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, and
eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…
Both a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting
and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination,
Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life-affirming
and, quite simply, unforgettable read.
Rachel followed all of the pregnancy advice to the letter, and made sure she did everything she possibly could to ensure her baby the best start to life, so when her son Luke is delivered stillborn, Rachel finds herself facing the most unimaginable pain of having maternity leave with no baby to care for.
As she struggles to come to terms with her loss, when someone tries to offer her comfort by saying that ‘everything happens for a reason’ Rachel quickly becomes obsessed by this saying, trying to fathom out what it means, and what she has done in the past to have caused such an outcome. This is when Rachel remembers the day she found out she was pregnant with Luke, just so happened to be the same day that she saved a mans life when she stopped him from leaping in front of a train. Rachel begins blaming herself and this act of selflessness for her traumatic loss.
Needing some sort of answer for the pain she is feeling, Rachel decides the only solution is to look for the man whoms life she saved all those months ago. To do this, she enlists the help of Lola, a woman who works on the underground, along with her seven year old daughter. Between them, they manage to track down this man, and when Rachel meets him again, the outcome is something you would never expect.
The story is told in the form of unread emails that Rachel is writing to Luke, and as you can expect with the central theme of this book being loss of grief, some of these letters are heartbreaking and caused me to shed a few tears along the way. As a mother, I cannot begin to imagine how awful it truly is. Katie Allen mentions in the acknowledgements that a lot of Rachel’s thoughts and emotions are brought to life in the shadow of her own loss, something I admire massively as it must have taken great strength to channel all of that emotion once again. Full of fun, sadness and self discovery – a truly fascinating read that I lost myself within.
About the Author
Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie’s first novel. She used to be a journalist and columnist at the Guardian and Observer, and started her career as a Reuters correspondent in Berlin and London.
The events in Everything Happens for a Reason are fiction, but the premise is loosely autobiographical. Katie’s son, Finn, was stillborn in 2010, and her character ’s experience of grief and being on maternity leave without a baby is based on her own. And yes, someone did say to
her ‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Katie grew up in Warwickshire and now lives in South London with her husband, children, dog, cat and stick insects. When she’s not writing or walking children and dogs, Katie loves baking, playing the piano, reading news and wishing she
had written other people’s brilliant novels.
*Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, Orenda Books and Katie Allen for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.*