In March we published Love Like Salt, a beautifully lyrical, moving memoir by Helen Stevenson.
When she discovered that her baby daughter had cystic fibrosis, one of the most common incurable inherited diseases, Helen Stevenson stopped writing, feeling she needed every ounce of her strength to protect her child: ‘Some of it I did in secret, like a madwoman muttering spells. I thought of her as a candle, cupping my hand around her.’
At the same time as her baby’s diagnosis, her own mother began her descent into dementia. This is a wise, beautiful memoir, about mothers and daughters, music and illness, genes and inheritance, writing and story-telling. It is about following your dreams – in Helen’s case, to a beautiful house in rural France … and back again.
If you loved Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink or The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, this book is for you, and it has attracted some incredible reviews which we’d like to share with you here.
‘It’s a slice of a life . . . a complex, intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, rather lyrical book’
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love
‘An extraordinarily beautiful and mysterious book about parenthood and the random blows that life deals us, as well as the quest to belong, the life of the mind and, ultimately, love. And what glorious prose: Helen Stevenson has a conjuror’s knack of seeming to throw everything in, and creating not a jumble, but something that makes absolute, awe-inspiring sense’
‘A portrait of mothers and children, of a daughter’s illness and how it rearranges relationships in unexpected ways. The author weaves in reflections on music and mortality, France and England, religion and secularism, and on the protective love that a mother feels for a sick child . . . Stevenson has written an honest, poetic, affecting book that will speak to any reader’
Mail on Sunday
‘A beautiful memoir . . . Translating the world is what we all do but she reminds us that one can hope – with a mind as intricately well read and original as hers – to translate misfortune: to absorb and see beyond it . . . Stevenson makes of poetry, fiction and philosophy a protective shawl for her story – never a shroud . . . Although intense, she has a carefree wit . . . Remarkable’
Kate Kellaway, Observer
‘This memoir is full of seeming tricks from fairy stories that turn out to have the weight of science behind them’
Claudia FitzHerbert, Daily Telegraph
‘Motherhood, medicine and music are explored with a spellbinding intensity. It is a beautifully written and entirely emotionally honest memoir . . . Stevenson acknowledges the pain and overwhelming melancholy of being the mother of a sick child but she also manages to wholeheartedly celebrate the life of her family, who are still determined to live as luminous a life as possible, to make a kind of poetry out of the everyday’
Eithne Farry, Sunday Express
‘Exquisite . . . An intelligent, complex, deeply affecting book about love, motherhood, ghosts, music, poetry, sickness, health, religion, magical thinking, time, place, and the things that get lost in translation. At the same time, it’s highly readable’
Charlotte Moore, Spectator
‘A touching memoir about motherhood and illness that teaches powerful lessons about resilience and finding joy where you can’
‘Stevenson’s memoir is true life turned into poetry . . . told in the most mesmerising of words, no adjective is extraneous. . . Ultimately, Love Like Salt follows in the hallowed footsteps of Helen MacDonald’s brilliant H is for Hawk or Cathy Rentzenbrink’s The Last Act of Love. These are not misery memoirs but reminders that life comes in all shades – that in the darkest moments, beauty and humour can be found’
Francesca Brown, Stylist
‘A moving treatise on inheritance, not just of a disease like cf, but of our attitudes to living and loving, our sense of cultural and familial landscape, and how these intangibles pass down through generations’
Victoria Lambert, Daily Telegraph
‘A beautiful love letter to her family from an intelligent woman who has had to dig deep just to survive’
Irish Examiner/ Scottish Herald