Thursday 23 January 2014

Review: The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 13 February 2014
Rating: *****
Back Cover Blurb: '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.

"It's the dissolution of memory. For the dead, to be forgotten as if never lived at all. But maybe it's the fate we all face in the end. Not if we'll be forgotten but simply, when".

Rachel is desperately hoping that she is never going to be forgotten, but caught as she is in a place between worlds where her family can't hear the pleas she is sending out to them, she feels it is only a matter of time.

The Dead Wife's handbook is quite different to any book I've read before. We know instantly that the protagonist Rachel has died, young and tragically from a heart condition that no one knew she had. She leaves behind her Husband, Max and her young Daughter Ellie. They are completely lost in their new world without her, but for reasons unknown, she is still able to see them. Not constantly every day as she would in the 'real' world, but occasionally through glimpses that can be minutes or hours at a time.

Rachel resides in an unhappy place,where she suffers loneliness, guilt and anger frequently. She is grateful that she can still see her loved ones. but often feels like she has let them down by dying so young. 

Both Max and Ellie are floored by grief in the initial stages of the novel, the one year anniversary of Rachel's death. As friends and family gather around Max and force him to pull himself together for the sake of his daughter, they spark a chain of events that will change Max and Ellie's lives forever.

Rachel watches helplessly as she sees her family beginning to move on without her. She accepts that this must happen, she wants them to be happy, but she is desperately worried that they are going to forget her...

The Dead Wife's handbook is an emotional book that deals with the subject of grief beautifully, both from the deceased's point of view, and the family members left behind. 

Despite it's subject, it is not in any way morbid, nor does it read like a 'ghost' story. It is a wonderful thought provoking novel and I look forward to reading more from Hannah.

The Dead Wife's Handbook is available from 13 February 2014
You can pre-order The Dead Wife's Handbook from Amazon.

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Thank you to the Publishers who approved my request on Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Thank-you so much for such a lovely and thoughtful review. Am so thrilled you enjoyed it! xxx

  2. Thank you for writing such a great book! Oh and thank you for commenting too xx