“A Mother’s Loss” by Caroline Rebisz

The story of two women divided by time totally pulled me in. “A Mother’s Loss” by Caroline Rebisz is a beautiful, but also heart-breaking, story of how it feels to go through the most painful loss a woman can experience.

Before relocating to the Norfolk countryside, Liz had it all. A house in London, a successful and loving husband, a highly-demanding but satisfying career, and beautiful children. When the unimaginable happens, she simply collapses unable to cope with a nightmare that befalls her. That’s how she sees it: as a nightmare that simply can’t be true and any minute, she will wake up from it.

Motivated by her love for her family, Liz persuades her husband that they need a new home away from London to have a fresh start. Little did she know when they moved into a magnificent historical property in the countryside that another woman’s trauma will be what will eventually help her step on the road to healing.

I found it absolutely fascinating how the author led me into feeling absorbed in the Stamfords’ life. Liz, her husband Giles, as well as their teenage children Jo and Harry, from fictional characters quickly became almost friends whom I’ve known for many years. Weaving together the family’s present with bits and pieces from their previous life in London, Ms Rebisz draws a full picture of who the Stamfords are.

With the same impressive skill, the author delves into the past drawing a similarly vivid picture of another household. One hundred and fifty years ago, life was completely different. For women, it was an existence void of almost any rights. While for everyone, except the nobility, it was filled with hard work.

When Liz “meets” Sarah, for a short moment, she is terrified. It’s understandable. It is in our instincts to be afraid of ghosts. But Liz, being an intelligent woman with an inquisitive mind, quickly realises the ghost isn’t here to turn her family’s life in their new home into a nightmare. As a mother who has experienced tremendous loss, Liz feels that Sarah has contacted her to ask for help. And as Liz dives deeper into the investigation of the past events, she slowly moves up to the surface reconciling with her own grief.

I loved how the author masterfully combined the good and the bad sides of life in her story. I know from experience that dreadful things happen even to the perfect families, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the family unit collapses and crumbles under “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.  It was deeply gratifying to read about the family whose members act like people who love each other and are prepared to put efforts into making each other happy, even after the huge loss that shattered their dreams and expectations.

“A Mother’s Loss” is a book that will pull at every mother’s heartstrings, at the same time, giving hope that as long as your loved ones stand by you, everything eventually will be okay.

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