Member Reviews

4.5/5 stars

This was a very insightful and honest treatise on a favorite author's own experience with grief. I connected (and think that many will) with her pain and loss and found that her 18 assurances of light at the end of the tunnel were both enlightening and well-chosen. As she is revisiting her own 18 years of bereavement, while giving compassionate and first-hand knowledge, she is also emphasizing that no two persons will travel the exact same journey while battling through the stages of grief and loss...but there are similarities in their experiences.

As a caregiver for elderly parents, I found this a moving reading experience and appreciate and value Ms. Mackintosh's caring and sharing of her own very personal journey.

I'm glad to have come across this straightforward, helpful and compassionate book.

My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Sourcebooks for providing the free early arc of I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This for review. The opinions are strictly my own.

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A gorgeous, honest, heartfelt book that I could endlessly relate to. I would never say, "I know how you feel" to Clare Mackintosh, because I don't. After my five miscarriages, I was in a different situation and had experienced different types of grief and loss than Mackintosh and her husband endured, having lost their son Alex when he was five weeks old. What we do share is simply this: we were grieving, we needed to heal, it would take a long time, and we needed the promises of others who had walked this path before us.

Claire Mackintosh's hopeful promises will help anyone who's grieving to continue the walk, one step at a time.

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4 heartbreaking stars

I am a huge fan of Clare Mackintosh’s fiction, and I knew she used to be a police officer. Her personal experiences with grief (losing her 5-week-old son and father) led her to write this nonfiction book.

She offers 18 assurances/promises on grief, and each chapter elaborates. For example, I promise the waves of grief that knock you off your feet won’t drown you, and I promise you’ll find someone who understands.

Mackintosh is so open and soul-baring with her journey with grief that I know that this book will help others who are searching for a way to cope. While everyone has a solo journey with grief, sometimes a road map can be helpful.

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I don’t rate memoirs; it doesn’t seem right to ‘judge’ someone’s life. What I will say about this book is…it is raw, authentic, cathartic and helpful to those who have lost a loved one. Mackintosh walks the reader through her own journey of grief, after losing her infant son. I will leave you with just some of the many many quotes I wrote down:

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

“Grief is a river that never stops moving and can swell from a trickle to a torrent overnight.”

“The morphine for grief is time. Time does not in itself heal, but it shows us we can keep going.”

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Mackintosh offers her readers compassionate advice to help them through the process of grief. It helps to know you're not alone, that the things you're feeling don't make you a terrible person, and gives the reader hope that there is light at the end of the grief tunnel. She is empathetic and kind; I would have loved a book like this when I was going through the loss of my mama. It's a beautiful book that can lend a helpful hand to those in depths of despair.

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I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This is a collection of essays about grief and dealing with loss. Mackintosh suffered the loss of her baby and was overwhelmed by a dark cloud of seemingly unending grief. Readers will find comfort in being understood.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC. All thoughts are my own.

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Who better to write a book about the journey of grief than an author who can share her own personal experience due to the loss of her 5-week old infant son 18 years ago. This book appeared at the perfect time for me as I recently embarked on my own journey of grief. How true that everyone's experience is unique and cannot be rushed. Reading this book was like sitting down with a trusted friend who has already walked in my shoes. I am sure I will refer back to it in the months and years to come. Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks and the author for an advance copy to read and review.

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WOW! Just WOW! I'm going to be honest. I am fortunate so far to have never experienced such a devastating loss as Clare Mackintosh has. This is not a book that I would have just picked up on my own. I am however, a huge fan of this author and this ARC came to me along with my request for another title by her. I am not sure happy is the right word, but I am all the better for reading this, I guess is what I mean. When or if I do suffer something this catastrophic. I know I will have her words to look back on and this book to reread. Now, my stepdaughter lost her husband a couple years ago and is still being told things like she should be over it by now. I am buying this book for her when it comes out for publication. I love how the author explains grief in such detail and that everyone grieves in different ways. I cannot imagine the pain involved in writing such a thing down and putting it out there, but I sincerely hope it was as helpful in healing for her as I'm sure it will be for so many others. I feel honored to have been let into something so personal.
And if you are not already a fan, like me, I highly encourage reading all of Clare Mackintosh's books.

Thank you to #NetGalley, Clare Mackintosh and Sourcebooks for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

I will post my review to Amazon, Instagram and various other retail and social media sites upon publication.

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When I read Hostage by Clare Mackintosh, I knew I was reading an incredibly gifted writer. However, I had no idea how gifted she was until reading/listening I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This. I now have an even greater admiration for how she puts pen to paper.

I am fairly certain I will never forget how I felt while reading this book. My heart is in two pieces and I want to rewind time for Clare.

I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This, is a survival guide for those who are walking through the shadows of grief. Grief, is such a raw emotion that never goes away, instead you adjust and learn to live with a hole in your heart that can never be filled.

This book is personal, its touching, its angry, its sad.... its everything those of us who have lost someone, can relate to. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to listen to Mackintosh's memoir. Her words will remain with me. The fact that Clare is the narrator here just adds to my pride in being able to listen to her words and her journey.

Here's a bit of the synopsis :
New York Times and international bestselling mystery author Clare Mackintosh makes her nonfiction debut with this deeply felt memoir of unfathomable loss, and infinite hope.

When Clare Mackintosh lost her five-week-old son, she soon discovered there are no neat, labeled stages of grief like so many books insist. The shape of each loss is different; when a parent, relative, or friend passes, we grieve the person in all their beauty, their humanity, their imperfections. For Clare, there was no preparing for the anger and excruciating ache of knowing her child's life would remain unlived. This is the book she needed then.

Inspired by a viral Twitter thread Clare wrote on the anniversary of her son's death, this deeply honest, compassionate memoir will bring solace and encouragement to anyone who finds themselves walking with grief, whether for a season or for several years. It is for those who need a little voice saying: I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This, for the people who love them, and those who understand that great loss can be a window through to the soul.

This book releases on March 7. 2024. Thank you to NetGalley andSourceBooks for the opportunity to listen and share my review.

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I enjoyed this book but would not use it in a college classroom--which is no reflection on the book itself, more to do with its genre. I appreciate the keen insights about grief the author offers and the unflinching look at suffering,

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A raw, poignant and beautifully written experience on grief. This book was difficult to read at times, and the author’s emotion was palpable. I’d recommend this book to anyone who has suffered with loss and grief; it delicately explores the stages and emotions of grief, and, although not necessarily a self-help book, it really does help to navigate your way through your own grief.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.

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Wow. What a heartbreaking and hopeful story. Clare is a wonderful storyteller and I've read her books before. This was a unique style of work. I appreciated the raw words and how authentic the book was. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. Five stars.

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In her memoir, “I Promise It Won’t Always Hurt Like this: 18 Assurances on Grief,” the mystery writer, Clare Mackintosh, describes her journey through grief after her 5 week old twin son died in neonatal intensive care, and provides 18 promises that certain common elements of grief, (such as sobbing uncontrollably, depression at anniversaries, etc) will get better and will not always be as painful as they were initially. She includes examples from her own struggle with grief to accompany each of the 18 promises, as well as practical tips for getting through each one. As she indicates throughout the book, it is not intended to be a “self-help” manual, but instead is provided to offer hope to anyone still in the beginning of their journey through grief and to reassure them that it won’t always hurt as much.

The book is a thoughtful gift to her readers, providing a light at the end of the tunnel of grief. In her usual eloquent style, she illustrates common experiences of grief, shares her own experiences, and offers hope that life will get better. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has struggled through grief and has felt hopeless that life will ever offer happiness again.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Thanks kindly to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This writing hit so deep in a way I didn’t expect. I wasn’t familiar with the author and her other works, or her viral Twitter thread on grief from which this book emerged.

The premise is simple. 18 short chapters, one for each year since her son’s passing, each speaking hope to grief. It’s a choose your own adventure read, so I chose chronological.

Mackintosh’s reflections are reassuring - your grief will change. It may not be as searing and all consuming for as often as it once was. And it’s okay to feel your own joy, and in the same breath be sad for your loved one’s life not lived. There is no right way to grieve. There is no right way to be.

While I often to find it difficult to express the sheer distress we sit with in intense moments of grief, the author can clearly express it. And to be able to write so articulately must be to relive some of that pain. I am truly grateful for that absolutely raw vulnerability she shares from. It helps people feel like we’re not alone.

I don’t think I’ve highlighted so much in a long time. Or cried so much when reading. The word choice is so apt. The language so poetic and pained.

I look forward to owning a hard copy and buying them for friends moving through grief. It is a resource I know many will come back to for years to come.

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As someone who has gone through grief, I felt like Clare hit the nail right on the head. What an excellent way to describe the experience with all the nuances that accompany that journey. This was one of the best books I've read about the subject. I would definitely recommend and will be reading it again for sure!

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5 stars
The moment I saw this book on Net Galley I knew I had to have it. The last year has been difficult. My wife and I don’t have children, so our four cats are our kids. They get so much love many people would call us nuts. I know better. These animal beings deserve as much love as human beings. Yes, they mean that much to us. We lost three of our babies in the last twelve months (to the day). Milly died on January 30, 2023, JT in October 2024, and little Gracie earlier this month (January 2024) after only three months of being our girl. Needless to say, we are grieving.

I like Clare Mackintosh a lot. I will never forget the gob smacking twist, perhaps the best twist in all of my reading career that she threw out there in her 2014 debut novel I Let You Go. So, bonus points for me that an author I already respect wrote this book. I respect her even more now.

Ms. Mackintosh and her husband lost a son. This was literally a life-changing event in their lives. Clare has been through hell and back. Well, almost back, as she points out you never forget. But it does get easier—words that all of us who have lost someone precious need to hear. Clare PROMISES that “It won’t always hurt like this.” By reading her journey towards that discovery I have found that I can trust what she is promising us. I’m sure she is right. It may take a long while, but we will gradually find some peace from our grief. Her words will help us through the unbearable pain, the flashbacks, the guilt, the tears, the anger, the fatigue, the pain of anniversaries, and more. Always remember though that you will never ever forget. That to me is a comfort and one of the most important things to remember. We will be able to revisit the good things without dissolving into tears.

What impressed me the most was the sheer courage it took Clare to write this book. In making her points, she shows us exactly who she is through her innermost thoughts and emotions, no matter how much she must have wanted to hide from some of those things. By giving us her absolute honesty and the truth, she risked us thinking ill of her at times. Not me though. I just respect her even more in “going there” in hopes of helping the rest of us. Her utter forthrightness regarding her feelings also allows us to forgive ourselves when we feel less than generous and righteous during our own journeys through grief.

If you are hurting, give this book a look. Even if you aren’t, one day you will be, and it might be helpful to read this one now just to know that there is help out there. Thanks, Clare. Thanks for sharing all you have learned to give us all a roadmap when we find ourselves grieving too.

My thanks go to Ms. Clare Mackintosh, Sourcebooks, and Net Galley for granting me an advanced copy. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

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Memoir - Essays - 4.5*

It's always hard to write any kind of review about someone's experiences. That being said, this was a powerhouse of a book.

Macintosh is known for her mystery novels, but she is very active in social media and on the 18th anniversary of the passing of her son she posted a number of statements about grief. She got such an overwhelming response that it became the impetus for this collection of essays.

I chose to read this book because I recently lost my father and I enjoy Mackintosh's fiction novels. The book is presented as a series of promises about grief and that even though the focus centers around Mackintosh's loss of one of her twins, grief - as an experience is universal.

She states that grief is a solo, personal experience and that to compare how you feel or what you go through to anyone else's journey is a recipe for failure. She shares diary excerpts, thoughts, vignettes and detailed accounts of what she experienced. There is so much emotion captured here. You endure with Claire, you revisit your own pain and come out the other side with some understanding.

I feel privileged to have been able to read about someone's deeply personal journey. This book will be helpful to many. My only caveat is that while it's billed as a book for anyone experiencing grief, it truly is more suited to someone who has lost a child.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of this book.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 STARS

I really needed this book. I’m pretty sure i was approved for it the day after the two year anniversary of my father’s death. This was unexpected coming from Clare Mackintosh because of course she’s known for her thrillers but she did a phenomenal job writing about grief and what it entails. I cried and I smiled but most importantly this book helped and I’m so grateful for that.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.

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I was given this book by NetGalley for an honest review-
This was an awesome book on dealing with grief. The author lost her baby at 5 weeks and the feelings, the tears, anger and all the emotions she dealt with. Although they aren’t the same for everyone there is hope it won’t always hurt like this. Along with her story of dealing with grief she shares ways to deal with it and help to find if needed.

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As a fan of Mackintosh’s fiction, I knew her book on grief would be something special. She shares her personal experience of the loss of her infant son and a parent to illustrate her journeys with grief. In doing so, she shares eighteen promises to provide a light to others experiencing loss.

The desire to write this book came from the positive response she received from an internet post about her grief and by one of her promises “that one day you’ll be able to pay it forward.”

While Mackintosh is candid about her experiences, she assures that everyone’s journey with grief is different. This is also shown in the way she grieves for her son who she had a mere precious five weeks with and her father who passed away when she was an adult.

I appreciated that she acknowledged the complexity in dealing with the loss of people with whom we may have had less than ideal relationships with, even though this isn’t necessarily the case in her own experiences with loss. She speaks of dealing with grief as a climb to survival with its peaks and valleys; its sometimes secure handholds and its often precarious footholds.

I intend to revisit this book again and again and to share it with those who may find comfort in its beautiful wisdom.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing an Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley.

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