cover image A Good Enough Mother

A Good Enough Mother

Bev Thomas. Viking/Dorman, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-56125-5

As the director of a nationally renowned trauma therapy unit, London psychotherapist Ruth Hartland, the narrator of Thomas’s exceptional debut, most definitely knows better. But from her first glimpse in the waiting room of new patient Dan Griffin, when she momentarily mistakes him for her own troubled son, Tom (who disappeared a year and a half earlier at 17), she feels an instant emotional connection that will threaten her ability to maintain professional boundaries. Thomas, herself a former clinical psychologist with Britain’s National Health Service, hooks the reader with Ruth’s unblinking dual narratives. The first traces her doomed treatment of Dan, during which the pull to see him as a surrogate for Tom blinds her to the depth of his dysfunction and his potential for violence; the second focuses on the guilt-strewn shambles she has allowed her own life to become, including the breakdown of her marriage and estrangement from Tom’s twin sister, Carolyn. Thomas melds astute psychological insight with powerful storytelling in this moving thriller. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Apr.)