When Susan wakes up in a strange room with a locked door, she has no memory of why she is there or even what her name is at first. Her captor comes in, she doesn’t recognise him but she has an instinctive need to know what has happened to her fifteen year old daughter Cara.
If you like books that are full of twists you may well enjoy this one but I have to confess for the most part I was simply confused by this story. Not in an irritated way; I wanted to know what had happened to both Susan and Cara and the author did a good job if her intention was that none of the readers is likely to stumble upon anything like the right idea. And that’s about all I can say about the plot because anything else will be a major spoiler. The pace is fast and furious, this is one of those books that is best read in long sittings to get the most out of it, there is a lot to absorb and ponder on as the facts are revealed piece by piece.
The story is told from two viewpoints, that of Susan in captivity, and by her captor. This man’s voice wasn’t threatening, he comes across as quite a needy character, but one who can be volatile but Susan is unaware of that. Quite naturally she is suspicious, frightened and alone, which makes her prone to ramblings about her perfect teenage daughter, her best friend and her motivation to stay strong and escape.
Although sympathetic to Susan’s plight I didn’t feel that I got to know her in any meaningful way for reasons that became clear in the last few chapters but this made it hard to really care about her in the way I would normally. The captor, despite having a number of contradictory aspects to his character was a bit easier to get a handle on but in this instance I found the switches between points of view quite off-putting in respect of both characters.
I have a feeling this is one of those books that if you are able to put yourself in Susan’s shoes, will work really well, after all everything is revealed to the reader before Susan thereby giving a chance to absorb the facts before witnessing her reaction but for me something didn’t quite gel enough for me to do this. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this type of narrative which is mainly in the first person present tense, again this should have played in this book’s favour, but I found the stream of consciousness it provoked without any great amount of dialogue to hang it on, just added to my confusion about what was going on, and sadly this has persisted even since I found out.
Having read some other reviews since writing mind, I think I’m in the minority with this one and it definitely has a great premise and is a change from all the books about missing children that are around this year.
I’d like to thank Carina UK for allowing me to read a copy of The Good Mother which was published on 4 April 2016 in return for this, my honest opinion.