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Why I wrote this book
When I was fifteen my mother left Marie Stopes’ “Married Love” by my bed and I was shocked. Later I returned it to a bookshelf downstairs and neither of us mentioned it again. Now, older and “wiser”, and having received psychotherapy as part of my training, I wanted to write about a woman who, because of her own and her husband’s sexual ignorance, felt a failure, became “ill” and was referred to a female psychoanalyst. Things have changed a lot since Ursula’s problems but I feel the subject is still relevant since I doubt if many women’s sex lives are quite as idyllic as Marie Stopes hoped they would be.
SynopsisWhy does Ursula's right arm hang limply by her side? The doctors can find nothing wrong - is she faking it or is it all in the mind? Her husband, Leo, wants Ursula to see Mrs Moberley, a psychoanalyst, but her sister tells her Freud's ideas are the work of the devil. Sick of being surrounded by so-called experts, Ursula takes herself off to see Mrs Moberley anyway. What happens next will change her life forever. Mrs Moberley lends her Marie Stopes Married Love but her husband is appalled - and her sister's view on sex proves to be more 'grin and bear it'. Ursula's enlightened friend visits from Paris, and confesses that she is in love with another woman - which causes Ursula to question her own feelings for Mrs Moberley. Leo, who had once advocated therapy, now starts to backtrack; while her sister confesses to the trauma in Ursula's childhood which everyone assumed she was too young to understand. Freud viewed 'hysterical limbs' as the result of early psychological trauma, but Mrs Moberley is more interested in Ursula's present circumstances than her childhood. Gradually Ursula's arm regains its strength - but was it such a good idea to get everything out in the open?
Gerald Kaufman, Scotsman “The expertly drawn background is absorbing and so is a plot which turns expectations on their head.”
Evening Post “Economically but fluently crafted, especially strong on psychological insights.”