Letters to my Husband by Stephanie Butland

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With thanks to Netgalley and Random House UK for review copy. Published in paperback by Black Swan 9 April 2015

Elizabeth knows that her husband is kind and good and that he loves her unconditionally. She knows she hasn’t been herself lately but that, even so, they are happy. But Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when Mike dies in a tragic drowning accident. Suddenly everything Elizabeth knows about her husband is thrown into doubt. Why would he sacrifice his own life, knowing he’d never see his wife again? And what exactly was he doing at the lake that night? Elizabeth knows that writing to Mike won’t bring him back, but she needs to talk to him now more than ever . . . How much can you ever know about the people you love?

It isn’t often that a book moves me to tears but the opening few chapters of this book did. It was heartbreaking reading about Elizabeth’s grief after the sudden, tragic death of her husband Mike. It is one of these situations where you can’t help thinking what if this happened in my life: how would I feel? Stephanie Butland has written very movingly about the depth of Elizabeth’s grief as she tries to comprehend and cope with what has happened. The effects of Mike’s death on his mother and friends is also convincingly depicted and shows how people deal with loss in very different ways. Elizabeth’s letters to Mike are full of sadness, despair and anger. And when a secret is revealed which shows Mike in a different light, the characters have ever more conflicting emotions to cope with. A sensitive portrayal of grief and loss told amazingly well by this debut author. I look forward to her future novels.

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