That’s what he wants you to think…
A good mother doesn’t forget things.
A good mother isn’t a danger to herself.
A good mother isn’t a danger to her baby.
You want to be the good mother you dreamed you could be.
But you’re not. You’re the bad mother you were destined to become.
At least, that what he wants you to believe…
Lucy is pregnant with her first child. She is happy with her husband Adam, and has a strong relationship with her mother who has brought Lucy up since the death of her father. But not everything is as it seems to be.
Lucy, an artist, has left behind her days of festivals, of going out and having fun, and is looking forward to a steady future with Adam, who, at eight years older, seems dependable and steady, who she trusts and who makes her feel safe. But always lurking in her mind is the shadow of her dad, and his depression, and the fear that she could be the same.
As Lucy’s pregnancy continues, she finds herself forgetting things, minor things at first, like losing her keys and leaving the freezer door open. But soon the little slip ups become bigger ones, and she begins to worry that she’s a danger, not only to herself, but to the child she’s carrying.
This is a frustrating read – but only because the reader soon knows exactly what’s going on. I felt so angry on Lucy’s behalf as times, and that, to me, shows what a good book this is. I really cared about Lucy, and wanted her to wake up. The manipulation is so subtle, the undermining and the planting of little seeds of doubt; small things that build and build until Lucy no longer trusts herself. I’ve seen some reviews criticising the book for the way Lucy behaves, questioning how someone so confident could ‘allow’ this to happen. Unfortunately this happens to lots of women, whether they are ‘strong’ or not. And the author writes so well that you can really see how Lucy could end up in the position she’s in.
The relationship between Adam and Lucy is really well developed. Their arguments are authentic and Lucy’s reactions are believable. The shift in the balance of power between them is genuinely unsettling to read. My only quibble is that I wanted to understand more completely how Adam came to be the way he is and I do think that adding more depth to this would really add to the novel.
A difficult subject matter, and not an easy read, but definitely gripping.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.