What happens when an experienced therapist starts breaking all her own rules? This is the fascinating question at the core of A GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER (Pamela Dorman Books / Viking; On Sale: April 30, 2019) – a powerful debut novel about motherhood, grief, and obsession set inside the secret world of therapist and patient.

Dr. Ruth Hartland is a successful psychologist who’s used to handling sensitive situations. But all her calm professionalism goes out the door when she meets Dan, a volatile new patient who bears an unnerving resemblance to her son Tom – who’s been missing for eighteen months. Dan is clearly unstable and manipulative, but Ruth can’t stop herself from trying to save him. As her sadness and despair cloud her better judgment, events spiral out of control and tragedy ensues.

In our Authorlink VIDEO conversation with the author, she invites us to glimpse the secret world of psychotherapy, explaining how a parent’s over-attachment to a child can hinder his or her growth. and how the therapist uses the method of “transference” to help the patient understand and work through his or her grief or trauma. Bev Thomas also discusses her publishing journey encourages writers struggling to break into publishing to “keep going.”

“…it’s not long before her judgment becomes clouded, boundaries are crossed…”

A GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER focuses on Ruth Hartland, an experienced therapist at the top of her game. The director of a renowned psychiatric unit for trauma victims, she is wise, intelligent, successful, and respected by her peers. But her calm professional demeanor belies a personal life full of secrets and sadness. The mother of grown twins, she is haunted by the fact that her son Tom, a beautiful but fragile boy who could never seem to fit in, disappeared eighteen months ago. So when Dan—a volatile new patient bearing an eerie resemblance to Tom—wanders into her waiting room, it’s not long before her judgment becomes clouded, boundaries are crossed, and disaster ensues. 

“…how do you deal with your own demons in the meantime?”

A clinical psychologist herself, author Bev Thomas has in-depth knowledge of therapy and mental health and takes readers inside Ruth’s head with rich detail and realism. Who among us hasn’t wondered what goes on in the private thoughts and life of a therapist? What is it like to be a sounding board for someone else’s troubles—and how do you deal with your own demons in the meantime? A deeply compelling narrator, Ruth is poised on the outside but troubled within, incapable of moving on, fixated on how she failed her son and whether he can be found. With her family in pieces and her marriage crumbling, Ruth finds this new patient Dan is both a balm and a landmine—he is clearly unstable and manipulative, but he is also the shadow son she might actually be able to save. As Ruth twists herself into knots about her duties as a mother and a therapist, she becomes frantic and reckless, events spiral out of control, and her once calm and orderly life is violently disrupted.


Bev Thomas was a clinical psychologist in the NHS for many years. She currently works as an organizational consultant in mental health and other services. She lives in London with her family.


“Taut, absorbing and psychologically astute, in A Good Enough Mother Bev Thomas combines all the tension of a thriller with the emotional resonance of a powerful family drama.”

—Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train

 “[An] exceptional debut. . . Thomas melds astute psychological insight with powerful storytelling in this moving thriller.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 “A compelling, ingenious novel about grief, love, the healing process, and what it means to mother. . .  Perfect for fans of psychological fiction, in particular Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient.”


 “A Good Enough Mother is not just everything a great thriller should be—haunting, emotional, charged with depth and power—it is also a gorgeous and devastating examination of motherhood that cuts right to the heart.” 
—Aimee Molloy,
 New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

“A gripping novel of what happens when unexpected loss breaks open the boundaries of a carefully constructed life, blurring perspectives and upending the best of intentions. This powerful story of love, loss—and ultimately, healing—will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child.”
—Kim Edwards, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

“The suspense is raw and enthralling, with a strong emotional ache at its center.”
—Hilma Wolitzer, author of An Available Man

“Both a riveting account of what goes on behind the scenes at your therapist’s office and a dark meditation on motherhood, marriage and grief. I couldn’t put it down.” 
—Lisa Gabriele, author of The Winters

“Packs an emotional punch and is a gripping, original read. It is a novel full of loss and longing and the complexities of human relationships.” 
—Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

“A beautiful, compelling book about the hopes and terrors of motherhood. You’ll stay up reading way too late, desperate to find out what happens next . . . and even when you manage to put the book down, Ruth’s story will haunt you.” 
—Gin Phillips, author of Fierce Kingdom




Bev Thomas

Pamela Dorman Books / Viking (April 30, 2019)

ISBN: 9780525561255, Price: $26.00