Between A Mother & Her Child

Elizabeth Noble

For Maggie and Bill it was love at first sight ...One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning. When Jake dies suddenly, they're swept away on a tide of grief that fractures Maggie and Bill's marriage. She and the children are left clinging to the wreckage of their family. And they need help, because in her grief Maggie is in danger of losing Aly and Stan too. Enter Kate, housekeeper, companion and shoulder to cry on. She's here to pick up the pieces and fix what isn't completely broken. But can Maggie trust Kate?And why is Kate so keen to help? When Bill falls for another woman, Maggie realizes she will have to fight to put her family back together - but will they still want her?

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Author interview with Richard and Judy

• Between You and Me – Elizabeth Noble’s Thoughts on Life, Loves and Everything



In a compulsively readable book, Maggie and Bill first meet as teenagers in Australia. He, British, is on his gap year. She, a native Aussie, is a brilliant young swimmer tipped to be a champion athlete for her country.

It is love at first sight. Much to her parents’ dismay, Maggie falls pregnant. She marries Bill and relocates to London, abandoning her burgeoning sporting career.

The couple are blissfully happy. Bill becomes a successful property developer; they own a lovely home and have a prosperous life. Soon, there are three children: Jake, Aly, and Stan.

What can possibly go wrong?

Eighteen year old Jake, just like his father, takes a gap year between A levels and university. He travels with his two best friends, and on the fateful day of December 26th, 2005, all three are in Thailand.

The devastating Boxing Day tsunami, which killed thousands, sweeps through Jake’s flimsy beach house. He alone perishes. His friends survive, and are plagued by guilt because Jake, massively hung over from a typically student drinking session the night before, was left behind when the others blearily staggered off for a cooked breakfast at a cafe on higher ground.

Back in London, Bill and Maggie are seized by terror as news of the unfolding catastrophe is relayed on their television.

Bill immediately flies to Thailand, determined to find his son. He does. He finds Jake’s body.

Distraught with grief, Bill later returns to Thailand to help with the grim clearing-up operation. He leaves Maggie and the others behind. His wife is mute with resentment and despair.


Typically of married couples, Bill and Maggie cope with their grief in very different ways. They grow apart, and eventually separate.

Maggie still loves Bill and hopes that they will eventually get back together – as do their surviving children.

But Bill meets another woman in his grief therapy class. Carrie is a young widow. She lost her husband to a sudden heart attack.

Drawn together by trauma, Bill and Carrie fall in love and soon she is unexpectedly pregnant.

When Maggie learns of this she is beside herself with anger and resentment. The only person who can comfort her is her younger sister, Olivia, who visits from her home in Australia. Desperately worried about Maggie, ‘Liv’ fatefully discovers Kate – a 63-year-old widow tired of living alone.

Despite Maggie’s initial objections, Kate moves in with her and her children and brings them much-needed peace. She nurtures and nourishes them – but has a sad secret of her own.

As the title suggests, this book is about motherhood – specifically, the intense love Maggie feels for her children.

Bill has clearly started a new life with Carrie and their unborn child. Although he and Maggie still have strong and tender feelings for each other, she must decide what to do with the rest of her life, without him.

Kate, too, must come to terms with her own secret past. But again, maternal love is at the core of her story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It may be mostly concerned with motherhood, but is has perceptive insights into wider family life. So it is very much a story for fathers, too.

Reviews & Comments

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  • A very emotional read which will break your heart but in the end it puts a huge smile on your face:)


  • I love this book! So enthralling, poignant, and so delicately written. A beautiful story and wonderful characters, it had me in tears. 'Between a Mother and Her Child' is just absolutely wonderful.


  • A remarkably thoughtful and perceptive book, you will need a box of tissues!


  • An emotional rollercoaster - it had me laughing and crying in equal measure and I just couldn't put it down!!


  • As ever, this latest novel from Elizabeth Noble is a rollercoaster for the emotions, but a gripping read and one you will feel glad you picked up from the bookstore. Can't wait for the next one!


  • A fabulous read. Once again a triumph from Elizabeth Nobel!


  • Between Mother and Child is an extremely well written, emotionally packed, at times heartbreaking , and very readable novel. Elizabeth Noble captures the joy, sorrow and complications of love. Love for a child, a husband, a family and life, as it was before, and as it is now. Between Mother and Child is a complete and fulfilling story of a woman, her family and joy and hardship that loving them as she does, brings to her life I have read all of Elizabeth Noble's novels and her ability to handle tough subjects is admirable and for the reader, very rewarding. JG


  • Another insightful emotional roller coaster of a book that highlights the authors understanding of human foibles! Hard to put it down!


  • I've read and loved all of Noble's novels, but this one is my favourite. She writes brilliantly and movingly about loss, and I cared so much about every single character in the book. A real can't put downer.


  • A moving and affirming story that proves that there is no right way to grieve or to love. I was able to feel for each of the characters and appreciate the humanity in their actions.

    Andrea Weinzimer

  • Read this book at the time I'd just lost my mum so wasn't sure how I'd find it. No worries there - it's beautifully written, poignant and extremely sensitive but a good plot too. I just wanted to keep turning the pages.


  • Afraid I found this one a bit predictable and formulaic. It really didn't move me.


  • I had my doubts as i don't usually read this kind of book but truly, it was a stunning read. Hats off to Noble.


  • What a wonderfull read, a rollercoaster of emotions. The only thing needed while reading was a cuppa and a box of tissues.

    Heather Sheehan

  • Very emotional read....I can't imagine going through[&@!#!!%@!]like they did but some familys did and still are. A lovely end.

    Jen Nixon

  • Sorry to be negative but found this book sentimental nonsense


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