This week’s Richard and Judy Book Club choice is a compelling read about a couple devastated by the death of their eldest son…
Between A Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble (£7.99, Penguin)
A family torn apart by tragedy, the story follows Bill and Maggie who meet as teenagers, fall in love and marry when she becomes pregnant. Twenty years later, their eldest son Jake dies in the Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand and the family is devastated.
With their other children Aly and Stan grieving for their brother, Maggie and Bill’s relationship begins to crumble under the stress. And as they begin to rebuild their lives, Kate, a housekeeper with her own secrets and a burning desire to help heal them, enters their world.
JUDY SAYS: “A compulsively readable book, it’s love at first sight for Maggie and Bill when they meet on his gap year in Australia. When she falls pregnant, they marry and leaves her native Oz for a new life in London. The couple are blissfully happy with three children: Jake, Aly, and Stan. What can possibly go wrong?
Jake, just like his father, takes a gap year but dies in Thailand tsunami. Bill immediately flies out determined to find his son and only finds Jake’s body. Distraught with grief, Bill later returns to Thailand to help with the grim clearing-up operation. He leaves Maggie and the others behind. His wife is mute with resentment and despair.”
RICHARD SAYS: “Typically of married couples, Bill and Maggie cope with their grief in very different ways. They grow apart, and eventually separate.
Maggie still loves Bill and hopes that they will eventually get back together – as do their surviving children. But Bill meets another woman in his grief therapy class. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It may be mostly concerned with motherhood, but is has perceptive insights into wider family life. So it is very much a story for fathers, too.”
OUR READER SAYS: “Bill and Maggie are married with 3 children when one day their life is changed forever when their oldest son dies. This book is not about death but about grief and how it can affect a family in different ways.
The story starts two years after Jake’s death with the family already broken up. While the death of a child is a very tough subject, I found the book does go on a bit in the beginning and I was eager to get on with the story. Midway through we are introduced to Kate and this does lift the story and would have been a good starting point for the book.
I found it hard to be a part of the family – more like I was reading from a distance. I liked Maggie’s sister Olivia and would have liked the story told from her view point. I found Maggie a bit irritating with too many details woven into the story, and felt Bill was being blamed for everything.
It was hard to lose myself in the story and after reading a couple of chapters I found it forgettable. But if you’re a mother and like Elizabeth Noble’s other books you will probably love it.”
Krissel McGuinness, 39, Cambridgeshire
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If you like this, try these…
Me Before You, Jo Jo Moyes (£7.99, Penguin)
When Lou takes a job as a carer to wheelchair bound Will, little does she know that her life is about to be turned upside doen.
Things I Want My Daughters To Know, Elizabeth Noble (£7.99, Penguin)
A truly touching book about the letters a mother writes for her four daughters when she is dying – and the effect these letters have.
PS I Love You, Cecilia Ahern (£7.99, HarperCollins)
When Holly’s soul mate dies, he leaves behind advice and support in the shape of monthly notes. A wonderfully uplifting novel.