Faber has won a “dark and gripping” debut exploring the complex dynamic between a patient and a therapist after a five-way heated auction.
A Good Enough Mother by clinical psychologist Bev Thomas also examines the responsibilities and limitations of motherhood, and has already sealed deals in territories worldwide.
The plot follows Ruth Hartland, who is the director of a trauma therapy unit in London. While highly respected in her field, her family life tells another story, because her 17-year-old son Tom has disappeared, and has had no contact with anyone for over two years. When Ruth is referred a disturbed patient – a man who bears a striking resemblance to her missing adult son – her grief and guilt compromise her work and events spiral out of control, culminating in a terrible act of violence.
Louisa Joyner won UK and Commonwealth rights to the title after a five-way auction from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown, as part of a two-book deal. IIt will be published by Pamela Dorman at Pamela Dorman Books/Viking in the US, and Anne Collins at Random House Canada. Rights have also been sold in Germany, France and Hungary.
Faber chief executive Stephen Page said: “It is rare to find a novel with such a marriage of quality writing and evident commercial reach; both a riveting family drama and psychological thriller which delivers a rich reading experience. It is written with such sharp intelligence and deftness of touch. It's clear that Bev Thomas is an exciting new writer on the Faber list.”
Joyner said it was “love at first line” with the novel. “That passion and excitement was replicated across the company. We were determined to become Bev Thomas’s publisher and we have huge ambitions for this new Faber author.” she said.
Thomas is a clinical psychologist with 25-years experience of working with patients and NHS staff.
She said she was “impressed by the whole team’s passion and vision” at Faber. “I’m so looking forward to starting this exciting journey with them,” she said.
Faber will publish A Good Enough Mother in 2019.