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The Collected Regrets of Clover

This debut novel by Mikki Brammer is about a death doula in NYC. Can a book about a death doula be uplifting? In this case, yes!


Clover lives in the apartment her now-deceased grandfather raised her in and keeps to herself. Her only friend is the 80-year-old neighbor she's known her whole life. Clover's job as a death doula is important and rewarding but takes a lot out of her emotionally. So when a new neighbor moves in and strikes up a friendship with Clover, and a feisty client pushes Clover to reassess her life, Clover is challenged on several levels and tries to figure out what she really wants for herself.


I will be honest, I was a bit worried this would be a heavy and emotional book. And while the idea of death and dying is not an easy or comfortable topic, this book respectfully maintains a hopeful and life-affirming tone. Character-driven, it examines Clover's growth as she ensures a peaceful death for others while failing to celebrate her own life and maintaining distance from others. Clover has been dealing with the emotional aftermath of an event that changed everything for her and influenced her decision to become a death doula. There were some heartwarming and poignant scenes and some that made me think. (Before reading this, I wasn't even entirely sure what a death doula was.) The majority of the book, though, is about Clover, the things she must work through, and the new relationships she forges. Hopeful and lovingly written. Brammer is an author to watch!


Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review this ARC.


My steep was Paris Ginza by Mariage Freres. This is a delicious black tea with flavors of French butter caramels and Sato Nishiki Japanese cherries. It is one of my favorite Springtime teas!


SYNOPSIS:

Mikki Brammer's The Collected Regrets of Clover is a big-hearted and life-affirming debut about a death doula who, in caring for others at the end of their life, has forgotten how to live her own, for readers of The Midnight Library.


What's the point of giving someone a beautiful death if you can't give yourself a beautiful life?


From the day she watched her kindergarten teacher drop dead during a dramatic telling of Peter Rabbit, Clover Brooks has felt a stronger connection with the dying than she has with the living. After the beloved grandfather who raised her dies alone while she is traveling, Clover becomes a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to ushering people peacefully through their end-of-life process.


Clover spends so much time with the dying that she has no life of her own, until the final wishes of a feisty old woman send Clover on a trip across the country to uncover a forgotten love story––and perhaps, her own happy ending. As she finds herself struggling to navigate the uncharted roads of romance and friendship, Clover is forced to examine what she really wants, and whether she'll have the courage to go after it.


Probing, clever, and hopeful, The Collected Regrets of Clover turns the normally taboo subject of death into a reason to celebrate life.


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