After nearly losing her daughter and having her heart broken by divorce, a 56-year-old Greenwich Village psychologist gains the strength to welcome life’s pleasures—and pains—in this meandering debut novel.
It’s been roughly six years since Georgina’s world exploded. At the time, her then-teenage daughter Kate was suicidal, requiring constant care. And her philandering husband, Colin, had become inexplicably hostile to Kate, a stepchild he had helped raise. Since their split, Georgina has done her best to heed the advice of her friend Emma, who proclaimed: “You can’t lick your wounds forever if you want to be the heroine of your own life.” But Colin’s betrayal still stings. Granted, Kate has found her way out of the darkness; she’s happily married and expecting her first child. And Georgina’s focus has shifted to the present as she searches for ways to help her sister Julia, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Yet both mother and daughter continue to confront unresolved issues. Kate is working on a graphic novel based on her experiences with depression. Georgina finds her dreams frequently returning to the subject of her ex-husband. As both women seek new beginnings, can they use their past traumas to build a better future? An unfocused narrative undermines Plunket’s attempt to fictionalize the therapeutic journey of self-discovery. Conversations and ruminations about psychological and spiritual theories are intellectually stimulating, but they do little to drive a thin plot forward. Key events seem to be missing from the book. Georgina spends time preparing to talk about her husband’s affair with a writer from Psychology Today, but that storyline is dropped with no indication of whether the interview ran. Likewise, Kate and her husband think long and hard about whether they should attend his mother’s wedding, but after they decide to go, the novel says nothing about the event itself. The omissions point to a larger flaw. While Plunket writes masterfully about the past, she pays too little attention to the day-to-day lives of her characters.
A poorly plotted novel that nonetheless offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of analytical psychology.