Good book reviews are always a pleasure; a new review on Amazon or Goodreads can make my day. As a psychological drama, Honor’s Shadow has a plot and characters which are figments of my imagination, though some of my close friends continue to insist on its autobiographical echoes…. What I don’t make up is the psychology: I remain true and faithful to the psychology of the situations I create, and how my characters react to them.
In a conversation last week, with Jane Rusbridge (author of The Devil’s Music and Rook, both novels I highly recommend), Jane commented on the strength of characterization in Honor’s Shadow; and I explained to her how I build characters using a variety of psychological models, in particular the mind-body framework of bioenergetics.
From time to time, Honor’s Shadow has been reviewed positively by psychologists; when Dr Alexis Johnson, of the Centre for Intentional Living, who has been my teacher for decades, read the novel when it first came out, I held my breath until she pronounced it “psychologically accurate” to my relief.
It was a very special delight to find out, recently, that Honor’s Shadow had been reviewed in a BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) journal “Private Practice” by Jo-Ann Roden an integrative psychosynthesis psychotherapist, who had this to say:
Voula Grand is a business psychologist and executive coach. Honor’s Shadow is her debut novel, a contemporary psychological drama, and the first of a trilogy. It is a fascinating novel exploring how presenting issues for clients can intersect and interweave the life of the therapist. A variation on “you get the clients you need.” The book is implicitly woven with therapeutic ideas and for a practicing therapist makes a welcome change to reading about therapy and yet still lends a sense of doing some work (sort of!). This book is about love, betrayal, and revenge, and about what can happen when we give in, or surrender to, our less consciously controlled urges and desires, all of which surface from time to time in most relationships, including the therapeutic one.
The themes spiral through an historical conflict between Honor and Madalena and their rivalry over the love of Thomas that presents afresh for Honor through the lens of the story of a new and challenging client, Tisi (a familiar type of personality for many of us). The mysteries at the core of the conflict are suggested through a slowly unfolding yet thoroughly addictive narrative, which introduces us to the might of the avenging Furies, three sisters from the ancient Greek pantheon, who teach us the lessons of our revengeful fantasies. And yet it is the Furies themselves who eventually lead Honor and Tisi to reconciliation and redemption.
As the title of the book suggests we are being presented with Honor’s shadow as mirrored through the lens of the other characters, and it is this element that interested me the most. I would imagine that the target readership of this book is wide but of particular interest to trainee and practicing therapists (and it is published by Karnac). This is not an essential read by any means, however, I read this book from start to finish with barely a break and would highly recommend it as an enjoyable piece of fiction and as an interesting alternative introductory text to becoming a therapist.
Thank you, Jo-Ann Roden for such a heart lifting review for this author!