Lead Review

  • Book: The Therapist
  • Location: Finsbury Park
  • Author: B A Paris

Review Author: Tina Hartas



Another audiobook to accompany me on my Covid walks (you would think, by now, that I am rake thin with all this exercise, but no such luck!). And it was engrossing.

The novel is set around the up-market, gated community called The Circle in Finsbury Park. The 12 dwellings in the enclosure are built to resemble the face of a clock, with a square and playground at the centre. There is an electronic entry system and it’s all super safe for being pretty much in the heart of London.

Alice is in a relationship with Leo and after only a short time together, she finds herself moving into one of the houses on the estate, which has sat vacant for a considerable time. Leo has bought it at a knockdown price because it seems there is a rather dark history, involving a previous owner, Nina Maxwell and her husband. Leo is quite a persuasive young man and, as time moves on, Alice discovers more about the events that took place in her new home. She starts to question her relationship with Leo – is it what she thought it was, does she really know him? It turns out he knew much of the history of the house and didn’t divulge it to Alice because he ‘wanted’ that house. Had she known the details, she may well have vetoed the purchase.

She enquires of her neighbours about what exactly happened in her house but they remain rather shtum about the whole episode and seem more intent on keeping their little London enclave free from prying eyes. Tamsin, she notes, has taken an early dislike to her, Eve seems like a potential friend and then there is an older couple who seem to keep themselves to themselves.

She and Leo throw a drinks party and a man arrives who seems unfamiliar to the group, in other words, not a local resident. He soon introduces himself to Alice as a PI investigating the previous events at their house, in the hope that he can find out more about worrying details. She is more than amenable to help him in his quest because she has hit a real brick wall surrounding the mystery. Soon it seems plausible that she is imagining odd things – is someone coming into their  house at night, are things being moved…. is she, in fact, losing her mind? A subtle nod to the film Gaslight.

Most of the book is in the present but there are flashbacks to a therapist, a rather unforgiving observer of foibles… how might that link to what is going on in The Circle?

I was caught up in the story and just let myself go with the flow of twists and turns and subtle deviations. This is a well paced novel to keep you turning the pages into the wee small hours.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

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Entries close 6th November 2021