Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen—a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student—appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.
But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind—and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true—that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?
Taking on the topics of love, loss, and how we deal with grief, A Strange Companion is a twisted love triangle among the living, the dead, and the reincarnated.
Praise for A Strange Companion
"Beautiful, funny, and feisty, this extraordinary novel offers the soul satisfying message that love--no matter the kind--never ever dies." ~ Tracey Cleantis, author of An Invitation to Self-Care and The Next Happy
"An engaging and thought-provoking novel about loss and the possibility of reincarnation." ~ Jaq Hazell, author of My Life as a Bench
"A story about love and loss and learning to live again. Reminiscent of The Art of Racing in the Rain." ~ Julie Mayerson Brown, author of The Long Dance Home
"Highly recommended for fans of paranormal fiction. A must-read for anyone dealing with the grief that follows a great loss." ~ Rebecca Laclair, author of Radio Head
“A compelling plot that keeps readers turning pages.” ~ Publishers Weekly's The BookLife Prize
Manterfield's bittersweet debut follows a young woman's attempt to recover from overwhelming loss. Seventeen-year-old Kat Richardson thought she and her boyfriend, Gabe, would marry and spend their lives together. But those plans are dashed when Gabe dies in a rock climbing accident. Two years later, Kat has been having trouble moving on until she meets handsome fellow university student Owen, whose playful and earnest personality has started to heal Kat's broken heart. But their budding relationship is interrupted when she returns home to meet her new niece, Mai, who's been adopted by her brother and his husband. There, Kat is confronted with the possibility that Gabe has been reincarnated as Mai. Manterfield presents the idea of reincarnation with just the right balance of skepticism and hope as Kat questions both her mind and feelings while acknowledging that "The problem with grief was that it didn't come with a user manual." This thoughtful story about learning how to live after loved ones are gone will captivate readers. (BookLife)
A Beautifully Written First Novel...
I originally purchased “A Strange Companion” for my college-age daughter after she read a glowing review of the novel online. But when she finished reading it, she insisted I read it as well. And I’m so glad she did. This is an absolutely beautiful first novel. The story and its characters are deftly drawn, and the metaphysical mystery the novel explores unfolds in such a way that you’ll find it difficult to put the book down. If you’ve ever loss someone close to you, this novel will resonate with you in a very meaningful way (as it did for me). Strongly recommend.