Psychological Thriller Book Review | BirthRights by Carly Rheilan

Out today on Amazon Kindle!

BirthRights is a novel that “celebrate(s) the troubled, troubling, remarkable life” of Dr. Ana Griffin.  She is a psychiatrist who suffers from her own mental health disorders yet dedicates herself to helping others with similar challenges. It’s a dark and thrilling look at the complexities of mental health disorders and the inadequacies of the systems set in place to help sufferers.  It is a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat, both rooting for and against the events as they unfold.

The illumination of mental health disorders and the inadequacies of care are essential topics that need to be shared. The novel is set in England, but even in the US, we need to keep improving care for patients with mental health disorders. We have made many improvements, especially in the last decade, but the issues you read about in this novel do exist in this country.

The characterization of Dr. Ana Griffin is so on point. I am not sure how someone with a long-term mental health disorder such as she would be able to be licensed, but I know it is not unusual for sufferers to want to go on to work in the mental health field. She is not the typical protagonist, and readers will find that at times they root for her at other times you will cringe at the thought of her reaching her goal. It’s this dichotomy that leaves you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Nurse Lily Patel, a minor character, turns out to be the stories most prominent figure and the true hero of the story. She is the type of caregiver you can only hope to find with her ability to show love and compassion at times when others are trying to slink away quietly.

The ending left the reader on a high with a vision of hope for the future. It could have ended on a somber note, but instead, the reader is shown that there are positives even to tragic stories. It was an “everything happens for a reason” type of ending, and as a reader, I was happy to have that reminder.

Really, the only thing that bothered me about the book was that the protagonist was a psychiatrist who was undeniably mentally ill and had been since childhood. That is hard to believe is possible, especially since I am a trained counselor and know firsthand all you must go through to complete training and become licensed. But otherwise, I felt it was so spot on.

This thriller will both entertain you and open your eyes to real struggles going on worldwide today. It is a must-read without a doubt!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The novel is available starting today from Amazon Kindle.

9 Comments

  1. This sounds great, Theresa, and it’s good to know that your training as a mental health counselor didn’t raise significant issues with the credibility of the book. (That’s my training too). I’m glad it ends on a positive note but is also honest about the systemic challenges we face in caring for those with mental illness. Thanks for the review.

  2. I enjoy hearing how professionals–and their patients–struggle to address mental illnesses. I started with Oliver Sachs “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat” and kept going. Our mind, maybe broken or maybe just different from others, is amazing.

  3. I didn’t realize you were a counselor. I have a sister and an SIL who spent their careers in the mental health field–one as an outpatient admin the other as a counselor. I know it is a challenging and difficult field that needs more attention, especially in this day and age.
    I didn’t realize what I was doing until after I had written the novels, but each of my Hode’s Hill books carry a common thread of mental illness.

    It id hard to imagine someone who is mentally ill as a psychiatrist, but I’m sure it made for fascinating reading!

    1. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up but it definitely was a page turner.

      I stopped actively counseling when an undiagnosed clotting disorder led to heart failure at an unusually young age – almost 2 years ago (well, young age for heart failure) – I decided to take a very early retirement for medical reasons. My health has returned to normal, and I am enjoying my original love of reading and writing :). I think counseling skills are like writing skills – they are part of who you are and never leave you.

      1. Oh, I am so sorry to hear that, Tessa, but glad that your health has returned to normal. It must have been a vey scary time. It sounds like you made the right decision.

        I am an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs Indicator and, outside of the arts, I rate highest in counseling and teaching. I could have definitely been called to either and admire those who are/have been.

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