Finished March 28
Always Watching by Chevy Stevens
This novel is the third by Stevens, loosely linked to her earlier two. Here, the main character is Nadine Lavoie, the psychiatrist that worked with the characters in the first two novels. Nadine has had a difficult life, and has recently moved to Victoria for a couple of reasons. One is that her daughter Lisa is living on the streets in Victoria, and Nadine hopes to find her and mend their relationship. The other is that she needs to be part of a team rather than work in private practice and she has joined with a local hospital.
When a young suicidal woman is brought in and assigned to Nadine, old memories are awakened. The woman, Heather, has recently lost her baby, and blames herself. Heather and her husband Daniel had been part of a secluded community, The River of Life Spiritual Centre, but Heather had insisted on them leaving so that she could feel in control of her own family. Now she feels, along with pressure from others, that this is what caused her loss.
The old memories that Nadine has also have to do with the community, or an earlier iteration of it. When Nadine was thirteen, her mother took her and her older brother to the commune run by Aaron Quinn. At first things seemed to go well, but then the commune and Aaron became more controlling. Nadine has fears that she has never understood the origin of, but has a sense they came from her time at the commune.
As Nadine begins to dig deeper into what happened in her own past, she also awakens the concerns of those in the present and may have put herself and others in danger. Lisa, struggling with her own issues of abuse, finally reveals her secrets to Nadine, but is it too late to make things right between them and heal?
There is lots going on here, and issues of control, abuse, and trust are key to this story.