‘I’ve striven to be the perfect mother, wanting to create a perfect childhood for my child. Yet something has gone wrong…’ Catriona has the life she’s always dreamed of: a loving husband, a delightful step-daughter and her own precious little girl, Daisy. When Daisy begins to feel poorly, Catriona seeks help and in doing so, is forced to look to the past and her own traumatic and abusive childhood. When Cat is accused of harming eight-year-old Daisy through Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, Cat begins to realise that the life she has now is more fragile than she could ever have imagined. (Amazon description)
I read Margaret Leroy’s The Drowning Girl last year, and really loved it, and so have been watching out for her latest book, The Perfect Mother, released this month. I found this another fantastic and compelling read.
As a Mother, Cat was very easy to relate to. She is anxious and worried about Daisy, but no-one is taking her concerns seriously. I felt indignant and angry for her and it got me thinking about the power authority has over us, and how by misinterpreting or twisting our words, we could all find ourselves in an unjust and vulnerable position.
I was a little concerned at the speed with which Cat became a suspect, I find it hard to imagine this would be the case in real life. However, this did add a different dimension to the book, where I became suspicious of Cat myself. As the book is told in the first person, I started to feel the vagueness and unfairness was deliberate, as we were seeing things as Cat see’s them, not as a logical person. This meant that I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, up until the end.
As well as the story regarding her daughter Daisy, there is a sub-plot involving Cat’s own mother and her relationship with her. This was an interesting and mysterious thread, which tied in nicely with the rest of the story by the end.
I started this book on a 2 hour train journey, and I don’t think I looked up once as I became so engrossed. Margaret Leroy’s writing is so completely compelling, I just want to keep turning the pages. Previously a social worker, it’s clear Margaret knows and understands people, and it’s this that make her stories so vividly realistic. I finished The Perfect Mother in one day, and would recommend it to anyone who likes general Women’s fiction with an air of mystery and pages that turn themselves. While I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as The Drowning Girl, I certainly found it a great read. Fast becoming one of my favourite author’s of this kind of fiction right now, I’ll be eagerly awaiting her new book.
NB: This book is also titled Postcards From Berlin in other countries