Two births, two tragedies. A family battered but resilient and searching for the answers they need to bring them solace and help them heal.
What readers have said about Absent Children:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the message of this book. I wish I had read this book prior to having babies, I may have actually done a home birth or had a midwife!! You have a way of writing simply but with a powerful emotional punch. Kate Moretti, author of Thought I Knew You.
Apart from being a well conceived story in plot and dialogue, your exposition of the Home vs Hospital debate comes across as faultless, and your personal experience adds a shiny touch of depth in order to give the reader a chance at finding out the REAL reality of giving birth. Brilliant! I can comment on this, as I have been Senior Sister on a busy Consultant Labour Ward for many years. Ame W.
Finished Absent Children in the small hours last night – have been eager to get back to it every night, and the last three I’ve devoured great gollops of it, racing for the line – the story really hooks you. Suzanne Egerton, author of Out Late with Friends and Regrets.
Wow! I’ve literally just finished Absent Children and have thoroughly enjoyed the read. You kept me wanting to read each page and I think the 2 main characters will stay with me for a long time. I think you cover the sensitive subject of losing a baby very well, you tap into the dispair/fear/blame and failure so well that it is totally believable. You portray a modern marriage artfully – giving us the bare bones as well as the tenderness. Jan T
It’s not often I find a book that wraps me into it as swiftly, I thoroughly enjoyed every chapter and found it very hard to stop reading. You have the ability to convey the thoughts of each character and I liked the back and forth in each chapter which allowed me to feel for each side of the story. Wendy P.
A Potential Lifechanger
This is a wonderfully entertaining story about characters struggling to cope with the difficulties life is throwing their way. Townsend knows how to keep a plot intriguing by adding in the right mix of conflict and gradual resolution. Jess, Luke and other characters are all believable and richly drawn. One special delight is Claude the beagle who is Jess’s very special companion. Oh, and the novel is set in Australia which adds to its charm.
In addition to telling a terrific story, Townsend manages to present in a realistic way the pros and cons of home birth. Although well past that stage in my life, had I read a book like this when pregnant, it would have at least made home birth something I would have considered. I love books that both tell me a good story and also leave me feeling I have learned something new about the world and our human condition. And that is what I feel Townsend has accomplished with Absent Children. A terrific debut.
Ann Warner, author of Counterpointe, Dreams for Stones, Persistence of Dreams and Absence of Grace.
A cleverly written story, from multiple perspectives, of a sometimes harrowing personal and emotional journey. Hopefully it will add to the homebirth debate and raise awareness of the issues.
Leaves you with a warm glow
Jessamy and Luke are meant to be together, but life has dealt them a harsh blow and they have different ways of coping with it. The author skilfully shows us both sides of a marriage where the couple is trying to cling on to hope. A meeting with an inspirational person and some important news help them on their journey. And of course their faithful canine companion, Claude! I wish there were more Claudes in the world, and I’ve been listening to my own dog lately to see if he makes any sense! Nothing so far!
An emotional, feel-good story that stays in your mind after you’ve finished it.
Margaret Johnson, author of The Goddess Workshop.