With Obscure Boundaries, S.F. Powell explores the isolation of grief and its impact on a family trying to heal, adding an 'evil' stepmother for good measure.
Psychiatrist, Dr. Naomi Alexander, delves into territory close to home while treating a family in mourning.
Julia Winthrop has died, leaving her husband, Jeff, and their two children, Mallory and Todd, to carry on without her.
When Jeff remarries, the Winthrops make a go at starting a new life with Ruth, but it isn't easy, and the family seeks help from a familiar family therapist.
However, there are sides to Ruth not apparent to those involved--except maybe Naomi. She can see right through the woman's facade, despite all the pleasant words and religious presentation.
Mallory and her brother have a hard time accepting Ruth into the family, for good reason. Ruth is not at all interested in being a "mother" to her stepchildren, and while hiding this fact from Jeff, she has no problem showing one of the Winthrop children exactly where she stands. And now she wants to spread the 'love.'
Through grief counseling with Dr. Alexander, the Winthrops fight to move beyond the sadness, working through many issues affecting their family. From her place in her yellow counsel chair, Naomi observes behaviors in their sessions and knows something is off between Ruth and the Winthrop children. She needs to get Jeff well; the sooner the better.
But Naomi's efforts must address a confounding dilemma: Jeff believes Julia is still with them--and not just "in spirit." And there are signs he might be right ...
When problems with Ruth escalate (unbeknownst to Jeff), Naomi realizes time may be running out.
Dr. Alexander does what she does best to provide a little help in opening Jeff's eyes to the "truth of Ruth."
Fans of contemporary fiction will appreciate this tale on loss and step-parenting, with elements of tension, humor, sarcasm, and drama.
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