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The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

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‘Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.’

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

Hannah Beckerman gives an unforgettable exploration of love and loss in her first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook.’

I’m so excited to be a part of Hannah’s blog tour and I would like to say a huge thank you to both Hannah and Katie for allowing me to take part.

This review has taken what seems like forever to write, how do I possibly put into words about how much I loved this book? You know when you read a book that you connect with so much, you don’t want to share it with anyone, you want to keep it a secret, keep it as yours. That’s exactly how I feel about this.

This story is told completely from Rachel’s perspective, but Rachel is dead. It’s been a year since she died and she is stuck in place which allows her random access to see how her husband, Max and Daughter Ellie, are getting on.

Rachel has to watch her family grieve for her and come to terms with losing the most important person in their world. Rachel isn’t granted the luxury of choosing what she sees and doesn’t see, it’s very sporadic and leaves Rachel feeling frustrated and angry. It’s torturous for her, to see them and hear them, but not be able to touch them, smell them, speak to them. To be able to reassure her tiny daughter or husband that she still loves them and everything will be ok.

As time progresses she has to watch those around Max pushing him into moving on, maybe start dating. But Rachel is dead, surely he won’t, surely he can’t. Rachel isn’t ready so Max can’t be ready.

We watch with baited breath how each of them come to terms with Rachel’s death. We watch each of them have their hearts broken and we as readers are just desperate to see them overcome their grief and hope they can find happiness.

I’m not telling you any more because it needs to be read rather than told.

This book is just incredible, I’ve never read a book that literally feels like the author has got into my mind and wrote down every fear I’ve ever had as a mother and wife.

Hannah’s writing is beautiful and she tells the story perfectly, capturing every emotion perfectly, you will find it hard to believe this is a debut book.

It’s hard to put into words just how incredible and accurate this book is. Accurate in the sense, I truly believe that Rachel’s emotions were EXACTLY what you would expect to feel yourself. As well as what Max and Ellie go through. Max has lost the woman he expected to spend his life with and has to put his grief aside for their daughter Ellie. He has to stay strong and not let Rachel be forgotten, he has to face a future where he brings Ellie up without her mum. As for Ellie she has to grow without having her potential best friend by her side giving her advice on boys, being there when she has a bad day, when she needs help with homework. Or just when she needs a hug. Both have only each other now. It’s such a superb take on grief and love and loss.

So many times I have heard people talk about how a book has changed their life and just thought “that’s ridiculous” but now I truly understand that saying.

This is a breath-taking read that will have you captivated until the very last page. It’s raw, honest and will have you sobbing your eyes out from the love that emanates from the pages.

Stunning, mesmerising, captivating and thought provoking. A truly heart-achingly good book that’s uplifting and a book to be treasured.

It’s not often a writer of this quality comes along. Hannah Beckerman is a lady you should watch.

You can get Hannah’s book on kindle and paperback.

For the tour each host as well as Hannah was asked to talk about favourite memories from different times of our lives, today me and Hannah are talking about our teenage years.

Hannah’s favourite teenage memory:

When I was seventeen I was living in the depths of the Norfolk countryside with my mum and her partner. There were no trains, no buses, no way at all of me travelling the fifteen miles into Norwich to go to college or, more importantly, to meet my friends for the evening. Consequently, my driving test had taken on the significance of my Ticket to Freedom. I’d already failed my first: the boy I’d been dating dumped me the night before and even though he was a bit of a doofus and I wasn’t really that keen on him, no seventeen year old likes getting dumped – in fact, it was probably worse precisely because he was a bit of a doofus. By the time my second test arrived, passing it had become the single most important thing in my life: much more important than boys or A levels or UCAS forms. I had to win my freedom. I remember getting into the car with the instructor and hearing him exhale a weary sigh as if to say: Here we go, another divvy teenager who really shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel of a car. It made me even more determined not to fail, again. We got off to a shaky start as I pulled too rapidly out of a junction, but for the next 40 minutes I kept my hands firmly at ten-to-two, performed a perfect three-point turn, reversed park without a hitch and didn’t do anything to make the instructor slam his foot down on the emergency break (unlike my first test when that had happened not once but twice). When we returned to base and the instructor told me I’d passed, I would have kissed him had I not thought he might rescind the certificate straight away. Walking out of there, a fully fledged, legal driver, felt to me like my most tangible shift into adulthood: much more than voting for the first time or going to university or moving into my first flat: because driving meant freedom and independence, and what more does any teenager want than that, after all?

My favourite teenage memory:

My favourite childhood memory would be my younger sister being born. I will never ever forget that day, I had waited for what seemed like forever to welcome a new baby brother or sister into the world.

My mum was originally having a home birth which me and my brother could be a part of, I’d never been so excited. Unfortunately my mum had to have a cesarian. I remember being allowed the day off school to wait at the hospital, a secret that only me, my brother and mum and dad were in on.

The morning arrived and off we all went to the hospital, excited and nervous at what lay ahead. Me and my brother weren’t both allowed in so we had to wait outside with my mums friend. The wait seemed to take SO long, I’ve never clock watched so much in my life. I remember pacing the floor and constantly seeking reassurance from mums friend that all was ok. This was bigger than any Christmas Day.

At one point I remember my dad coming out to check on us and being outraged he had left my mum. (He hadn’t, they just hadn’t started!).

Then finally after waiting and waiting and waiting, out comes my dad. I instantly burst into tears from being worried and excited, I was overcome with emotion. FINALLY we was meeting the new baby of the family. He asked us if we wanted to know if we had a brother or sister, I was adamant he didn’t tell us, I wanted to find out for myself, and I promise you after saying no, I burst into tears and cried “I have a sister don’t I?” My dad just laughed and hugged me.

The corridor we walked down seemed to take forever, then finally we walked through the door and my mum was laying in a bed with a tiny bundle in her arms. I cried my eyes out, was my mum ok? I’d never seen her like this. She was fine. Then she introduced us to Jessica, my little sister.

I’ve NEVER known a love that can happen so instantly, but it did, as I looked down at my baby sister I was overcome with how much I already loved and adored her. Because of how serious an operation my mum had had she had to stay in hospital for a few nights and every time we had to leave I cried in the car on the way home, I just wanted them home so bad and I missed them. She was only hours old and I missed her, that’s impossible right?

I spent my entire teenage life doting on that girl. I would take her shopping every Sunday when I got a job, then would spend all my wages buying her things and treating her to a cake on the way home.

To this day I still adore her and I would do absolutely anything for her. As she grows I see an incredible and intelligent girl turning into an incredible and intelligent woman who I would do absolutely ANYTHING for.

She is my best teenage memory!

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7 thoughts on “The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

  1. Ohh Victoria, this whole post nearly made me cry!
    This book sounds AMAZING! Really really wanna read it now after your review and hearing such incredible things from everyone about it! I love books that make you cry buckets – I know that sounds really morbid but it just shows how good the book is!
    I loved both of your teenage memories! It’s so lovely that you adore your sister so much, makes a really nice change because everyone usually moans about how annoying their siblings are.
    xxxxxx

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