A new teenage assessment centre has been purpose-built on the island of Rousay in the Orkney Islands. Dr Angie Lawrence is the Clinical Psychology Director. She uses unorthodox methods to improve the lives of elective mutes and truants, plus children who are aggressive, have been abused or are suffering from eating disorders. Dr Lawrence takes some kids skinny dipping; others she gives sessions with Harry, an African Grey parrot also on the staff, together with Arthur, a Basset Hound. Along with her slightly unusual treatments, she also gives her patients responsibilities to overcome their traumas.
“That’s the beauty of Rousay. We are the safety net. They find a freedom they never had before. Domestic, imagined, and abusive pressures are suspended, not necessarily resolved. What we are doing is lighting tapers. One day some flicker of flame might just burn out the stubborn daemon that’s lodged deep in their minds.”
Her husband, Sam, is an artist and delighted to be on Orkney to further his seascapes, but he becomes increasingly concerned about Angie’s unorthodox treatment plans. As the traumas of Angie’s early life and the demons of her past are explored, Sam struggles more and more to understand the methods in her madness.
Why did Angie became a psychologist in the first place? Can she bring together a fractured family before it is too late? And can she cope with two doctorate students who are not what they seem to be..?
Publisher: Matador, April 2015
Reviewer: Liz Batten
I was interested from the beginning, especially in the remote but beautiful Island of Rousay and could imagine myself there (in the Summer months that is). The story started off well and kept my attention describing the two main characters and personality of the psychologist, with the troubled children at the Centre. Then two startling events happened further on which I found to be a stretch too unbelievable. I stayed with it until the end but the story had crumbled for me a little…. well written but not realistic enough to grab me for the whole story.