Catriona Lydgate and her husband Richard are living a comfortable middle-class London life until two occurrences upset their universe. The first incident is the receipt of postcards from her mother living in Berlin. She was an alcoholic who abandoned Catriona as a teenager. This is the first contact they've had since then and it stirs painful memories in Catriona of institutional abuse.
At the same time, the Lydgate's eight year-old daughter Daisy starts feeling ill. She quits eating and constantly complains of pain and nausea.
Doctors find nothing wrong with Daisy, but the symptoms persist. Specialists interpret Catriona's concern as being overprotective and believe Daisy's illness is psychological in nature.
One doctor suspects Catriona is causing Daisy's medical problems (Munchausen by Proxy). Even husband Richard has doubts about his wife. Catriona's troubled childhood is considered as her parenting ability is questioned.
Margaret Leroy has the excellent ability to create vivid scenes with words. Such detail enhances Postcards from Berlin. Catriona's character is perfectly flawed enough that readers will scrutinize her intentions just as the doctors do.
This novel offers some compelling issues, but Leroy opts not to explore them in depth. Instead, the swift conclusion is handed to readers in a neat and tidy package. Some bigger risks with the plot would have blown the lid off this story and Leroy has the talent to have pulled it off.
Still Postcards from Berlin is a good story and an excellent choice for group discussion. Avid bookworms will appreciate Margaret Leroy's thought-provoking tale.