Member Reviews

I requested an advanced copy of this book a couple of months ago because the anniversary of my friend Kym's death was approaching. She was the first (and only) friend I've lost, and her death hit me hard, with my grief greatly impacting my life for the first two years after her death.

Now six years later, this book comes along and it is one I wish I had read early on as I navigated my grief. The waves of sadness still hit me, but often they're more subdued. Despite my progress, I thought I could gain insight from Clare Mackintosh, a suspense author whose work I have enjoyed, who in this book shares her thoughts, feelings, and experiences after the excruciating loss of one of her children.

This book was inspired by a Twitter post made by Mackintosh on the anniversary of her son's death that went viral. From that post and the outpouring of comments, she has written 18 assurances based on her own experiences with grief. She reminds readers that not all of them will fit all readers' experiences or timelines in their grief journey and I found I related to some assurances more than others (particularly in the first half of the book).

Grief is universal, but it’s also as unique to each of us as the person we’ve lost. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, lonely, unreasonable, there when we least expect it and seemingly never-ending. Wherever you are with your grief and whoever you’re grieving for, I Promise It Won’t Always Hurt Like This is here to support you. To tell you, until you believe it, that things will get easier.”

As I read this book, I felt the ebb and flow of grief hit me. There were moments where I sat with a massive lump in my throat, others when I shed tears and others where I'd smile at the fond memories of Kym that would pop up - living together in college, the shenanigans we'd get into with friends and her amazing family who our gaggle of girls got to know and love.

This is an emotional and no doubt, cathartic endeavour for the author and by sharing her own journey, she hopes it can help readers who are experiencing the loss of a loved one. Thank you, Clare, for this candid and emotional book that is told with compassion, candidness and grace. Heartbreaking but hopeful, I highly recommend this book if you've suffered a loss and strongly believe it would also benefit people who want to know how they can support a loved one who is experiencing grief.

Disclaimer: Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy of this book which was given in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A beautifully written book about grief that offers eighteen insightful steps on how to manage the emotion. It can be read when one is new to grieving and read when it has been years. The words offer a reminder that grief is painful and ugly-but gives promises of hope that it can be overcome. I admire that this book doesn’t have to be read like a conventional book, read a chapter that resonates at a particular time or read them all at the same time. Also…the introduction is everything.
I appreciate the nod to the daffodils on the cover in reference to the author’s grief story where she is gifted a bouquet of them when she needed a bit of hope.
Publication Date: March 1, 2024

Was this review helpful?

Love, love, loved this.
The tone was perfect - like a friend gently talking to another friend - and the content a great mix of Clare telling the story of her grief, and also holding space for readers and their own kinds of grief. I think I found this book especially poignant as my baby who we lost at 13 weeks we named Alexander/Alex too.
I usually don't re-read books but this one will be an exception. An easy five stars.

Was this review helpful?

This is an honest, open look at grief. As someone who’s also grieving the loss of a loved one, I picked this book up hoping to hear a voice that I could relate to. Part memoir, part self-help, Clare wrote a guidebook of sorts for those of us who are numb, needing comfort, but feeling like we’ve exhausted our usual support. The chapters are short and easy for picking up and reading one, then putting it down. A nice way to spend some alone time, but not really be alone. The empathy Clare has for those in similar positions shines through. Highly recommend.

Thanks to Netgalley, Sourcebooks and Clare Mackintosh for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This, by Clare Mackintosh, should come with an entire case of Kleenex. I am a bog fan of the author's mystery novels, but these essays on grief were so raw and emotional, they absolutely broke me. This book definitely isn't for everyone. But for those of us who needed to grieve with and be comforted by IPIWAHLT, I am grateful.

Was this review helpful?

“Grief has run through my life like thread through fabric; at times gossamer-thin and barely there, other times weaving thick, clumsy darns across the rips. In my grief I am a mother, a child, a sister, a wife, a woman, a friend. I am also a writer.”

This is the book that was first a Twitter Thread, on the anniversary of her infant son's death.

When you are in the thick of it, grief can seem never ending. And it takes as long as it takes to journey through every stage. When I lost my husband at 32, my neighbor said, “ You never understand death until it knocks at your door.” And she was right..

Claire understands grief, heartbreak and shares her personal journey with grief. And what we can learn about ourselves and love that never ends.

A beautiful book that I will not forget.

NetGalley/ Sourcebooks March 01, 2024

Was this review helpful?

Clare Mackintosh tragically lost a son five weeks after his birth. In this book, a series of what she terms ‘Assurances on Grief’, she makes 18 promises to those dealing with grief. These range from the promise of the title, through to: “I promise you’ll find someone who understands” and “I promise you’ll be able to pay it forward.”
I felt the author’s pain and loss on every page of this book. It is written not to elicit sympathy from the reader, however, but to help others process their grief, to share what she went through, the range of emotions she felt and still feels, and most of all, to assure grieving readers that there is hope and light ahead.
This book should also be compulsory reading for those of us who haven’t had to deal with the awful grief of losing a beloved family member. We all know someone dealing with grief, and this very readable book contains gentle advice on how to interact with those that are grieving. It acts as a guide for those who cannot possibly understand how it feels to be grieving a loved one. Clare shares her feelings about some of the hurtful, wrong platitudes people dole out, as well as those words and actions that do actually help.
It doesn’t attempt to be a one-size-fits-all self-help manual for dealing with grief, however. Instead, this is honest, raw, insightful writing from the heart, and an acknowledgement that everyone processes grief differently.
It’s easy to read, extremely well-written, heart-breaking and yet ultimately hopeful and bursting with love.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks NetGalley for the ARC!

Losing her five-week-old son led to Clare Mackintosh's discovery of how hard dealing with grief and loss is. There's no clear path to follow, no universal guide to help you how to move on, not even sure if it's something anybody would want to move on from.

This memoir explores Clare's experiences through the years as she navigates her way back into life, as normal as it can get, while trying to keep the memories of her son's short-lived life alive. This book may not give us the exact antidote we think we need to magically feel better, but this surely guarantees us that we are not alone in our journey. Someone has been where we are today, and a couple of years from now, another will be where we used to be.

Our losses take on different shapes and forms. Two people losing the same person still grieve differently. But there’s one thing that’s common among all of us: it’s the fact that we lost someone close to us and we’re grieving.

Clare’s experiences may be different from mine, but a lot of what she said in this book really gave me assurance that everything that I felt and had gone through was normal. At times, I found myself still crying while reading the book. While there were other parts that gave me hope and made me believe that I’ve already come a long way, but it doesn’t mean that I love the person I lost less.
Sharing with you some of my key takeaways from this book:

1. We are all different persons; therefore, our grief is as unique as we are, and as unique as our relationship with the person that we lost.
2. No matter how many people we lose, we don’t ever get used to grieving. Grief is different each time, partly because we’re grieving different people.
3. We all have our own triggers that can send us spiraling back to our own deep pit. It’s fine and can’t be avoided. Over the years, we’ll learn how to prepare for them. Our triggers may not entirely disappear, but we’ll learn to control our reactions to them.
4. We can still celebrate life even as we mourn death. One day, we’ll stop feeling guilty for being happy. Because we’ll know that being happy again doesn’t mean that we’re forgetting the people we lost.
5. “Acknowledging an emotion is the first step to understanding it, and recognizing its irrationality removes its power.” It’s okay to feel angry, sad, happy. Don’t let anybody tell you what to feel. They are not you and you are not them.
6. “When we talk about a journey through grief, it’s important to remember that we don’t all travel the same path or move at the same pace.” Again. Don’t let other people tell you how to grieve. Your grief, journey and story are unique to you.

“We can’t bring back the people we loved. We have to let our hearts cry and accept that it hurts.”

“Crying is good. Emotional tears release chemicals that reduce stress and pain.” This is backed up by science. So, cry as long as you feel the need to cry! But as Clare Mackintosh reminds and promises us, it won’t always hurt like this.

Was this review helpful?

What a brave, honest, open, raw, reflective, supportive and emotional book. The words carefully chosen, reflect so much pain, yet show a powerful story of survival. How Clare writes this I have no idea and yet it is written in ‘short, compassionate sections’ which are inspirational and show so clearly powerful, strong love for her son, Alex.

Sadly, one thing we all have to face at some point, is grief, and this is a book which, at the right time, will support you, a book which you can dwell upon, highlighting bits to reflect back on.
So many phrases ring true,
putting into words what many others couldn’t.

Reading how Clare was eventually able to reflect on grief, not only from her own perspective, but also from others, like her mum’s double grief losing a grandson and seeing her own ‘baby’ in so much pain.

Clare wrote with unflattering honesty, totally realistic about the pain and total loss, the bitterness, the catastrophizing this grief led her to, but unequivocally a true reflection of love and survival.

This book is totally outstanding in so many ways, for instance showing people they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings and that you never know what people are hiding under their mask. Clare has laid bare THE most personal of experiences to allow others to benefit. Your grief, your way. I will be buying this to help others! Phenomenal!

Was this review helpful?

I Promise It Won’t Always Hurt Like This is a beautifully written book on dealing with grief. The author, Clare Mackintosh, who is a successful novelist, lost her son, a twin, at the age of five weeks. She writes with courage and honesty, delving into her own deep experience with grief with the sole intention to help the reader deal with their grief.

There is much hope in the book, organized as a list of promises to the reader. There is also practical advice and the acknowledgement that some of these ideas may work for the reader and some may not, as we all process differently. And the end of the book offers a list of additional things that may help. It is obvious that the author’s goal is to ease pain and let the reader know that this burden will ease. Her willingness to relive her memories to achieve this is extraordinary.

Thanks to the author, NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read this book.

Was this review helpful?

This one hurts...My sorrow for anyone that has lost a child goes deep. I love this author and have read a lot of inspirational pieces, but this one hurt deeply for her. It is a journey like being dropped off in the middle of nowhere with no one around to help you. You must find your way back. There are different levels to experience and build on the last one to heal. This is excellent for anyone that has felt the loss of a life no matter what age or the connection to them.
Great memoir of grief, Clare and my thoughts are with you. Well-written and heartfelt.

Was this review helpful?

"It is a gift to be reminded of the ones we love. It is through these moments that they live on."

Having recently lost a dear friend of mine, this book found me at exactly the right time. I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This is a raw, moving account of the author's own journey through grief and healing. Mackintosh navigated a difficult subject with compassion and grace, all while offering hope for the future. While I wish the pain of loss on no one, we all will experience it in this lifetime. How beautiful that amidst the ashes of grief blossoms deeper compassion and a greater realization of our collective humanity. Thank you, Ms. Mackintosh, for passing along your daffodils of hope to me.

I hope that many people will find this when they need it most.

Thank you to NetGalley, Clare Mackintosh and Sourcebooks for sending me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review!

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book! Honestly, I’m in the process of healing from the loss of a parent, and every assurance is just what I needed to hear. Specifically the assurance that I will not always be angry. I’ve never read anything so raw & laid bare! I felt as though this author voiced the world I’ve been living in & made me feel seen. This will be the first book I recommend to people struggling with grief! I will now go check out her other works :)

Thank you for this book Clare Mackintosh 💖

Was this review helpful?

—Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the chance to review an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I hope many people can find and read this right when they need it the mosr.
This hit me right where it hurt. I have no words for it.

Was this review helpful?

This is a different type of read from Clare Mackintosh. This beautiful book was inspired by a viral Twitter thread written by the author on the anniversary of her son's death. At a certain point in life, particularly as we age, loss becomes an increasingly familiar, yet unwanted fact of our continued existence. Grief can be difficult to characterize and process, often feeling like an abyss from which there is no return. While this memoir lays bare the author’s grief, it also speaks to solace, hope and the enormity of love. “I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This “ is a book we all should read.

Was this review helpful?

Release March 1st I think I was supposed to read it early.

Grief, loss and everything in between. I cant imagine losing a child. Clare has a way of writing it with ease. It was something I needed and dint even know it.
Let me tell you while reading this a country star died that I have followed forever like from day one> Everyone has a home town anthem and he was one of them. Any how I found myself crying uncontrollably over someone I have never met, didn't know and when I picked up this book that night it made me feel at peace while reading.
If you are struggle with aloss give this a try


If you liked any of her other books your gonna love this one more.
My thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This was a tremendous book. While I had not read a Mackintosh novel, I was familiar with her as a writer of crime fiction, but was curious to see where the book would go. I am so glad I picked it up. I'm not normally a self-help reader, but after a number of repeated deaths in the past several years I felt like I needed to find something that would resonate - and this book was it. She does a wonderful job offering insight and a sense of being there with you, and I found it tremendously comforting even though it was a difficult and emotional read. I will definitely be recommending this one - and looking to see how she turns her empathy toward fiction writing.

Was this review helpful?

A thoughtful and necessary book. Easy to read either as a whole or in small chunks, and covers a wide range of topics for people who have experienced extraordinary grief. The vulnerability here is exceptional, and rare. It's as helpful to read about the messy, contradictory, unflattering parts of grief and self-management, as it is to read the 'you will get through it' messages. It ends hopefully and helpfully.

Was this review helpful?

I received a free copy of, I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This, by Clare Mackintosh, from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Almost everybody has had some significant loss in their life, whether it would be loss of parent, spouse, child, friend, etc. Loss effects everybody differently. In this book Clare describes her loss of her child, how it affected her, and what helped her get through it. This was a good read on a tough subject.

Was this review helpful?

This book found me at exactly the right time after losing my mom. It’s so real and relatable and perfectly captures how you feel when grieving and more importantly gives you the hope that you will one day feel better. I loved her stories and her practical advice and her soothing words. Reading the 18 promises was a soothing balm, just the words I needed to hear when I needed to hear them. This book is going to be a comfort and help so many people. They mean so much more coming from someone whose lived the days you are experiencing. Thank you to Claire Mackintosh for opening up her most painful and intimate thoughts.

Was this review helpful?