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A Song for Jenny: A Mother's Story of Love and Loss [Paperback]

Julie Nicholson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Jan 2011

On 7 July 2005, Julie Nicholson's life was changed forever. Her daughter, Jenny, was killed on her way to work in the London bombings, shaking Julie's beliefs. With heartbreaking honesty and integrity, Julie tells her story of love, tragedy and heartache for the first time.

Jenny Nicolson was travelling to work when a bomb exploded at Edgware Road Tube station. Her mother, Reverend Julie Nicholson, struggled to comprehend the tragedy, her sorrow and longing for her daughter turning to rage and anger. Finding herself unable to articulate the three parts of the Eucharist: peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, because she 'felt so far from those herself', Julie made the difficult decision to resign her role as priest-in-charge of St Aidan with St George Church, Bristol, unable to reconcile her feelings with her position. She continued working with the church, in a youth arts project.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (20 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007250819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007250813
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A Song for Jenny is a raw and riveting account of a mother's anguish at her daughter's death" -- The Times

" extraordinarily moving memoir..." -- The Daily Mail

" unflinching book...Nicholson takes us into every mother's worst nightmare - the fruitless vigil, the DNA test..." -- The Sunday Times

"A Song for Jenny...examines intimately the terrain of that strange hostile land [of grief]: every exhausting hill and dangerous pothole, and conversely, every breathtaking viewpoint" -- Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Julie Nicholson was the mother of Jenny, a gifted musician, who died in the 7/7 London bombings of 2005. She was also priest of two churches in Bristol, St Aidan's and St George's. Eight months after her daughter died Julie resigned from her position, unable to reconcile her grief and anger with her faith.

Julie continues to work with the church in a youth arts project. She lives with her husband Gregg in Bristol.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do we cope when we lose everything? 11 Jun 2011
By ChrisD
Having heard Julie on Radio 4 I wanted to know how her faith had helped or hindered in this time of loss. You soon find out that the 'loss' was, husband, daughter and finally job. The book is a beautifully written account of the period of time from holiday happiness, realisation of loss and finally funeral. I did not get a clear answer to my question 'had faith helped?' but, I asked myself 'how would I emerge from such a tragedy in my life?' It made me realise that all I have of value in my life is the people that I love and if at the end of reading 'A Song for Jenny' I work that little bit harder showing that love/value then it is was well worth the read. I hope there is a second book dealing with my question about faith, if there is I will buy that too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing account 27 Oct 2013
Initially I was in two minds as to whether or not to buy this book; I wondered whether it would just be too distressing as its subject matter is every parent's worst nightmare. But I went ahead. And, during the first sitting, I devoured two-thirds of the book. To be honest, I found it difficult to put down. Yet sometimes its story and the emotions that were being conveyed were so powerful and distressing that I simply had to put it down and take a break. But then Jenny's - and Julie's - story compelled me to read on.

The time-frame for this book is small. Yet during this time so much happened; whole lives were unexpectedly changed and shattered, and Julie Nicholson describes almost every waking moment with such clarity that you can picture the scenes as they move painfully on from one to another. The book begins with a lengthy description conveying the sheer ordinariness of what was, initially, just another ordinary day. Gradually the events unfold, and Julie takes us through every chilling moment, from the initial passing anxiety at getting her daughter's voicemail every time she calls to the stark realisation that, by the end of the day, no-one has seen or heard from Jenny and - from this - to the unthinkable, the moment that every parent fears above any other.

Having lived through a trauma myself, as a mother, albeit it nothing as tragic and distressing as Julie's experience, there are certain things I could identify with. I, too, used to look at the world going on as normal outside our ordinary house wondering if anyone had any idea of the events that were being played out in our lives, behind the net curtains.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just reading a book ... 17 Mar 2012
This wonderful but terribly painful book was a hugely moving experience for me.
Julie is so honest, and unafraid to describe the rawness and irreconcilable pain of bereavement.
She also paints a loving portrait of her daughter Jenny, who I felt I got to know as I read ...

Well worth reading, and Julie, you did Jenny proud ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 16 Jan 2012
Such a beautifully written book. Just a normal family like mine and yours ripped apart without warning. You cant help feeling right in the heart of this wonderfully, close caring family and even for a long time after reading the book I think about them all and wish that it could have all been so different and these unnecessary attacks hadnt taken place and I would have never heard of the family. How lucky Jenny was to have such a fantastic family but what a complete tragedy for her to be taken from them so prematurely in horrible circumstances.
Julie has written this book with so much care and love. Even when her own world had fell apart she made sure that everybody elses feelings were respected and behaved in such a diginified manner. Jeeny will be so proud of her Mum, family and friends.
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