A Good Enough Mother

book covers - a good enough mother - paperback

Two women meet in a Dublin café on a winter afternoon – an encounter that will change both their lives forever.
Tess has no idea who this woman Maeve is, or why she has approached her like this, out of the blue. She says that she has important information about Tess’s younger son, Luke and she insists that Tess needs to listen. As Maeve’s story unfolds, Tess has the strangest feeling that she knows her from somewhere – but she can’t locate her in any of her memories.
As the evening darkens and the café around them seems to grow still, Tess listens in growing distress. The safety of the life and family she has created begin to come apart at the seams.
The fractured lives of mothers and children are woven together in this multi-layered narrative, reminiscent of the creation of a patchwork quilt.

A Good Enough Mother, winner of the inaugural European Rapallo Prize for fiction 2023, is already a bestseller in Italy.

A Good Enough Mother will be launched on the 26th of June @ 6.30 pm at the Irish Writers Centre.

For more information, review copies or interviews, contact contact@betimesbooks.com.

Pre-order ‘A Good Enough MOTHER’ now.


  • I kept thinking about this secret army of women. All of them – all of us – all over Ireland. Mothers of lost children': A Good Enough Mother stitches together the public and the private to devastating effect. Intimate, tender, terrifying, intricately patterned, and told with Catherine Dunne's characteristic empathy, this is an Irish novel for our times.

    Neil Hegarty
  • With characteristic deftness, courage and compassion, Catherine Dunne constructs an intricate patchwork of woven lives exploring motherhood – and its unspoken losses – in the shadow of sexual violence. Taut and reflective, this dark material leaves a lasting sensation of light, brilliance and hope.

    Mia Gallagher
  • Nobody writes like Catherine Dunne. She is wise, clever, and profoundly compassionate. This is a compelling story exploring and comparing the lives of Irish girls and women over the past seventy years. It’s deep, it’s moving, and it’s full of surprises.

    Eilis Ni Dhuibhne
  • This is a nerve-jangling, urgent, brilliantly-paced novel. I read it quickly - I had to. I had to know what was going to happen, and I had to admire the craft and flair that went into its writing.

    Roddy Doyle
  • Tender and harsh in equal measure, A Good Enough Mother - what an apt title - is an absorbing story of women over generations suffering through and somehow managing their various and variously intricate lives. And what a story it is - 'epic', one might say, except that women are too sensible to conceive of life as an epic venture. So, simply: a marvellous book.

    John Banville
'the years that followed', catherine dunne