Thursday, June 24, 2021


Alice seems to be living the perfect life in The Therapist.  She's just moved to London to be with her boyfriend Leo, with whom she's been having a long-distance romance.  You'd think that she would be excited to start her new life, but Alice is a bit nervous.  She's moved from her hometown of Harlestone where she lived in a cottage she loved.  Not knowing anyone in town, she's eager to meet her new neighbors.  She and Leo move into a big house in an exclusive neighborhood called The Circle, since the houses all form a circle around a central communal garden area.  Soon after moving in, she invites everyone in the Circle to her new home for a neighborly get together.  

While she is entertaining, she notices that one couple, Maria and Tim, haven't turned up.  When a lone male rings the doorbell, she assumes it's the missing Tim and invites him in.  He asks to see the house and she happily shows him around while everyone else is out in the garden.  A few days later, she meets the real Tim and is shocked to discover he's not the man who came to the party.  Disturbed, since they live in a gated community, she begins asking everyone if they know who the man could be.

Leo is no help, since he was not too thrilled about having people around anyway.  He's also not very interested in getting to know the neighbors.  Since he works away from home during the week, Alice is left to try to investigate what's going on.  Her uneasiness isn't lessened when she keeps feeling as if someone is breaking into the house at night and watching her sleep.  When she discovers some information that Leo has been keeping from her, she is drawn into investigating some disturbing events that happened before she moved into the Circle.

Occasional chapters from some sessions between the "therapist" and the clients are interspersed with Alice's search for answers into what happened in her house in the past, and the strange events that are happening to her in the present.  We are left to wonder both who the therapist and the clients are and if there is a sinister connection between those sessions and what is happening in Alice's life.

The character of Alice is a bit of a trial.  She works from home translating books and has no family other than Leo, so at times it seems as if she has too much time on her hands.  The way she badgers her neighbors about every little thing is quite annoying (when one of the neighbors gives Alice a telling off late in the book for this behavior, I had to cheer her on).  She also has so many options when things get a bit tough that it's hard to believe.  Not only does she have a friend who owns a farm back in Harlestone who's forever offering her an indefinite place to stay, she has another friend in London with the same offer, as well as one of the neighbors who offers to let her move in.  She and Leo seem to shuttle around (mostly apart) playing musical houses amongst all the various friends and acquaintances.  It's all very difficult to keep up with!  The actual mystery of the novel, what happened to the previous occupants of the house, gets re-hashed and worked around so much that the final resolution is a bit too long in coming.

Disclaimer:  I received an Advanced Readers' Edition of The Therapist from St. Martin's Press in exchange for this review


About Me

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

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