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A Terrible Kindness

Jo Browning Wroe
2022, 380 p.

It is October 1966 when the novel starts. William Lavery, 19 years old and recently qualified as an embalmer, responds to a call for his services in a Welsh village struck by a terrible natural disaster. After attending to the bodies of numerous young children, he is struck by memories of his own childhood, dominated by conflicts between his mother and his father’s family, and by his experiences in a strict boarding school for choristers. After his return from Wales, William joins his family’s firm of undertakers and eventually marries his long-term girlfriend, Gloria. But despite building up a successful professional life and a good partnership with his wife, he remains haunted by his memories until, years later, he has a chance meeting with a boyhood friend and visits Wales with Gloria, finding the place totally changed. A gripping debut novel about the struggle for a balanced life.


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