The hardest lies to spot are the ones we tell ourselves.
Dr Ruth Hartland rises to difficult tasks. She is the director of a highly respected trauma therapy unit. She is confident, capable and excellent at her job. Today she is preoccupied by her son Tom’s disappearance.
So when a new patient arrives at the unit – a young man who looks shockingly like Tom – she is floored.
As a therapist, Ruth knows exactly what she should do in the best interests of her client, but as a mother she makes a very different choice – a decision that will have profound consequences.
A gripping and deeply intelligent psychological thriller for fans of Apple Tree Yard, A Good Enough Mother promises to be as big as Lullaby.
Published April 4th by Faber and Faber (UK)
~ Review ~
Wow! This was one of those books where once you start reading you have to clear the rest of your day, put your phone on silent and keep on going. There’s no looking away. You can sense the increasing tension and know it’s leading to something huge. It’s utterly gripping.
Ruth is a therapist working with people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dealing with those who have the most harrowing of backgrounds. But Ruth is also hiding a secret of her own- her troubled son Dan disappeared more than a year ago and she hasn’t shared this with any of her colleagues. When she’s allocated a new patient, Dan, she is struck by his resemblance to her own son and as she becomes more involved in helping him, the lines between therapist and patient blur in a way that can only lead to danger.
I absolutely loved the writing style in this book. There’s little dialogue, it mainly being told from Ruth’s internal thoughts. You know how she’s feeling and why she’s feeling it with astonishing clarity meaning it’s almost like being in her head. The whole story is so compelling, as we see Ruth make bad choices and know it’s isn’t going to end well. Yet despite knowing her choices are bad, you get it and understand it. Her feelings of grief, bewilderment and pain are incredibly raw and emotional.
The tension throughout this book is subtle, yet intense all at once. Dan brings a sense of danger and threat that has the reader on edge. He’s difficult to work out, there’s an uneasy feeling from him but I could see why Ruth was so drawn to him. It was also fascinating to see Ruth as a therapist with her own flaws and troubles. We see people in this field as stable, without conflict or worry – they know how to deal with or avoid it surely? Of course this isn’t true, but why Ruth shields her own trauma and anxieties from colleagues.
This is not a lighthearted book, there’s an overwhelming feeling of impeding tragedy throughout, however it is thought provoking and shocking with a glimpse of hope at the end. It’s raw, emotional, tense and incredibly believable. An exceptional book from a fascinating perspective and I couldn’t put it down.
(I read an hardback edition courtesy of the publisher)
**Due to some unforeseen circumstances, this is a late contribution to the blog tour that took place earlier this month. Please do check out these other brilliant bloggers to see what they made of it!