The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook

“Today is my death anniversary.  A year ago today I was still alive.’

Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating.

Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.

As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.

Hannah Beckerman gives an unforgettable exploration of love and loss in her first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook.”


My apologies for the delay in getting this review written, this is mainly because this book is AMAZING and has received my first EVER * * * * * star rating!

Thank you so much to Hannah Beckerman and Penguin for sending me a signed copy of this book to read & review. I will treasure it always and lend it to none!  😉

I’ll start by saying that if this is Hannah’s first novel then she must have been born to write as it is quite simply superb. With such an emotive, achingly sad topic to write about – death – it must be very difficult to get right, but Hannah has nailed it perfectly.

The book revolves around Rachel who has died unexpectedly and the story is then told in a unique way – through the deceased Rachel’s intermittent glimpses of the family she has left behind, her husband Max and her young daughter, Ellie. She watches as they try to move on with their lives whilst there is nothing she can do and no one she can hug. It is such a clever, imaginative point of view and has the reader immediately transfixed.

This is one of those books that puts the reader through a myriad of emotions – happy, sad, anxious, annoyed, mad and even indifferent! I found myself contemplating Rachel’s situation even when I wasn’t reading and I discussed it with my husband, my mother, my friends… the emotional affect on me was so deep and thought provoking. Just what a perfect read should accomplish with it’s reader.

I was instantly gripped, loved all the characters and wanted to devour every page quickly yet at the same time didn’t want to finish reading! About halfway through I started getting anxious about certain choices that Rachel’s husband Max made and I was groaning aloud with sheer frustration!

A great film will capture your mind and emotions and stay with you. The Dead Wife’s Handbook is on my top 5 list of best books and I can easily imagine what a fantastic film it would make!

A truly wonderful, incredible & memorable read – thank you so very much Hannah! When IS the next one due?!

Buy this wonder of a book here!


Hannah Beckerman lives in London with her husband and their incredibly lively toddler. She is a former TV and film producer who spent fifteen years producing and commissioning documentaries about the Arts, History and Science before turning her hand to writing.

Other than reading and sleeping (both rare but much-cherished pleasures) she’s a big fan of great TV drama, films, long country walks and travel. She currently spends far too much time on social media but would, of course, deny the fact if anyone pointed it out.

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is Hannah’s first novel. She sincerely hopes it won’t be her last.

You can find Hannah regularly on Twitter – @hannahbeckerman or visit her website