Elowen by William Henry Searle

4 out of 5 stars

The publisher provided a copy of this, free of charge, in return for an honest review.

My first child was born over 22 years ago now. It was a fairly straightforward birth, but she wasn’t the easiest baby. Now she is a confident young woman who knows her mind. The thought of losing her just before she made an appearance is something that I really don’t know how I would cope with.

It happens though and one of those people that this tragedy happened to is William Henry Searle and his partner Amy. Their daughter was due around the end of July and until a few days before, everything seemed to be well with both mother and child. He wakes to find Amy holding her swollen tummy saying that she can’t feel any movement. She is pale and beginning to panic. They make the journey to Southampton Hospital rather quickly and after various medical examinations discover that their daughter has died in the womb.

Elowen would never know her parents and they would never know her.

To say this is a moving book is an understatement. He is angry and wants to know why it happened. Was it something that they did? Was there another problem that the scans and checks they do these days never picked up? He explores these and other questions as well as taking us through some of his own personal dark moments of grief.

He goes through the five stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They do not happen one after another, instead, it is mixed in a swirl of emotions and other feelings. He is very open about his feelings about the loss of Elowen and the raw and heart-rending prose cut right through to me. It reminded me of this, where the grief never fades, rather it becomes part of your character.

I would be lying if I said this was a great book to read; it is and it also isn’t. Seeing the emotional strain of a couple who have lost a child is not going to be for the faint-hearted. This is a book written from the heart of a man who wanted to be a father and is mourning all that he lost. It is an important book though, to show that even though the process of grieving can be long, the energy can be found to be able to do other things in time.

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  1. Penny

    Lovely review Paul. I thought about reading this but I just can’t! I have 3 little grandsons including baby Tom who is 6 months old, and the subject matter breaks my heart.

    • Paul

      Thank you, Penny. It is heart wrenching, but it does have hope too

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