Sorry for your Loss by Kate Marshall with Linda Watson-Brown @MardleBooks

Following Kate Marshall’s first year in the mortuary at a north of England NHS hospital, with each month exploring the people she meets, in life and death, as well as her own growing awareness of life behind the veil. 

  • Meet Mr X Found in his apartment months after his death, Mr X has no relatives that can be traced. He is the longest-serving resident of the mortuary, having been there for almost a year while the search for his elusive family continues. The staff talk to him like an old friend, but Mr X is disintegrating and a decision has to be made soon.
  • Meet Mary Her baby girl has been lost in the 15th week of pregnancy, Mary’s last chance to have a child. Mary won’t allow Abigail to leave the mortuary until she has finished reading a book to her. She visits twice each day, sitting with her baby, reading to her, speaking to no one, until she finally opens up to Kate.
  • Meet Joe A loving husband and father who has died suddenly of a heart attack. Joe is visited by his wife, his children – and his mistress. On the day that all his worlds collide, Kate witnesses how death can finally reveal the truth of years of lies.

Sorry for Your Loss is haunting, uplifting and informative, with many moments of laughter, and shows us that the way we approach death can make life all the more precious.

Sorry For Your Loss is quite a change from my usual reads but I was strangely drawn to Kates story, fascinated by what would draw someone towards her job. After working in a coroner’s office and cleaning up after hoarders (a job far more difficult and frustrating than you would imagine and a job I could never do!! I’m a thrower outer!!) Kate decides her life needs some change in it and apply a for a job in Bereavement Services in an NHS hospital somewhere in the Manchester area. Now I’ve often seen signs for Bereavement Services in my local hospital but I had thought (wrongly as it happens) that it was some form of counselling service! But Kate explains in great detail that it is in fact where bodies go after they have passed away so that families can view them before they go off to the undertaker. That is obviously my simple way of explaining it but Kate gives far more of an insight into what she does and some of it may surprise or even shock you!

Although it’s difficult to read Sorry For Your Loss without reading some very detailed descriptions of the deceased, at no point does it feel disrespectful or voyeuristic. As with any job you come into contact with a variety of people and situations can vary between heartbreakingly sad and hilariously funny and nothing is too small or too horrific to be shared. From suicides to Covid and from old age to babies, Kate has had to deal with them all in her calm, firm manner and it made me hope that there is a “Kate” in every hospital mortuary! Especially when you realise that there are some very VERY strange people out there who would like her job!

This wasn’t anywhere near as uncomfortable or distressing as I expected it to be and that is down to the way in which Kate handles herself. She goes above and beyond in her role whilst still maintaining her professionalism and showing such empathy throughout. Her attitude towards death is very matter of fact even though she has also gone through her own losses and I felt a sense of peace especially as I read towards the final few pages. Sorry for your Loss is ultimately an uplifting and insightful look at a job very few of us could carry out ourselves so I am thankful that Kate and others like her are there for us in our hour of need-whichever side of that mortuary door we are on.

Sorry for your Loss was published by Mardle Books on 21st July 2022.

Kate Marshall has worked in mental health, special needs and in the field of bereavement for many years with roles incorporating the coroner’s office, mortuary and Bereavement Services. She lives in Cheshire.

Linda Watson-Brown is a ghostwriter who has worked on more than 30 titles, many of them Sunday Times bestsellers.

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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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