The Girl in the Box


A mute Mayan girl held captive in a crate in the Guatemalan jungle, a big-city psychoanalyst with a rescue complex, and a journalist with a broken heart are the characters in Sheila Dalton’s second literary novel.

Caitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman originally from Guatemala, has killed Caitlin’s psychoanalyst partner, Dr. Jerry Simpson. Simpson brought the girl, who may be autistic, back to Canada as an act of mercy and to attempt to treat her obvious trauma. Cailin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can find the strength to forgive and move on with her life.

Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez’s relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.

The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.


"Complex, fascinating, subtle and intensely emotional, this is a book that...will profoundly impact its readers." (September, 2011)

Dalton has a way with the written word and with telling this heart-gripping story about hope, love, and doing what's right.

Dropping you right into the heat of Guatemala, Sheila Dalton proves from the first few pages that she has an incredible eye for detail. The story moves around to a number of diverse locations, but Dalton handles them all beautifully, adding in small details which really enhance the imagery. From the sweltering heat of Guatemala, to the frozen wasteland of Northern Newfoundland, I constantly found myself being sucked into her settings. (March, 2012)

Amidst all the noise on the web, it's often hard to find the quiet treasures that lie beneath the hubbub of tweeting and tooting of marketing horns. The Girl in the Box is the best literary discovery I've stumbled upon in a long time. (April, 2012)

"The Girl in the Box is an intelligent read…Sheila Dalton’s characters are fascinatingly complex and interact so naturally that you forget you are reading a book at all. The narrative is beautiful, her descriptions delicately evocative yet she never shies away from the truth of any situation."


About the Author

Sheila Dalton

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Sheila Dalton photo

Sheila Dalton

Sheila Dalton was born in England and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of six. She has been published in many formats, including children's picture books and poetry, and has even ventured into drama, winning third prize for her play Legacy in the University of Toronto Playwriting Competition. Trial by Fire was Sheila's first YA novel and was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award. She lives in Newmarket, Ontario.