Absent Children now available in paperback!
Hope and Inspiration
Tragedy can, and does, ruin relationships and divide families. Absent children is the story of a couple who can’t communicate their guilt and pain, and it looks as if there’s no way back. The author takes us into the thoughts and fears of each, a device cleverly sustained over the progress of their own story and its context against the background of their families. The scope of events widens out as the book progresses, and this results in a most satisfying whole. A constant in the book is Claude, a dog with opinions of his own, who loves his humans and is a low-key observer of events. Sounds unlikely? No, it works, and feels totally natural. In fact the way the book is written brings the reader effortlessly into the family, and all the little everyday detailing is well observed and convincing. It feels like real life, with its highs and lows, its hope and inspiration.
A Potential Lifechanger
This is a wonderfully entertaining story about characters struggling to cope with the difficulties life is throwing their way. Townsend knows how to keep a plot intriguing by adding in the right mix of conflict and gradual resolution. Jess, Luke and other characters are all believable and richly drawn. One special delight is Claude the beagle who is Jess’s very special companion. Oh, and the novel is set in Australia which adds to its charm.
In addition to telling a terrific story, Townsend manages to present in a realistic way the pros and cons of home birth. Although well past that stage in my life, had I read a book like this when pregnant, it would have at least made home birth something I would have considered. I love books that both tell me a good story and also leave me feeling I have learned something new about the world and our human condition. And that is what I feel Townsend has accomplished with Absent Children. A terrific debut.
A cleverly written story, from multiple perspectives, of a sometimes harrowing personal and emotional journey. Hopefully it will add to the homebirth debate and raise awareness of the issues.
Confronts everybody’s worst fears
I am not a critic but I know what I enjoy, I loved the story, a great read about a frightening subject.
Absent Children is a compelling story
Fall in love with Jess and Luke as they reconnect and recommit to their marriage. Absent Children makes you think about pregnancy and birth, love and marriage, parents and pets
A lovely story about the cycle of life
A lovely book with realistic characters who experience the ups and downs of life, both individually and eventually, together. My favourite character was the beagle Claude, who supported the family throughout, but spoke to Jess with the wisdom of one older than time. Keep the tissues handy.
Leaves you with a warm glow
Jessamy and Luke are meant to be together, but life has dealt them a harsh blow and they have different ways of coping with it. The author skilfully shows us both sides of a marriage where the couple is trying to cling on to hope. A meeting with an inspirational person and some important news help them on their journey. And of course their faithful canine companion, Claude! I wish there were more Claudes in the world, and I’ve been listening to my own dog lately to see if he makes any sense! Nothing so far!
An emotional, feel-good story that stays in your mind after you’ve finished it.