Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Good Enough Mother, I’m delighted to be sharing my review with you today.
The most dangerous lies 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 and Lullaby
Sometimes novels are categorised as psychological thrillers but the psychological element is weak; that is not the case with A Good Enough Mother! The psychological pull of this novel was so intense, I flew through it in no time at all. Not only did it thrill my mind, but the psychology on display within the novel was gripping. Seeing elements of Ruth’s work with clients in the trauma unit, but also seeing how her son’s disappearance affected her work with her clients was expertly done. When I finished this novel, my first thought was the author must be in the field of psychology, to have written so intelligently, so realistically, on the subject. And it was so, Thomas was a clinical psychologist for many years, and now works as an organisational consultant in mental health. You could go so far as to say this book is written by an expert, it certainly read expertly.
Ruth Hartland was a very well-developed and complex character, one who was laid bare to us in this novel. Thomas took this novel to dark places, but kept it realistic, this novel really does read as Ruth’s story. But, it also does a fantastic job of exploring human emotions and the need for containment. In its most simplistic form: containment is a patient projecting their unmanageable feelings onto a therapist, who in turn reflects them back to the patient but in a way which these feelings become more manageable and tolerable for the patient. And if you’re familiar with Bion’s work about the good enough mother, then you’ll know why this was novel was perfectly titled.
When a novel draws out the mental health nurse in me, it gets bonus points – A Good Enough Mother gets all the stars. Please don’t think you have to have trauma/mental health experience to enjoy this novel, because that’s not the case at all; I just wanted to highlight the intelligence of this novel.
A psychological drama which expertly explored the relationship between a therapist and her patients, and how vulnerable both can be in this relationship. The tension, the thrills, the uncertainty, the emotion, the power of loss, perfectly paced, this novel had it all! But most of all, this novel was human, no tricks or gimmicks, instead a well-written, literary piece of fiction that will keep your mind engaged from beginning to end.
*My thanks to the publisher (Faber & Faber) for providing me with a copy of this title and inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
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