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A Terrible Kindness

Jo Browning Wroe

A Terrible Kindness is a celebration of the power of community, love forged in pain and the redemption that comes from deep kindness in the face of terrible loss.

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When we go through something impossible, someone, or something, will help us, if we let them . . .

It is October 1966 and William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan.

William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets.

His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because – as William discovers – giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.

‘Incredibly moving. Exquisitely crafted.” BONNIE GARMUS, Lessons in Chemistry

‘I LOVE IT! Utterly and completely brilliant.’ JOANNA CANNON

‘It’s a long time since I’ve read a debut novel that moved me so much.’ RACHEL JOYCE

‘Extraordinary.’ SOPHIE HANNAH

‘A brave and tender novel.’ JOANNA GLEN

What readers are saying:
‘One stunning read to remember.’

‘Beautifully written . . . I would recommend this book to all.’

‘Utterly heartbreaking and uplifting . . . I loved it.’


Critic Reviews

I think it's really extraordinary. Brilliant writing, completely fresh and unique, moving, elegant, memorable. I loved it!

Sophie Hannah
Critic Reviews

I LOVE IT! An incredible story with beautiful, elegant writing. A Terrible Kindness is utterly and completely brilliant.

Joanna Cannon
Critic Reviews

I was drawn into William’s world right from the first page, just as I was drawn into the honest beauty of Jo Browning Wroe’s writing. It’s a long time since I’ve read a debut novel that moved me so much.

Rachel Joyce
Critic Reviews

Jo Browning Wroe's elegant prose holds us that we might bear witness to that which would otherwise crush the human spirit. I adored it.

Ingrid Persaud
Critic Reviews

A Terrible Kindness is a tender, beautiful story about an embalmer at the time of Aberfan.

Anne Griffin
Critic Reviews

An incredibly moving and powerful book. Full of love, compassion, and brimming with humanity. A truly gorgeous piece of storytelling that will stay with me for a long time. Absolutely stunning

Fí Scarlett
JoBrowning Wroe

Jo Browning Wroe grew up in a crematorium in Birmingham. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and is now Creative Writing Supervisor at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Her debut novel, A Terrible Kindness, was shortlisted for the Bridport Peggy Chapman-Andrews award. She has two adult daughters and lives with her husband in Cambridge.

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