Saturday 19 June 2021

Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen BLOG TOUR @KtAllenWriting @OrendaBooks #EverythingHappensForAReason #JubilantJune


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...

Both a heart-wrenchingly poignant 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 read and, quite simply, unforgettable.

Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen is published by Orenda Books. Ebook - 10 April 2021, Paperback 10 June 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review for this Blog Tour. 

Rachel Summers is on maternity leave, but she doesn't have a baby. Three weeks ago, her son Luke was stillborn. She had expected, and planned to spend her days after the birth caring for a newborn, getting to know him, creating a family and showing her son off to the world.

Instead, Rachel is a mother without a baby, her days are empty. Her husband Ed does try, but his own grief is overwhelming too and their tragic loss seems to have created a barrier between them, rather than strengthen their relationship. Rachel has an assortment of well-meaning family and friends, none more than her own mother who is confident that her prayer group will bring comfort to Rachel. Instead, the comment 'everything happens for a reason' is the only thing that resonates with Rachel, and so she begins to think, and wonder. 

On the day that Rachel discovered that she was pregnant, she stopped a man from jumping from the platform at the Oval Tube station. Rachel convinces herself that's the 'reason', did her son die because she prevented the death of an unknown man? 

Rachel's quest for answers begins again at the Oval where she meets with Lola; one of the staff on duty all those months ago. This is just beginning of Rachel's journey, she will forge friendships and relationships with such a variety of people, including the man that she saved, a small child whose wisdom is often far superior than any adult and  inquisitive sausage dog named Francis. 

Katie Allen has structured her story carefully and cleverly. Written in the form of emails from Rachel to one person, it is not until the reader realises who the recipient of these missives is that the emotional gut punch really hits home. There's an almost voyeuristic feeling as the reader is exposed to Rachel's innermost thoughts about her loss and grief and the effects that those have on her life. We grimace as those around her expect her to bounce back, get over it and carry on. We smile wryly as she describes people and events with a dry and infectious humour. We reach for the tissues as her absolute agony is laid out, in words, shared only with the one person who will not disagree with her.

Rachel is a complicated character. She often makes rash and almost impossible to understand decisions, but this is how grief works. There's no set formula, there are no guidelines. Our brains and our hearts react differently, our emotions are as individual as we are and Rachel's unique way of dealing with her loss is exquisitely and perfectly played out within these pages. 

Emotionally engaging, witty, clever and wonderfully satisfying, Everything Happened For A Reason is a story that totally captured my heart. Packed with characters who leap from the page, and become a part of the reader's life too, and filled with warmth, humour and incredible love. 

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.

Twitter @KtAllenWriting

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