excited to have one to pimp to them. The group just finished Beloved. You are on the considered list.

    They vote once it comes out.



  3. Tirzah! I can't believe you did that for me! What a great person you are. I would be SO excited to be a book club read! The least I can do is send you a copy of the book when it's out.
    Not much of a reward, I know. I'll be looking for other ways to help you.

  4. Well all i want is someone to light a fire under my butt...I'm avoiding my book like I owe it money.


    I really want to finish a long book project finally.



  5. What's your book, Tirzah?
    Let me know. I'm already rubbing two sticks together and amassing kindling. All I need is your butt, and away we go!

  6. Well I use to write thrillers but the last two years, I'm working on an odd, odd humor book. A humorous tale of family, tasers, nudity and the penal system.

    :) It's called Plum Crazy. I decided one day to write a book doing all the things people told me never to do. It's a fun summer book but it won't ever win any awards for depth. :)


  7. I like the sound of it, Tirzah. I guess I'm going to have to tell you to stop spending time on my stuff, and do your own. Sigh. That is hard for me to do. I am self-centred and will not win any awards for depth.
    Seriously, don't avoid it - you know the rule: a few words a day, and your book is done before you know it. That's how I wrote "Slavery in Black and White" in a year (unlike my usual ten or twenty, LOL) - I just kept forcing myself to write more. Of course,now I will spend years revising!
    I don't know any of your thrillers. Have you published them?

  8. OH no, the thrillers were super bad. LOL. So were the werewolf novels I got into after that. I wish for them to be thrown on my funeral pyre once I'm dead. I have this horrible weakness for werwolf romances. Don't judge me, We all have our dirty little secrets. :)

    I'm a poet for the most part. It's where I've spent most of my writing life, polishing my poetry. But I got the fiction bug a while back. I've done a little fiction here and there but I sort of peter out between 38000 and 50,000 words. Plum is a little over 30,000 words. I just need to double that. :)

  9. My first novels were not my best. And they got published. Sometimes that is not such a good thing. Don't you envy people who write a book at, say, 23, and it's brilliant? Or should I say, "Don't you hate people ..." etc. ;)

  10. Well I think having your first book be a brillant blockbuster can bite you in the butt. Because that little voice in your head keeps telling you that you can't live up to your own press. But I never had that problem. I've always been on the upside of mediocre. I'm better than average but not great (at most things).

    I hate people reading my early, early stuff. I cringe and want to start apologizing...I can do so much better

    I'm not sure they'd appreciate the groveling though.

    I'm a great at groveling.



  11. Groveling is one of my strengths, too. LOL.
    I hear what you're saying. I feel much the same way about things. As in, thank god my first book was not a runaway success. And also that those of us whose abilities grow with time and attention are under-appreciated in today's society. People in general are more impressed with inspiration than experience, I think perhaps because inspiration is mysterious.
    It's hard not to share the same prejudices. It is what makes Inez (the mute girl in The Girl in the Box) so fascinating after all, in part.
    However, I may not know your writing, but I do know your trailers are truly remarkable. Therefore, I suspect you're underestimating your writing ability, too.

  12. And now your trailer is up, so people can see for themselves!

  13. Jeanne, I loved seeing what you thought about one of the best books I've ever read. Sheila's GIRL blew me away. I love how Sheila deftly weaves Guatemalan customs and shamanism as well as glimpses into the inner workings of the human mind. I was as compelled as Caitlin to discover the mystery that is Inez. An excellent review for an excellent book. And GIRL would be a perfect book club selection; you go, Tirzah!


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