Everything Happens For A Reason by Katie Allen @orendabooks

When Rachel’s baby is stillborn, she becomes obsessed with the idea that saving a stranger’s life months earlier is to blame. An unforgettable, heart-wrenching, warm and funny debut…

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.

Publisher Karen Sullivan has a remarkable sixth sense when it comes to knowing which books will appeal to her loyal readers so when she sent me a copy of Everything Happens For A Reason, I was actually overcome with emotions I hadn’t experienced for some time. Like Katie Allen, I also had a period of time off work after losing a baby and having to return to work and the outside world became torture for me. Comments like “What did you have?” And “Out and about without the baby already?”were well meaning but how do you answer!? I used to feel awful for those asking as when I told them they felt so upset that they had asked me that I often ended up comforting THEM!! And yes…people really do trot out the old “everything happens for a reason” but unlike the main character of this book, I didn’t go looking for it…

Rachel is a perfectly portrayed grieving mother (and she is a mother even though she has no baby!) and as I journeyed with her I felt all of her pain and anguish as she wondered why this tragedy had happened to her. Yes, this is an emotionally difficult book to read especially if you have experienced a stillborn baby but it’s also funny, authentically touching and spiritually uplifting. The situations that Rachel finds herself in and the characters that she meets along the way are poignant yet often hilariously portrayed, so please don’t feel as though you shouldn’t pick up this book because of the subject matter as you will find yourself missing a beautifully written novel that is hard to believe is also Katie Allen’s debut.

Everything Happens For A Reason is a brave and often emotionally draining novel but it’s also gripping and told in such a unique way that I absolutely adored it. Katie Allen has delivered a beautifully crafted novel and I can’t recommend it enough!

Everything Happens for a Reason is Katie Allen’s first novel. She used to be a reporter 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 grief and the experience of being on maternity leave without a baby inspired her main character. And yes, someone did say to her “Everything happens for a reason”.
It didn’t propel her to borrow a sausage dog, but it was probably the kernel of this novel. 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, she loves baking, watching comedies, reading news and wishing she had written other people’s brilliant novels. She also loves quiz shows and forcing friends to do quizzes and she wastes hours meandering on the web – but she put that to some use by appearing on the TV show Pointless with her brother Nick.
If you like ginger cats and/or vain dogs you can follow Katie’s pets on Instagram (monkey_and_miko).

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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