Picks and Pans Review: Her Own Rules
In this outing, romantic novelist Bradford taps into the Zeitgeist. Her beautiful protagonist Meredith Stratton is a successful international hotelier who enlists the help of a therapist after experiencing recurring nightmares and spells of nausea that have no apparent medical explanation. Together patient and doctor "recover" long-buried childhood memories of a scary abandonment and a long sea journey from England to Australia.
In the real world, of course, this kind of therapy is controversial—experts say traumatic events are hard to forget completely. But here Bradford uses the questionable therapeutic technique as a clever plot device that fires up what would otherwise be a routine story of love and loss.
And unlike many tales of so-called recovered memories, Meredith's discoveries don't involve sexual abuse, so the emotional peace she longs for is possible after seeking out important people from her past. Indeed, in a highly charged scene near the book's end, she is reunited with the one person she believed she would never see again. All in all, Her Own Rules is a satisfying fairy tale, with a '90s twist. (HarperCollins, $24)