Book Review: Expecting Sunshine by Alexis Marie Chute.

Happy Hump day everyone!  I hope your week is going well so far, and that the weekend doesn’t feel too far away.  For tonights blog post, I am reviewing Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy after Loss by Alexis Marie Chute.  So what’s the book about?

expecting sunshineAfter her son, Zachary, dies in her arms at birth, visual artist and author Alexis Marie Chute disappears into her -Year of Distraction.- She cannot paint or write or tap into the heart of who she used to be, mourning not only for Zachary, but also for the future they might have had together. It is only when Chute learns she is pregnant again that she sets out to find healing and rediscover her identity–just in time, she hopes, to welcome her next child. In the forty weeks of her pregnancy, Chute grapples with her strained marriage, shaken faith, and medical diagnosis, with profound results. Glowing with riveting and gorgeous prose, Expecting Sunshine chronicles the anticipation and anxiety of expecting a baby while still grieving for the child that came before–enveloping readers with insightful observations on grief and healing, life and death, and the incredible power of a mother’s love.

From the first page, Chute’s ability and talent as a writer is evident.  She has an incredible way with language, not only perfectly describing the feeling she is attempting to convey or present the image she is attempting to conjure, but doing so in a linguistically beautiful way.  You can tell she is an artist: this book is her canvas, and each word is a masterful brush stroke.  Chute deals with some incredibly large and complex emotions, but presents them in a relatable way.  As you read, you feel every emotion she feels: her profound sense of loss and her yearning for a sense of peace, her fears and worries, the moments of joy and sorrow.  It is an emotional rollercoaster, but one I am glad I rode.

The word brave is thrown around all too often these days, but that is the only word I can use to adequately describe Chute for writing this book: Brave.  She bares her soul for the reader to see, in its sometimes raw and ugly form, and details what she felt and what she thought, with total honesty.  It is evident as a reader that this process was often difficult for her, but also extremely cathartic.  I have been lucky in my life as I have not suffered the level of loss which Chute has, but I can see clearly how incredibly helpful this book would be to someone who has.

As a mother, I related a lot to much of what Chute says, particularly when discussing the internal struggle between your identity as a parent, and your own sense of self.  As someone who is in full time employment, a writer, a blogger, a wife and a mother, I often feel myself being torn in a dozen different directions, and find myself struggling with maintaining my own identity.  When one prioritises their own hobbies, their own passions, it means losing out on moments with your children and that can often lead to guilt.  But during Chute’s journey of self discovery, she learns and emphasises the importance of retaining your own sense of self, and finding ways to express yourself and who you are as an individual, not just as a member of a family unit, something I too discovered after suffering with post natal depression.

This book is one of sorrow and loss, but most prominently, it is one of hope.  And that is the prevailing emotion one feels once you finish the final chapter: Hope.  Overall, I highly recommend this book, particularly if you have experienced a loss in your life with which you are currently struggling.

 

Vellum Book Box: Unboxing.

Hey readers!  I’m sorry for being absent on here recently…I would happily read and write and blog and blog about reading and read about blogging all day and all night, but sadly bills, responsibilities and all the boring parts of adulthood keep getting in the way!  I snatch whatever time away I can, and I simply HAD to sneak some blogging time in for this particular book box, because I am so ridiculously excited about it!

vellum 3Vellum is a bookish subscription box, and despite being fairly new to the world of monthly boxes, it is taking off and I am lucky enough to have the privilege of repping for them for the next couple of months!  I have been following them since the beginning, and it has been so wonderful to watch them grow and prosper.  The premise is simple- each month you get a bookish t-shirt, perfect for us to wear our book worm hearts on our sleeves!  Along with your tee, you also get a handful of bookish goodies, all centred around that month’s theme.  Sounds awesome right?  The best bit is, you can get 10% off your first box with my discount code MARIE10!!

March’s theme is ‘Jane’s Kiss’ dedicated to my all time favourite book, Jane Eyre and honestly it is like it was made for me…everything is so perfect, I could just gush and gush!  But, I think the best thing is probably just to tell you all about the lovely goodies I got inside, starting with that stunning Tee…

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The T-shirt is so soft, and not only features one of my all time favourite quotes, but also has this gorgeous bird cage design by Ink and Wonder Designs…I will be wearing this constantly!  If anything, it will be a way for me to discover kindred spirits out there.  If I wear the shirt and people come up to me and tell me how they too love Jane Eyre, then I know I have made a new friend. One thing for sure is, even if I have no luck in finding fellow Bronte obsessives such as myself, I will be getting plenty of compliments about the shirt anyway based on design alone.  In a nutshell…I love it!

Along with my gorgeous T-shirt, I also got a bunch of Jane Eyre themed Goodies.  First up, vellum 5is this stunning candle by Novelly Yours, made exclusively for this box.  I wish I could attach a sniffable image, because this smells divine!  I look forward to lighting it.

Next up, an adorable book of matches made by Here Forever More perfeat for lighting my lovely candle with.  They basically feature a miniature version of the book, which I honestly adore and I don’t even know if I will be able to bring myself to use them, they are that sweet!

vellum 2I also got Two stunning prints.  The first, featuring that ever so romantic quote from the book, is a print by Bibliophile prints, which is too lovely and the second is this outstanding print and matching handheld mirror by Nastja and honestly, I am so in love. I loved this so much, I immediately looked her up online and her work is incredible…I want it all.  That’s one of the great things about boxes like these, they introduce you to artists and shops you never would have discovered.  I will definitely be following this artist on Instagram!

But there is more!  I also got the yummiest Thornfield Kiss lip balm by From The Page so vellum 1I can keep my lips soft while I chatter about books!  I am a big lover of practical, pretty and bookish items such as this…You can declare you are a book worm while simultaneously tackling chapped lips!  Perfect really!

So that’s the box, and can I just say WOW!  I truly love every single item, and it is so obvious the amount of care and consideration that went into choosing every single one.  The Vellum box is a great gift for yourself or fellow book worms and I cannot recommend it enough!

Now if you excuse me, I am going to re-read Jane Eyre while wearing my new shirt, lighting my candle with my matches, using my lip balm and mirror for application and staring at the prints which will immediately find their way onto my walls!  Perfect!