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...
I'd like to thank Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and Orenda Books for my digital copy of Everything Happens for a Reason to review.
Everything Happens for a Reason is a raw and emotional read that would touch even the coldest of hearts. It follows Rachel as she struggles with her grief following the unexplained death of the baby son she was carrying. She is on maternity leave but without a baby and is trying to make sense of how she is supposed to get through each day feeling the way she does.
The story is mostly told through emails from Rachel to a recipient whose identity is initially unknown but soon becomes clear to the reader. Her every thought and emotion spill out in these emails and it almost felt voyeuristic, that we were snooping into her privacy. But it was also apparent that this was her way of unloading how she was feeling as although her husband and family were around they weren't readily available to hear the things she wanted to say. Like most men her husband Ed, mentioned as E mainly throughout the book, struggled to talk about the way he was feeling and distanced himself by immersing himself into his work. As for her in-laws, the least said about them the better!
A throwaway comment from someone sets Rachel on a path of almost self-destruction as she tries to make sense of why everything happened the way it did. She sets out to track down the man whose life she saved and see what he is doing with his life and in doing so also befriends railway worker Lola and meets her little girl Josephine, JoJo, who was the perfect addition to this story. At times I did feel Rachel was being taken advantage of but at the same time it gave her a purpose, a reason to put one foot in front of the other to get through each day.
Although the premise of the book might sound depressing, it really wasn't. Yes there were moments that broke my heart for Rachel but there were also moments of dark, quirky humour as well. As a non-mother I wondered would I be able to relate to this story but even though I have never been pregnant or suffered the devastating loss of a child, but do have friends who have, I have first-hand experience of the grief and emotions following an unexpected death of a loved one.
Everything Happens for a Reason was a poignant and thought-provoking read unlike anything I've read before. An impressive debut debut novel from Katie Allen.