An Extra Pair of Hands

by Kate Mosse

Biographies & Autobiographies History Health & Fitness

LoveReading Expert Review of An Extra Pair of Hands

An Extra Pair of Hands is an emotional journey, celebrating family and love and exploring grief and ageing – it’s raw, witty, heartbreaking and honest.

An Extra Pair of Hands is an emotional journey, following Kate Mosse as she became a carer for her father, mother and then mother-in-law in a short space of time. This is a book about what it’s like to be a carer, not as a paid employee but to be there for your family at times of illness, crisis and increasing fragility – because you want to be, not because it’s just part of a job. I felt like I was there in her memories, not only during her practical day-to-day activities and dealing with their essential needs, but also the impact on her own mental health. Carers silently, stoically and heroically do what they do out of love and for little or no reward. It can be hard, both physically and emotionally – always thinking of, and dealing with, loved ones’ needs other than their own. In her book, Kate Mosse also touches on the impact of pandemic and lockdowns and the shielding of older & vulnerable people. An Extra Pair of Hands is a celebration of family and love and an exploration of grief and ageing – it’s raw, witty, heartbreaking and honest.

Victoria Goldman

An Extra Pair of Hands Synopsis

A deeply moving story of what it means to care for those we love - by bestselling author Kate Mosse, writer of Labyrinth and The City of Tears

As our population ages, more and more of us find ourselves caring for parents and loved ones - some 8.8 million people in the UK. An invisible army of carers holding families together.

Here, Kate Mosse tells her personal story of finding herself as a carer in middle age: first, helping her mother look after her beloved father through Parkinson's, then supporting her mother in widowhood, and finally as 'an extra pair of hands' for her 90-year-old mother-in-law.

This is a story about the gentle heroism of our carers, about small everyday acts of tenderness, and finding joy in times of crisis. It's about juggling priorities, mind-numbing repetition, about guilt and powerlessness, about grief, and the solace of nature when we're exhausted or at a loss. It is also about celebrating older people, about learning to live differently - and think differently about ageing.

But most of all, it's a story about love.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781788162616
Publication date: 3rd June 2021
Author: Kate Mosse
Publisher: Wellcome Collection an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 208 pages
Primary Genre Biographies & Autobiographies
Other Genres:

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Kate Mosse Press Reviews

A beautiful, emotional and timely read -- Matt Haig

I read it in one sitting, and will be pressing into the hands of everyone I know. A celebration of ageing, womanhood and what love really means -- Christie Watson

A beacon of light: full of candour, sorrow, joy, hard-won wisdom, and luminous with love -- Nicci Gerrard

A meditation on caring and ageing that lifts the spirits without pulling punches -- Ian Rankin

A beautiful, profoundly moving book about society's most vital glue - care -- Rachel Clarke

A brilliant read that celebrates both the fragility and resilience of human existence. It sheds light on various forms of humble, gentle heroism that often go unnoticed and remain untold. This is a profoundly moving book and although it deals with difficult subjects, including grief and caring for someone you love, it is ultimately uplifting, inspiring, a tribute to love -- Elif Shafak

This is a truly beautiful book, shot through with honesty, heartbreak and joy. I loved it -- Adam Kay

Honest, moving ... this book will be a huge help to both carers and the cared-for -- Deborah Moggach

So beautifully captures the joys, sorrows and privileges of caring for someone you love at the end of their life, as well as the deep grief of letting them go. It is the story of being a woman, of being the centre point of a family and all that entails. Mostly it is a story about what it means to love someone. A must read for anyone who has ever been, or ever will be, an extra pair of hands -- Penny Wincer

Care is hard work, but ... Kate Mosse reminds us also of how precious and deeply enriching this labour of love can be. Mosse is a wise guide to a complex territory of caring for ageing parents, and this is essential reading -- Madeleine Bunting

The power of this extraordinary memoir lies in Mosse's unsparing account of the personal costs of care-giving - and its deep and poignant joys. She writes about looking after her aged and ailing parents and her mother-in-law, the sadness of observing their increasing frailty, the moments of humour, connection and triumph and the recognition that the relationship between carer and recipient is not one-sided but multifaceted, mutual and shot through with love -- Catherine Meyer

Wonderful ... I was in tears, but the reading experience is ultimately uplifting and hopeful -- Cathy Rentzenbrink

This exploration of what it means to care for another person is both wide ranging and deeply personal, overflowing as it does with close observation and emotional wisdom, and told with wit, honesty and irresistible warmth. It celebrates both those who care, and those who grieve, as well as those who are cared for ... Books like this are like being held by the hand -- Rachel Joyce

Moving ... heartfelt ... questions how and why we fetishise independence when the reality of human experience is always interdependence. Here is a book that sees, in this, a cause for celebration -- Book of the Day - Guardian

A wise and kindly book, all the wiser for its honesty ... a heartfelt reminder of why people become carers -- Kate Saunders - Times

An incisive, profoundly humane blend of the personal and the political -- Gwendolyn Smith - The i

A moving, delicate portrait of her own time as a carer for her parents, including her Parkinson's-ravaged father. Having been through the same mill, I can honestly say that Mosse captures the experience, and the sense of powerlessness and heartbreak, with skill and tender precision -- Book of the Month, Martin Chilton - Independent

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781788162623
Publication date: 31/03/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781788162616
Publication date: 03/06/2021
Format: Hardback

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About Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse was our Guest Editor in November 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing. Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of several novels and short-story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is adapting for the stage – her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. She has also written four works of non-fiction – including An Extra Pair of ...

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