Happy Thursday, my lovely peeps🐥!
It’s the start of the month, meaning work is on 🔥with deadlines, but hey! The week is going by unforgiving fast! Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, though.
It’s time for this week’s review and today, we’ll be featuring The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse!
When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.
In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.
Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?
I’ve only read one book by Amanda Prowse, so far, and it had me sobbing through the entire book. I’m talking about crying nearly every single chapter. And so, having this one previous experience with the author and having read the blurb, I knew I needed to prepare my box of tissues and boy, I wasn’t wrong.
Rachel and James had it all. Both having moved from Bristol, a few years back, they were now in paradise; the blue seas and sandy beaches of Bermuda now their home. The couple adored each other and they had Oscar, their little seven-year-old son. What more could you have hoped for?
The story begins at sea, Rachel having woken up next to her beloved husband, enjoying their wonderful life. It wasn’t until she goes to wake Oscar, who, being an early riser, was strangely late and missing. When she peers into her son’s cabin, Rachel realizes he’s not there…or anywhere else on the boat for that matter. In seconds, their paradise crumbles, their happiness lost forever.
This book was terribly sad. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and the grief that follows just envelopes everyone, especially Rachel. So lost in the fog that follows, she can see no future, and eventually heads back home to Bristol to stay awhile with her family. To remain in Bermuda would have brought her pain with each waking day and along with grief, there’s blame and anger between James and Rachel. Neither can forgive each other nor themselves, and so mutually agreed that some time apart may be the only thing left that can help them move forward.
While in Bristol, she begins to receive letters from her housekeeper, Cee-Cee, who is cherished deeply by the family and who also loved Oscar with all her heart. Her letters were a way to help comfort Rachel, telling her stories of her past and of how she went through her own journey with grief after losing her own baby, at seven weeks old, five decades earlier. Here, Rachel begins to learn how to move forward and, along with the help from these letters, she also is supported by her parents, her best friend, and even a group of strangers turned friends at a lovely small café.
This recovery, on both ends, is not easy and by no means is it going to be short. It’s a lifetime of healing and this entire book essentially is their way of learning how to be whole again after losing a major piece of themselves. The story is horribly sad, and I have cried just feeling the raw emotions and screams from Rachel every time she remembers that her little Oscar is no longer going to come back. There is denial at first, and it’s the moment when denial turns to acceptance that hit me the hardest and was the most heartbreaking, but also the beginning of Rachel and Jame’s healing journey.
An amazing book that I simply inhaled my way through, the only thing I didn’t love was that I couldn’t seem to connect with many of the characters, especially the main three that the book revolved around (Rachel, James, and Oscar). I didn’t get to know Oscar outside of two or three memory lines, though those lines were written beautifully; to have Rachel glance at a certain object and getting that flash of a moment back with her baby boy was so realistic. I think, through her letters and stories about her past and her own grief of losing her child, I got to know Cee-Cee more than I got to know Rachel and James. It was also heartbreaking to watch their relationship crumble under them, each grieving their son differently and unable to connect or communicate with each other.
Told in two POVs, Rachel’s and Cee-Cee (and her letters), this was an extremely emotional book that was well-paced, not too quick nor did it drag, that was beautifully written. Despite feeling a bit far-away from some of the characters, in the end, I did love all of them. There are family, friends, and even strangers that have come to offer their own love and support to the family and it’s beautiful.