The Good Teacher by Petronella McGovern

‘Allison greeted every child by name as they came into the classroom.’

Life on Sydney’s northern beaches can have its challenges. Kindergarten teacher Allison Walsh is struggling. Her marriage has broken down, her son Felix has chosen to live with his father, and a new student needing additional care has just arrived. Five-year-old Gracie Branson has a rare form of cancer and is having chemotherapy. Poor Gracie: she lost both her home and her mother in a bushfire a few months earlier, and she and her father Luke are alone.

Allison is not dealing very well with being alone. She is obsessed with trying to find out who her husband is with, and she is uncomfortable with the emptiness of her home. So, when the opportunity arises, she invites Gracie and Luke to stay with her. She wants to help Gracie, and there is a possibility that a cancer treatment trial in Chicago could help. Allison knows that the trip will be expensive and offers to help Luke raise the funds required.  Soon the entire town

And, on these foundations, Ms McGovern builds a tense, tight psychological thriller. There are a few twists, some of which took me by surprise and all of which had me wanting to know how it would end. This is Ms McGovern’s second novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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