Blurb for Absent Children by Juli Townsend:
Two births, two tragedies. A family battered but resilient and searching for the answers they need to bring them solace and help them heal.
When the birth of their first baby goes devastatingly wrong, Jessamy and Luke’s grief is complicated by the perceived guilt they each carry. Meaningful communication between them is lost and their marriage deteriorates.
A memorial service provides the opening needed for the couple to be honest with each other. Secrets are revealed and love rediscovered, but when the one thing Luke hoped for above all else becomes a reality, their joy is short-lived. It brings a new complication that threatens to destroy their fragile marriage.
Birth, death, forgiveness, and acceptance are the warp and weave of Jessamy and Luke’s story. But most of all, Absent Children is about love — the love between a man and a woman, and the love of parents for their children, present and absent.
What readers have said about Absent Children:
I loved this read. The writing is simple and from the heart, very smooth and natural. Gail C.
I think this would be a wonderful book for any expectant mother to read. Must confess, if you asked me what I thought about home-birth before I read this, I would have been solidly in Luke’s corner. I think you do a good job laying out the realities. Ann W.
I adored Claude. You had me in tears a few times during the read, which is a compliment to your writing and how much you made me care about the characters. Lesa C.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the message of this book. I wish I had read this book prior to having babies, I may have actually done a home birth or had a midwife!! You have a way of writing simply but with a powerful emotional punch. Kate M.
Finished AC in the small hours last night – have been eager to get back to it every night, and the last three I’ve devoured great gollops of it, racing for the line – the story really hooks you. Suzanne E.
Apart from being a well conceived story in plot and dialogue, your exposition of the Home vs Hospital debate comes across as faultless, and your personal experience adds a shiny touch of depth in order to give the reader a chance at finding out the REAL reality of giving birth. Brilliant! I can comment on this, as I have been Senior Sister on a busy Consultant Labour Ward for many years. Ame W.
Wow! I’ve literally just finished Absent Children and have thoroughly enjoyed the read. You kept me wanting to read each page and I think the 2 main characters will stay with me for a long time. I think you cover the sensitive subject of losing a baby very well, you tap into the dispair/fear/blame and failure so well that it is totally believable. You portray a modern marriage artfully – giving us the bare bones as well as the tenderness. Jan T
Brilliant. The more you read the more you want to read. Love it! Liz X.
I loved this. It’s a story with resonance for me and I’m sure a lot of women (and men) and not that often explored. I think you have drawn believable, likeable but slightly flawed main narrators. They both stop listening and allow fear to drive them. Sarah M.
This is a beautiful sensitively written book. Great writing. Would keep a book club talking for weeks. Jo L.
It’s not often I find a book that wraps me into it as swiftly, I thoroughly enjoyed every chapter and found it very hard to stop reading. You have the ability to convey the thoughts of each character and I liked the back and forth in each chapter which allowed me to feel for each side of the story. Wendy P.
This reads very well, with a modern, smooth style which engrosses the reader fully into each chapter and pushes the story along effortlessly. What you have is two down to earth loving characters in a small slice of life being put through an emotional washing machine. Clair G.
I absolutely loved the book. Pam B.
For those of you still reading, here’s some balance – a possible negative and a controversial:
I’m wondering, if this goes to print (which I’m almost sure it will) will it come ready packed with a box of Kleenex tissues included? Liz X
I’m more interested in women demanding their rights at hospitals than I am in seeing women give birth in unsafe conditions. Jo L.
- Celebrities Giving Birth at Home (everydayfamily.com)
- Why childbirth isn’t just about facts and figures… (birthandbabynetwork.com)
- Letter Re: How to Prepare for a Home Birth in a Post Collapse Situation (survivalblog.com)
- Fact or Fiction – Orgasmic Birth, holistic birth, orgasmic birth, birthing plans, giving birth, childbirth, labor (everydayfamily.com)
- Childbirth: why I take the scientific approach to having a baby (guardian.co.uk)
- Have you had a home birth? (ssimplyme.com)
- A post from when I was 39 weeks preggers with baby #3 (I call it writing while angry) (wholisticlivingwithmelissa.com)
- What’s it like for a father to deliver his own baby? (telegraph.co.uk)