#BookLaunch at The Portobello Bookshop | The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto | @angiespotowrite @portybooks @SandstonePress | #bookevent #gothicfiction #booktwitter

Last night I went to the book launch for The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto with my good friend and fellow blogger, Kelly. It took place in our beautiful local bookshop, The Portobello Bookshop, which was packed. It was lovely to see so many people there to hear about this book and show support and enthusiasm for the author on publication day. I was surprised and delighted to find that on every seat there was a The Grief Nurse totebag and bookmark. I don’t know if this was the generous gift of the author or the publisher but thank you to whoever it was. You can never have too many bookish totebags right?

As you can maybe just spot in my photo, my copy of the book is a very early proof copy. I had good intentions to read it before the launch but I’m rather behind with my reading just now so it’s still on my reading list. This meant though that I was finding out about the book along with the rest of the audience and it sounds absolutely fascinating.

Angie Spoto (left) Katalina Watt (right)

The event was ably chaired by Katalina Watt who was obviously very familiar with the book and her enthusiasm for it shone through in her interesting and insightful questions.

The Grief Nurse formed part of the thesis for Angie Spoto’s PhD in Creative Writing, which also included essays on grief. The author explained she was partly inspired by wealthy Victorian widows who could hire other people to wear black for them, in effect to do their mourning for them. This gave rise to the idea of the ‘grief nurse’, someone who could take away your grief. Lynx is the grief nurse of the title (all the characters are named after constellations or heavenly bodies) and is the unique position of being close to the Aster family but not part of it. This means she can see a different side to the family, has a different insight.

Angie Spoto reading from The Grief Nurse

Lynx is the grief nurse for the Asters, a rich family, somewhat eccentric and in the best Gothic tradition they all have secrets! Also in the Gothic tradition, the story centres on a big old house, Mount Sorcha. With the book being set on an isolated island and many people dying mysteriously, it sounds like a ‘locked room’ type of read with a murder mystery aspect to the story too.

Angie Spoto spoke about her fascination with Scottish fairytales and folklore and loves the coastal element of Scottish folklore, the idea that the sea can be both beautiful and dangerous. Folklore is woven throughout the story with a strong idea of ‘otherness’ for both the grief nurse and other characters called faders.

Having listened to the conversation last night, I’m looking forward to reading the book even more. It sounds absolutely fascinating with so many interesting strands of the story to discover. The Grief Nurse is published by Sandstone Press in hardback, ebook and audiobook. Underneath the dust-jacket of the hardback is an equally beautiful silver embossed cover.

Full book details

Imagine a world where the wealthy do not have to feel grief… where grief nurses, people who can see and take others’ grief, are indentured to aristocratic families. When the Aster family hold a wake for their eldest son on their isolated island, their secrets and fears begin to unravel, while the bodies start to pile up.

The Grief Nurse follows Lynx, a grief nurse indentured to the Asters, as she carves a space for herself in a world that stigmatises grief and grieving. This is a story about coming into your power, feeling your grief, and learning to welcome it in.

Filled with atmospheric gothic imagery, a large cast of queer characters, and an honest exploration of the importance of grief, The Grief Nurse is very much inspired by the Scottish landscape.

You can order a signed copy of the beautiful hardback from The Portobello Bookshop.
Buying Link:
The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto

Click here for Angie Spotos’s social media and other links

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