Published: June 10th, 2021
Genre: Mystery, Humorous Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this spectacular novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Karen at Orenda for the eBook ARC.
When Rachel’s baby is stillborn, she becomes obsessed with the idea that saving a stranger’s life months earlier is to blame. An unforgettable, heart-wrenching, warm and funny debut…
Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.
When a misguided well-wisher tells her that “everything happens for a reason”, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.
Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, Josephine, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…
Both a heart-wrenchingly poignant portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life- affirming read and, quite simply, unforgettable.
Grieving mother Rachel is trying to come to terms with the loss of her baby. She writes emails to her stillborn son, Luke; pouring out her heartbreak, fear, anger and guilt as she tries to make sense of what happened. When one of her mother’s church friends tells her, “everything happens for a reason,” she grasps at it like oxygen. She decides that it all goes back to the day she found out she was pregnant, that when she stopped a man from jumping in front of a train that she exchanged her baby’s life for his. Searching for meaning she tracks him down, determined to find meaning for her pain.
I can’t believe this extraordinary novel is a debut. I expected it to be wonderful and moving, but I didn’t know it would seep into my heart, mind and soul. Or that it would be one of the best books I’ve ever read. Honest, raw, unflinching and heartrending, Rachel’s story is beautifully told, the author drawing on her own experiences of grief and losing a child to inject an authenticity into the writing that is searing. I lived every moment alongside Rachel, going through a kaleidoscope of emotions. But I don’t want you to think this is a depressing book. Far from it. It is sharp, witty, sarcastic and full of dark humour, moving me to laughter as well as tears.
I loved the author’s decision to tell the story through Rachel’s emails. It felt so personal , giving us an insight into who she is and allowed me to feel like I really connected with her. It added realism and I found myself forgetting I was reading about a fictional character. They also put Luke at the heart of the story as a person, rather than just Rachel’s grief. I could see him as clearly as Rachel could, my heart aching that he wasn’t here with her. The emails also allow us to get to know those closest to her, though only from Rachel’s perspective. It saddened me that Rachel seemed to have little support, both practically and emotionally. Grief may be personal, but you need people to be there for you, especially when it is something as tragic as this. So I was thankful that Lola and Josephine came into her life. They were a highlight in the book for me, particularly Josephine. I loved their interactions, the joy she brought into Rachel’s life, and her sassy personality.
Powerful, hopeful, profoundly moving and unforgettable, Everything Happens For A Reason will have a place in my heart forever. A remarkable debut that everyone should read.
TW: Infant death
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London. The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to her ‘Everything happens for a reason’. Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband, children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels.
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Please check out the reviews from other bloggers taking part in the tour.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxxx