Mother and Child by Sunday Times bestseller Annie Murray is a moving story of loss, friendship and hope over two generations . . .
Jo and Ian’s marriage is hanging by a thread. One night almost two years ago, their only child, Paul, died in an accident that should never have happened. They have recently moved to a new area of Birmingham, to be near Ian’s mother Dorrie who is increasingly frail. As Jo spends more time with her mother-in-law, she suspects Dorrie wants to unburden herself of a secret that has cast a long shadow over her family.
Haunted by the death of her son, Jo catches a glimpse of a young boy in a magazine who resembles Paul. Reading the article, she learns of a tragedy in India . . . But it moves her so deeply, she is inspired to embark on a trip where she will learn about unimaginable pain and suffering.
As Jo learns more, she is determined to do her own small bit to help. With the help of new friends, Jo learns that from loss and grief, there is hope and healing in her future.
I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A thought-provoking read, which focuses on a personal tragedy for Jo and Ian, and how they learn to live again after their devastating loss. Estranged, through their different ways of dealing with loss, they decide a physical move might help, and relocate in Birmingham close to Ian’s family roots.
Ian withdraws into his work, leaving Jo alone, not wanting to continue her life. Dorrie, Ian’s mum requires care and support. Gradually as their relationship deepens, from mutual need and proximity, Jo begins to feel she has a role in life. Dorrie tries to unburden herself and help Jo by sharing her painful past. This part of the story goes back to historic Birmingham between the wars and makes interesting poignant reading.
Inspired by an article, written about the aftermath of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, she reads, Jo finds it resonates. She wants to do something to help the people, who are still suffering over thirty years on, in the wake of the chemical disaster.
Through new friendships forged out of her need to move on, she finds like-minded women, who together make a difference for Bhopal in terms of fundraising and help Jo to find a worthwhile purpose for what remains of her life.
This is a poignant story of loss and the wasteland it leaves behind, which echoes the loss in Bhopal and the devastation, in terms of lives lost and blighted since the disaster. Jo finds new purpose by helping those who are still suffering, and whilst this book is an intelligent sensitive story, it also highlights a real human disaster that will remain for generations to come.
In the book, you can read more about what happened in Bhopal and about how the book itself came to be written.
If you would like to read more about the Bhopal disaster, and the Bhopal Medical Appeal, which Annie Murray supports click here.
Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and read English at St John’s College, Oxford. Her first ‘Birmingham’ novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including The Bells of Bournville Green, a sequel to the bestselling Chocolate Girls, and A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.