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The Family Doctor

Debra Oswald

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Allen & Unwin
01 March 2021

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- When Paula's dearest friend Stacey and her children are violently killed by the man who professed to love them deeply, Paula is deeply traumatised. Afterall, she is a GP and should have been able to protect her friend. So when a patient comes into her surgery with injuries she says are accidental, and the patient's son exhibits behaviours Paula recognises, she agonises over the right way to help.

And who should she help? The woman and her son, or the husband who becomes a patient? Driven by the need to do the right thing, Paula takes a step into a moral quagmire from which she will struggle to escape. Or is it a moral dilemma, when she can help the helpless? A clever novel of philosophical quandaries, of love and punishment,  driven by strong characterisation and a gripping plot. Lindy


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'The Family Doctor is a compelling thriller - fast-paced, gripping and frightening. But is more than that because it is a story that draws desperately needed attention to domestic abuse in this country, to institutional indifference, to the devaluing of women's lives. The Family Doctor is a cry for change.' Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin Award-winning author of The Eye of the Sheep and Infinite Splendours

'Brilliant. So compelling on so many levels.' Chris Hammer, author of Scrublands

'Debra Oswald is always deft at capturing the nuances of female friendship and romantic attraction, but this time she brings them to a pitch of pulse-racing intensity. Delving into the dark world of domestic violence and society's abject failure to protect those most vulnerable, she has produced a gripping thriller, brimming with heart and intellect.' Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord



Paula is a dedicated suburban GP, who is devastated by the murder of a friend and her children by their estranged husband and father. Stacey and the children had been staying with her after fleeing his control, and Paula is haunted by the thought that she couldn't protect them when they most needed it. How had she missed the warning signs? How had she failed to keep them safe?

Not long after, a patient with suspicious injuries brings her anxious young son into Paula's surgery. The woman admits that her husband hurts her, but she's terrified to leave for fear of escalating the violence, and defeated by the consistent failures of the law to help her.

Can Paula go against everything she believes to make sure one woman is saved, one child spared? She isn't motivated by revenge. She's desperately trying to prevent a tragedy . . .

A riveting, provocative novel about women's fury, traumatic grief, new love, deep friendship, and the preciousness of life, The Family Doctor asks the questions: Should you cling to faith in a flawed system, or take control the only way you can? Can a good person justify taking a life to save a life?



'Mesmerising and heart-breaking. A perfect story for this moment in time.' Sarah Bailey, author of Where the Dead Go

'The Family Doctor brings urgent news, taking the reader into suburban battlegrounds kept private by the threat and actuality of violence. In crystal-clear prose, Debra Oswald unveils an all-too-believable world of love and loyalty stretched to the limit, with agonising consequences when the best people are forced to do the worst things. When is it justified to fight fire with fire? The moment you finish this novel you will want to find someone else who has read it and talk all night about the vital questions it raises.' Malcolm Knox, author of Bluebird

By:   Debra Oswald
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   458g
ISBN:   9781760877781
ISBN 10:   1760877786
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   01 March 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Debra Oswald is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She is a two-time winner of the NSW Premier's Literary Award and author of the novels Useful (2015) and The Whole Bright Year (2018). She was creator/head writer of the first five seasons of successful TV series Offspring. Her stage plays have been performed around the world and published by Currency Press. Gary's House, Sweet Road and The Peach Season were all shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary Award. Debra has also written four plays for young audiences - Dags, Skate, Stories in the Dark and House on Fire. Her television credits include award-winning episodes of Police Rescue, Palace of Dreams, The Secret Life of Us, Sweet and Sour and Bananas in Pyjamas. Debra has written three Aussie Bites books for kids and six children's novels, including The Redback Leftovers, Getting Air and Blue Noise. Debra has been a storyteller on stage at Story Club and will perform her one-woman show, Is There Something Wrong With That Lady?, in 2021.

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