Girl from the Tree House Book Cover Girl from the Tree House
Women of our time Book 1
Gudrun Frerichs
psychological, thriller
Gudrun Frerichs
(21 May 2019)

It all unraveled at the funeral...

Horace Reid's death opened the door to our freedom. His widow, Elizabeth, exists only on paper. She disappeared thirty years ago. It's us, the Tribe, who live in her body now. But nobody knows that. Us are Elise, the reluctant host, Lilly the closer, Ama, the proverbial mother, Sky, our wise guide, Amadeus, the warrior, and Luke, the man around the house. There are others, but we make sure they stay hidden and away from harm.

After Horace's funeral, they tried to lock us in a mental hospital. Our sister-in-law had it all carefully planned. Thanks to quick thinking—yes, being a multiple has its advantages—we escaped to New Zealand's South Island. Tucked away in the West Coast wilderness we... well, the plan was to continue our healing. We didn't expect that monsters from our past still had us on their radar. When the police accuse us of murder we have to run again. Where to go, which way to turn? Our neighbor Scott appears helpful, but can we trust him? Can we trust ourselves? Can we trust anyone?

The GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE is the first of a series of psychological thrillers set in current day New Zealand. It describes how Elizabeth, a thirty-two-year-old woman with multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID), fights for her sanity and freedom. Four core personalities tell the story from the inside out, giving a touching insight into the workings of the dissociated mind. There are no graphic descriptions of abuse.

Gudrun Frerichs is a retired psychotherapist and trauma specialist in the field of (sexual) abuse recovery. She successfully worked with many clients who had a DID diagnosis. Recovery from trauma and dissociation has been the focus of her Master's dissertation (2000) and Ph.D. thesis (2008) and is also the topic of her blog Multiple Voices. THE GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE is a spectacular departure from her romance series THE GOLDEN GIRLS.

Whilst written by a psychotherapist she failed to completely proofread the book for terms spelt incorrectly. Which is a shame as this will confuse those readers who are not of her community.

Multiple personalities do exist in the DID world but it is rarer than most fiction writers would have us believe. Nevertheless, as this book is written by a psychotherapist, what we get here, is an amalgam of her true experiences with such patients. 
For someone like me, who is not an expert, this is fascinating. And yes, ECT is still used occasionally it seems. But childhood trauma is so often a cause of dissociating as Miss Marple says- it is a normal response, to any trauma in fact. 
And our narrator says she belongs to a Tribe, not all of whom are female. And only 1 got married.

This is not light reading, but it is thought provoking, especially in relation to our own internal worlds. We all have them. And, in the right circumstances, we can hold two contradictions as equally true and valid. Do we have more
than one personality? It often seems so. There is the way we interact with strangers, which is different from our interactions within family, and which may be different from how we interact with rich or poor or famous people.
So 5 stars for tackling a difficult issue- and think on- there are a very high percentage of prisoners with trauma related mental health problems which cause them to have difficulty operating in 'normal' society.

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