REVIEW: A GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER, BY BEV THOMAS

 

Ruth Hartland is a psychotherapist with years of experience. But professional skill is no guard against private grief. The mother of grown twins, she is haunted by the fact that her beautiful, difficult, fragile son Tom, a boy who never “fit in,” disappeared a year and a half earlier. She cannot give up hope of finding him, but feels she is living a kind of half-life, waiting for him to return.

Enter a new patient, Dan–unstable and traumatized–who looks exactly like her missing son. She is determined to help him, but soon, her own complicated feelings, about how she has failed her own boy, cloud her professional judgment. And before long, the unthinkable becomes a shattering reality….

My Thoughts: In the opening lines of A Good Enough Mother, psychotherapist Ruth Hartland is drawn to her new patient, Dan, who bears a striking resemblance to her missing son Tom. As the therapy proceeds, Ruth finds herself losing her sense of control over their sessions. Boundaries are crossed and the inevitable blurring of lines lead to horrific consequences.

The narrative takes Ruth back and forth in time, revealing the good and bad moments in her family life, and just when we see a glimmer of hope in Ruth’s personal life, a stunning breach upends both her personal and professional life.

From the outside looking in, one could anticipate the startling events, and afterwards, Ruth realizes that she should have seen how events would unfold…if she had been paying attention to the signs. I felt a connection to Ruth as she lived in a state of denial, constantly searching for her lost son. I liked how there was a glimmer of hope in the conclusion. 4.5 stars.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: EXCERPTING “THE HOUSE OF MEMORIES”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I enjoy sharing excerpts from books…and connecting with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book has been relaxing on Pippa for a while, but now I can’t wait to open it:  The House of Memories, by Monica McInerney.

 

 

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Beginning:  The first time I met my uncle Lucas I tried to steal something from him.  It’s ironic, really, considering what he would ask me to do twenty-six years later.

I was seven, on a visit to London with my mother and my father, Lucas’s younger brother.

***

56:  Years later, Charlie told me that he’d thought I was really sad when he first met me.  I said that I thought he was really fat.

“I was fat,” he said.

“I was sad,” I said.

***

Blurb:  Months after a tragic accident, Ella O’Hanlon flees to London in an attempt to escape her grief, leaving behind the two people she blames for her loss: Aidan, the love of her life, and Jess, her spoiled half-sister. Taken in by her beloved uncle Lucas, Ella discovers that his extraordinary house holds many wonderful memories for her…and his group of transitory boarders provides a refreshing and welcome emotional tonic. But as Ella settles into a comfortable new role as unofficial cook and housemother, Jess secretly comes to London to pursue her own dreams, precipitating an unexpected family reunion and an exploration of the heart—one famished for love, for healing, and for forgiveness.

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What do you think?  Do these excerpts tempt you to read on?

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BOOKISH FRIDAYS: EXCERPTS FROM “THE HOUSE OF MEMORIES”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

friday 56 - spring and summer logo

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I enjoy sharing excerpts from books…and connecting with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

 

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

My book today has been on Pippa, my Kindle, for a while now.  The House of Memories, by Monica McInerney, tells the story of a woman running from her grief, who finds something unexpected.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  The first time I met my uncle Lucas I tried to steal something from him.  It’s ironic, really, considering what he would ask me to do twenty-six years later.

I was seven, on a visit to London with my mother and my father, Lucas’s younger brother.

(Now my interest is piqued:  what about yours?)

***

56:  We did move in with him and his father.  Our parents did get married.  I did have that room as my bedroom.  I did go to the same school as Charlie.  For the next year—it’s funny to say it so confidently and firmly, but it’s true—I was also very happy.

***

Blurb:  Months after a tragic accident, Ella O’Hanlon flees to London in an attempt to escape her grief, leaving behind the two people she blames for her loss: Aidan, the love of her life, and Jess, her spoiled half-sister. Taken in by her beloved uncle Lucas, Ella discovers that his extraordinary house holds many wonderful memories for her…and his group of transitory boarders provides a refreshing and welcome emotional tonic. But as Ella settles into a comfortable new role as unofficial cook and housemother, Jess secretly comes to London to pursue her own dreams, precipitating an unexpected family reunion and an exploration of the heart—one famished for love, for healing, and for forgiveness.

***

I have enjoyed another book by this author, so I am eager to delve further into this one.  I previously read and loved Hello from the Gillespies.

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What are you sharing today?  Come on by and let’s chat.

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REVIEW: THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS, BY DEB CALETTI

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Callie McBride is restless and unhappy with her marriage.  Despite their many years together, she and her husband, Thomas Bennett, are living parallel lives in their Seattle home.

 
When Callie discovers a woman’s phone number in her husband’s trash, she concludes that he is cheating on her.  She takes this opportunity to take off for Nevada, to her Aunt Nash’s old “divorce ranch”; the phone call from her mother Gloria, reporting that Nash is doing strange things, according to a caretaker at the ranch, is just the impetus she needs.

 
Her sister Shaye joins her at the Tamarosa Ranch, a place they both recalled from their younger years with fondness, so they are dismayed at the shambles it has become.

 
Not only is Nash behaving strangely—yelling and throwing boots at the agent from Land Management—but she has a whole room filled with boxes and detritus from 1951…and she doesn’t want them to see.  At one point she starts burning things.

 
What is Nash hiding?  Is she hoarding things from the past because they are treasures, or because there are dark secrets involved?

 
Alternately narrated by Callie in the present, and Nash in the past, we begin to uncover something that happened a long time ago; something that will affect the present.  And as we follow these journeys, we learn a lot about these interesting characters.  The Secrets She Keeps also shows us an insider’s view of how Callie and Shaye view marriage, and what makes it possible to survive all the bumps in the road.

 
The lovely settings, from Seattle to Nevada and Lake Tahoe, are familiar to me, and I felt as though I was right there with the characters.  In the end, I felt a strong connection to them all.  5.0 stars.