BOOK CLUB: If I Should Lose You

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I have read and enjoyed many of Natasha Lester’s historical fiction novels. But, this didn’t prepare me for the emotional impact of “If I Should Lose You”. If you have ever loved someone, anyone, Lester’s latest novel will yank your heart out and stomp on it.

Camille is a donor coordinator and nurse who counsels and supports families donating organs. This is ironic, as her own three-year-old daughter Addie desperately needs an organ. While Camille is ethically bound to keep her professional role and her maternal role separate, she can’t help the emotional overlap.

In many ways, Camille feels she’s alone with her daughter’s illness. Her husband seems to have checked out, always at work, never at the hospital, and rarely present even when physically at home.

In the midst of this emotional turmoil, Camille is invited to curate an exhibition of the art of her late father, juxtaposed with the art of her late mother’s lover. Although Camille welcomes the challenge to the artistic part of her that’s lain unused for years, she does not welcome the additional turmoil that comes from exploring her mother’s life.

This is a novel about love and loss, but Lester doesn’t confine herself to just one kind of loss. There’s a strong exploration of the relationship between mothers and children – they happen to be daughters, in each generation, but I’m not sure that’s significant. Lester also shows a sensitive eye for the loss of love, as a marriage goes cold, and for the obsessive passion that a new lover can bring.

This is a complex novel – no relationship ever sits alone. Each is intertwined in a network of others, past and present. And yet, textually, it’s an easy read: Lester’s understated style helps the pages turn fast and keeps the focus on the emotions evoked rather than the words.

We spend most of the novel in Camille’s heart and head. I found Lester’s almost distant narrative style incredibly effective in drawing me in: it didn’t distance me, it just gave the sense of a woman who is keeping herself at a remove from her own emotions in order to function. Camille is well aware that she’s doing it, but can’t envision how she could handle her emotionally fraught days without some ice in her veins.

Readers will quickly engage with Camille. Lester tends to steer away from cheap heart-string-tugging strategies, instead drawing readers deeply into Camille’s emotions and then letting them share her agony.

This is not a happy novel, but my goodness it is worth reading. It is beautiful and devastating and the kind of novel that you’ll remember for a long long time.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading If I Should Lose You by Natasha LesterYou can read their comments below, or add your own review.

3 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: If I Should Lose You

  1. Fascinating point of view for this inspiring story. I felt like I was intruding into their lives especially Camille. But that is what the author wants – the readers to feel, to bring out our emotions. I cried, I smiled with joy, I despaired, I found I wanted to wake Camille up.

    Alix I thought was void of emotion probably because of her job, but she came across as cold and distant. I was glad for Camille at the end but I also was shocked at the ending, not disappointed but wait – what! There must be more. There also seems to be an underlying thread stemming from mother to daughter and thru the next generation.
    So in the end I was happy having read this. I knew that heart (pardon the pun) strings would be pulled and I usually try to avoid these type of books as I get quite involved in the characters and the storyline becoming emotionally drained as well. I cannot imagine what families go thru in such instances although this gives quite a detailed view. I cannot imagine being in the same situation especially when your job is on the other side of the coin.

    Thankyou for this story Natasha Lester, you have done yourself proud.

  2. If I Should Lose You by Natasha Lester is a heart wrenching story that is linked to death.

    The death of parents, the nearing to death of a child, unknown deaths and how they can support living.

    I really liked the way the story switched between the now and the past through diaries and art, and how they came together in the exhibition, aiding understanding of what had happened and what the future could hold.

    I also liked the fashion inclusion I’ve come to know from Natasha Lester’s writing. This time to a much lesser extent but still definitely there.

    Thank you for the chance to read this earlier work by a great author.

  3. If I should lose you

    A beautiful story of love and loss. It was so easy to get immersed in this book.
    The love story of Camille’s mother who lost the love of her life is heartbreaking while Camille is faced with losing her three year old daughter.
    The art Camille’s father created along with the art her mother’s next lover created brought together in an exhibition.

    So much is happening and it is all put together beautifully to create a wonderful read. It shows grief and the strength of motherhood amongst all else.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Fremantle Press for my copy to read and review. I highly recommend this book and to watch out for Natasha Lester’s book.

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