The Madison Gap

The Madison Gap | Patricia Donovan | Author



Mighty Ape

Book Depository




Mary Egan Publishing

You think you know someone. You accept that because you are siblings, raised in the same house in the same town by the same parents, you share a common view of the world, live by an identical set of values. But what if you are wrong?

In Sydney, 2017, in the laid-back suburb of Glebe, Lexi Madison is living her ideal life with her husband Conor. When her older sister Chrissy comes to stay, Lexi’s world starts to unravel as dark family secrets are revealed, and she learns how insidiously truth can be perverted, and that exposing those secrets can drive a person to the brink of murder.

The Madison Gap is a mesmerising and ultimately explosive story of a woman’s awakening. In crisp, stirring prose, Patricia Donovan evokes the angst of family discordance and, as we follow Lexi’s search for understanding, captures exquisitely the disquiet and uncertainty that comes when dreams are challenged by reality.


“A thought-provoking, tension-filled contemporary novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – NZ Book Lovers

“A brilliant read with sharp characters, an elegantly constructed narrative … this has Nicole Kidman mini-series written all over it.” – Woman Magazine

“It’s tautly paced and succinctly written, and Donovan cranks the pressure up nicely …” – The Listener

“A diverting domestic thriller; one that reads best when examining issues of sociopathy and sibling rivalry.” – Kete Books

“It’s fabulous, a really good read. I loved it.” – Catherine Scullin, Beach FM.

“A compelling story … people should go out and find it in any way they can.” – Robert Kelly, Radio NZ. You can listen here to Robert’s conversation with the author.

“An intriguing set-up… the prose is alive with art and culture references and evocative descriptions of Sydney.” – The Sunday Star-Times


My initial idea for the novel came to me when a friend mentioned to me that one in twenty-five Americans is a sociopath. At the time, we were picking over the 2016 election in the US, trying and failing to understand how low America had fallen.

That chilling statistic, that so many outwardly ordinary people are actually sociopathic, came from a book called The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout. I went on to read this book myself and was both repelled and fascinated by what Stout had to say. I began macabrely imagining what it would be like to find myself sitting across the table from a sociopath. Would I know?

This led me to thinking about bullies and how prevalent bullying has become. It’s pernicious and difficult to counter. It’s also insidious. By the time you’re aware that it’s a bully you are dealing with, it’s often too late to safely extricate yourself, you are already worn down by the tyranny and it can take years to recover. I wanted to explore this.

READ the opening chapter here.