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It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss

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On the 24th of February 2007 my husband, Stuart, drowned himself at sea, leaving me widowed with two young daughters aged six and four. I knew it wasn't an accident, even though the medics and police never suspected suicide. Stuart had been talking about ending his life for a year. His most recent suicide attempt had been only three weeks earlier. Afterwards, he explained On the 24th of February 2007 my husband, Stuart, drowned himself at sea, leaving me widowed with two young daughters aged six and four. I knew it wasn't an accident, even though the medics and police never suspected suicide. Stuart had been talking about ending his life for a year. His most recent suicide attempt had been only three weeks earlier. Afterwards, he explained that day as the most peaceful day of his life. Sitting next to the dam, he smoked his last cigarette. He drank a hundred sleeping pills and did a final check to make sure everything would look like an accident. The last thing he remembered was swimming out into the crystal clear water. He said that he was no longer scared of dying, that there was nothing scary about it. Living was the scary thing. It Rains In February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss is the true story of a husband's depression and obsession, not only with another woman, but also with ending his life. In this honest and heartfelt narrative, Leila Summers weaves a compelling tale of the year that led up to Stuart's suicide and the grief and self discovery that followed. Although each suicide is unique, this book gives the reader an insider's view from one perspective by way of letters and email messages.


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On the 24th of February 2007 my husband, Stuart, drowned himself at sea, leaving me widowed with two young daughters aged six and four. I knew it wasn't an accident, even though the medics and police never suspected suicide. Stuart had been talking about ending his life for a year. His most recent suicide attempt had been only three weeks earlier. Afterwards, he explained On the 24th of February 2007 my husband, Stuart, drowned himself at sea, leaving me widowed with two young daughters aged six and four. I knew it wasn't an accident, even though the medics and police never suspected suicide. Stuart had been talking about ending his life for a year. His most recent suicide attempt had been only three weeks earlier. Afterwards, he explained that day as the most peaceful day of his life. Sitting next to the dam, he smoked his last cigarette. He drank a hundred sleeping pills and did a final check to make sure everything would look like an accident. The last thing he remembered was swimming out into the crystal clear water. He said that he was no longer scared of dying, that there was nothing scary about it. Living was the scary thing. It Rains In February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss is the true story of a husband's depression and obsession, not only with another woman, but also with ending his life. In this honest and heartfelt narrative, Leila Summers weaves a compelling tale of the year that led up to Stuart's suicide and the grief and self discovery that followed. Although each suicide is unique, this book gives the reader an insider's view from one perspective by way of letters and email messages.

30 review for It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Davis

    An amazing read. I found this book to be very different as it is written 'to' her deceased husband as well as interspersed with their letters and emails. Very interesting and a page turner. Be careful of the negative reviews you read here or on Amazon as it seems more about what the readers would or wouldn't do if this happened to them. To me that is not the point of a book review. Anyway, this book was very well written and I highly recommend reading it. An amazing read. I found this book to be very different as it is written 'to' her deceased husband as well as interspersed with their letters and emails. Very interesting and a page turner. Be careful of the negative reviews you read here or on Amazon as it seems more about what the readers would or wouldn't do if this happened to them. To me that is not the point of a book review. Anyway, this book was very well written and I highly recommend reading it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lynne King

    I always find memoirs somewhat difficult to read. I want to read them but when I see someone opening their soul for everyone to read about their lives, I just feel embarrassed to a certain extent, and especially in the case of Stuart, who leaves Leila (Robyn) and her two children for another woman. I just cannot understand how she could still love this man after the way he treated her. Stuart basically ruined many people's lives, and then to finally commit suicide, well that must have been the fi I always find memoirs somewhat difficult to read. I want to read them but when I see someone opening their soul for everyone to read about their lives, I just feel embarrassed to a certain extent, and especially in the case of Stuart, who leaves Leila (Robyn) and her two children for another woman. I just cannot understand how she could still love this man after the way he treated her. Stuart basically ruined many people's lives, and then to finally commit suicide, well that must have been the final straw, to quote a cliché. Of course, depression is a dreadful thing and I understand clinical depression, as appears to be the case here, is awful for everyone concerned, not just the individual who is depressed. But then again, I do question suicide, if one is religious and the state of one's life is dreadful, such as a serious non-curable illess, what is wrong with going to Switzerland and getting it over and done with. I often wonder. I recall that Terry Pratchett was present at his friend's assisted suicide in Switzerland. Was that really so wicked when the individual who decided to take his own life, was quite competent and had choice. For after all, we as human beings do have choice to a certain extent in our existence of laws and the like. This is, nevertheless, a beautifully written book, the story is truly poignant and I realise that Leila obviously had to write this memoir as a form of healing process. I believe that I would have tried to block it all out and think the best for the future of my two children but will she be emotionally scarred by bringing this all up again? I wonder...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    To be honest....Amazing...but very hard to read. I have people in my family with bi-polar. The heart-wrenching agony that the family members go through are too close to me. I did ..however...learn about the disease through the eyes of Robyn...the wife. She was amazing in her love and selflessness for her husband...Stuart. Patience of a saint at times. I am not so sure I could do the same. I learned that one cannot help another...no matter how much you love them ....unless that person WANTS the h To be honest....Amazing...but very hard to read. I have people in my family with bi-polar. The heart-wrenching agony that the family members go through are too close to me. I did ..however...learn about the disease through the eyes of Robyn...the wife. She was amazing in her love and selflessness for her husband...Stuart. Patience of a saint at times. I am not so sure I could do the same. I learned that one cannot help another...no matter how much you love them ....unless that person WANTS the help themselves. Important to know.Others can learn that hand-wringing and fretting do nothing . Love them as much as you can...the rest is up to them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yianna Yiannacou

    From the moment the author approached me and asked me to review her memoir I knew I had to say yes. There is just something so personal about reading another persons memoir that will always stay with me. As soon as I read the first page I was hooked and I knew that this book was going to go straight to my heart. The book begins with Robyn a wonderful housewife who has two beautiful young daughters and a husband that she would die for. It is so easy to get lost in ones perfect little world when n From the moment the author approached me and asked me to review her memoir I knew I had to say yes. There is just something so personal about reading another persons memoir that will always stay with me. As soon as I read the first page I was hooked and I knew that this book was going to go straight to my heart. The book begins with Robyn a wonderful housewife who has two beautiful young daughters and a husband that she would die for. It is so easy to get lost in ones perfect little world when nothing is askew. As soon as Robyn feels like something has changed she becomes suspicious of rumours that are running around about her husband sleeping with their mutual friend. Robyn does not want to believe it but still she confronts Stuart, her husband, and he denies it. Somewhere along he admits to being adamantly in love with Amanda their friend. Not only does he admit falling for someone else, I think that was when Stuarts depression started to kick in. If not depression, then his chemical imbalance worsened and he wanted to take his own life saying that he couldn’t live with the ‘fridge people’ anymore. Robyn doesn’t know how to react to it. Stuart is so blunt in saying that Amanda is his soul mate and from the moment he laid eyes on her he knew that she was the one. He still completely respected and loved Robyn who was the mother of his two wonderful daughters but apparently it wasn’t enough for him. I respect Robyn for staying by Stuarts side at that time because I feel that if she didn’t stay and support him through that, then he would have taken his life much sooner. I don’t know how she stayed calm and composed after finding out the love of her life was in love with someone else. I would have thrown tantrum after tantrum and locked him away in a room with no key, but that is just me. I think Robyn’s love overpowered her feelings of jealousy and her body automatically switched from being his wife to being his friend. I found Stuart very selfish and wanted to smack him a couple of times but other than that, I just felt bad for the guy. I felt like he did it to himself though. It was his fault he was like that and he had no one to blame but himself. Stuart moves out because he can no longer stay at home since Robyn feels it is the right decision. He goes camping to hotel rooms to even buying his own little place and every single time he went away, he hoped that Amanda would come and visit him. That was all he wanted but Amanda was married. Apparently Amanda loved him back, but not enough to leave her own family and in the end I feel that is what killed Stuart. I am not saying that Amanda SHOULD have left her family, but if she did, Stuart would have been alive. I loved how the book has real life emails between Robyn and Stuart and how open they always were with one another. Stuart never kept one thing from Robyn which I think is a relief because if he kept everything to himself and hid in a hole, I don’t know how Robyn would have copped with that. The times where she visited him and he didn’t talk were miserable. Stuart does not seem like the person to keep feelings in and when he did it was unbearable to read and I could only imagine how it must have been to be around. In a last attempt to get into Stuart’s mind, Robyn creates up a person on the other side of the world that Stuart would be able to relate to. Robyn hopes that if Stuart has someone he can talk to than maybe he wont try to take his life - again. At this point in the book Stuart has nothing to say to Robyn or his sister since all they are telling him is to seek help, medically or mentally, but he just wont do it. Robyn writes under the alias name Leila Summers. It appears to be working since he opens up to her, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. Robyn is a warrior throughout the entire book. She has to deal with her husband trying to take his life, her work life, her social life and the life of her two daughters who are caught right in the middle. She tries to shield them from the truth but making the right decision, Robyn tells them the truth about their father committing suicide. Every single part with her daughters made me cry. “Mommy why is Granny crying when daddy is so happy in heaven?” My favourite part was when Robyn went to the psychics and she could see Stuart. She had a message for Robyn about her son. Robyn shook her head since she didn’t have one. The psychics laughed since Stuart apologized for confusing her. It was later when Robyn told her friend what happened and her friend said, “SUN! Not son. The sun, the moon, the stars, and the sea.” That is what he always compared his daughters to since no matter what happened he would always love them more than life itself. The weather has been very strange this year and when I read the part where Stuart committed suicide it was such bad weather. Instead of snow we had rain and the sky was grey. I felt like the weather was almost connected to the book I was reading. It did the same thing when I was done. When I finished and everything was sort of settled, the sun was setting and it was very peaceful. I know it probably means nothing, but at the moment it meant something to me. Overall a definite read! I loved every minute even though I was sad for most of the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    When I first saw this book, I avoided it...I didn't want to read something sad...but after several days of seeing it on the top 100 free list, I decided to download it and maybe save it for later. Little did I know I'd be reading it in short order! There is a large part of me that wishes this book was not a memoir, because what the author went through is so excruciatingly painful. No one should ever go through what she went through. I applaud her for taking the time to write this book so honestly When I first saw this book, I avoided it...I didn't want to read something sad...but after several days of seeing it on the top 100 free list, I decided to download it and maybe save it for later. Little did I know I'd be reading it in short order! There is a large part of me that wishes this book was not a memoir, because what the author went through is so excruciatingly painful. No one should ever go through what she went through. I applaud her for taking the time to write this book so honestly and so raw. The narrative is lean, like muscle over bone, which made it easy and clean to read. Uncluttered. My head is swirling with so many emotions...frustration and anger, sadness, and a strong desire to hug my husband and my puppies and it makes me want to stop time for a moment and capture the beauty of NOW. Because last minute doesn't matter and two minutes from now doesn't matter. NOW matters. There were parts of myself that identified with the author. I am a bit enabling and a bit co-dependent. I like to think I am stronger, but I cannot say for certain I would make different choices if I were in her position. I like to think I would, and that was the part that angered and frustrated me...she left so many decisions up to someone whose emotions flickered in the wind. And her husband reminded me a lot of my ex-husband...the same mannerisms, the bold and brashness, the saying "shocking" things at parties to get a rise out of people, only to later confess he doesn't truly feel that way... If you are involved with a creative person, you should read this book. Many creative folks also have mood disorders or other disturbances, sensitivities that on the surface, may not seem much more than "eccentricities" but could actually be symptoms of a deeper issue at play. It is always difficult to know where to draw the line on what is "eccentric" and what is something to be taken seriously. I was saddened to hear that in S. Africa you cannot have someone committed involuntarily. What an immense burden the author carried around! I have been in the presence of the dying, and even though you know death would provide a relief, it does not dull the pain. I do believe that Stuart was mentally ill, and it must have been no different than to watch something you love slowly turn into someone unrecognizable due to the pain they are in. And despite your desire to remove said pain, you must let someone go on their own terms, as horrible and as far removed it is from your own beliefs. I do not envy her here at all. I cannot say I have walked away with any better understanding of one's wanting to end their own life. I can understand the desire to make the pain stop, yes, but to refuse treatment...it galls me...and to expect those who love you to just accept your refusal of treatment and watch you slowly die and transform into someone no longer recognizable...a tragedy! So yeah, I think I'm angry. But this is LIFE. And it's NOT easy and it's NOT rainbows and unicorns and it IS beautiful and ugly all at once. And it deserves recognition. Not just the beautiful parts, but the ugly parts as well. If you are ready to face the beauty and the ugly, I recommend you give this book a try. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

    This book reinforces my admiration of the strength that comes in the human form. Ms. Summers' recollection of events of such a horrible part of her life and then being able to put said events on paper is astounding. The mixture of a verbal account of occurrences with the letters and e-mails that accompany these occurrences is really well done. Ms. Summers puts us right into her shoes of both utter frustration ...as well as complete and total dedication and caring. Even though the outcome is neve This book reinforces my admiration of the strength that comes in the human form. Ms. Summers' recollection of events of such a horrible part of her life and then being able to put said events on paper is astounding. The mixture of a verbal account of occurrences with the letters and e-mails that accompany these occurrences is really well done. Ms. Summers puts us right into her shoes of both utter frustration ...as well as complete and total dedication and caring. Even though the outcome is never in doubt, when I got to the words from Stuart's Dad "He's dead", I had to put the book down and regroup. Every attempt to help Stuart is exhausted. Throughout this tale I tried to think of things Robyn could do and then in the very next instant, Robyn has tried it. Especially creative was the "Leila Summers" character to bring about a quasi-love affair via e-mails. The hope of putting someone else's needs ahead of his was a brilliant idea but again there was no way of helping one who has no desire to help one's self. This is a hard recommend but certainly a must-read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    A couple months ago I was approached by the author Robyn who goes by the nom de plume Leila Summers. Usually I don't read books like this but after I read the summary I was convinced that I would have to read it. A few days ago I finally got around to read it and I'm glad I did. Ever since finishing it though I've been struggling with how I should review it. I mean this isn't a work of fiction...it's some one's life I'm reading about. In fact I don't even think I can properly put into words how I A couple months ago I was approached by the author Robyn who goes by the nom de plume Leila Summers. Usually I don't read books like this but after I read the summary I was convinced that I would have to read it. A few days ago I finally got around to read it and I'm glad I did. Ever since finishing it though I've been struggling with how I should review it. I mean this isn't a work of fiction...it's some one's life I'm reading about. In fact I don't even think I can properly put into words how I felt about this memoir but I'll give it the old college try. This book was an emotional read for me. Robyn really took me into her world with her words. I loved the way in which she wrote her memoir. For me it was as if I was reading a love letter to her husband, it was deeply personal and very intimate. Several times while reading it I had to stop because I had a sense that I was invading her privacy while there were other times when I had to put the book down because Stuart was making me so angry. The book is about Robyn's husband Stuart's last 2 years of life, the disintegration of a marriage and a family...and ultimately Stuart's suicide. I really admire Robyn and the rest of the people that stood by Stuart like his sister Ruth. Despite his continued deterioration and that which they themselves endured they still loved him, and unlike many people they didn't turn their backs on him when he fell to pieces. Even though I read the book I cannot comprehend how much strength it took Robin to keep loving the man that was so willing to walk away from their marriage on the hopes that the woman he had been having an emotional affair with for 2 years before marriage broke up would leave her family. The memoir was raw with emotion and was written beautifully. Robyn truly inspires me. She held her head high for her daughters and dealt with blow after blow delt by Stuart. Yes she had a difficult time of it, and yes she would get angry at her children because she was so stressed out but that is perfectly understandable given the situation all can be forgiven. To say I enjoyed this book would be wrong. How could I enjoy a book like this? Yet, that doesn't mean that I didn't love it. This book is a shining example of how a woman had to come to terms with her family falling apart because of her husband's love for another. It took me on a journey that showed that while Robin sometimes wavered, the strength and love she had for her husband stayed throughout the book. She did all she could to save his life, but unfortunately...it was not meant to be. I found myself to be incredibly moved by Robyn's writing and I do hope that she realizes that she has a gift, one that I hope she continues to use because I would love to read more from her. This book is highly recommended to everyone. It will make your heart hurt...and it will make you feel compassion something that I find is often lacking in the world today. It will take you on a journey of love, forgiveness, and acceptance.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Georgette

    Leila Summers has written a beautiful, heart wrenching biography of her marriage to Stuart, her husband of many years. Leila meets, falls head over heels in love, and marries Stuart. They have two beautiful girls, who remain the light of both of them. Somewhere in between paradise and purgatory, Leila begins to sense a change in her husband. A man who was so creative, driven by their mutual passion, and happy with their lives in Durban, suddenly seems out of place, sometimes overemotional, somet Leila Summers has written a beautiful, heart wrenching biography of her marriage to Stuart, her husband of many years. Leila meets, falls head over heels in love, and marries Stuart. They have two beautiful girls, who remain the light of both of them. Somewhere in between paradise and purgatory, Leila begins to sense a change in her husband. A man who was so creative, driven by their mutual passion, and happy with their lives in Durban, suddenly seems out of place, sometimes overemotional, sometimes distant to the point of distraction. Stuart eventually confesses to Leila that he has fallen in love with a mutual friend of theirs, who sings with him and is also married. Things go into a spiral from this point on. Leila remains strong and attempts to get Stuart to open up and talk, and along with his sister, attempts to keep him on a happier plain. Sadly, Stuart attempts suicide and the battle to save him continues. The letters and emails that Leila shares in her book are beautiful, blunt, and so hard to read, because there is such an open honesty to them. Leila loves her husband very much, despite her sadness and sometimes anger at the dissolution of her marriage, and she never stops trying to reach him. She speaks honestly throughout the book of her battles to remain optimistic in the face of such an uphill battle, and she attempts to keep life uncomplicated and as normal as possible, espicially to their two little girls. Stuart's sadness permeates the pages, as it becomes apparent to him that his love for the friend, remains a solitary one and unrequited to some extent, and furthers his desire to no longer be among the living. Ultimately, it's a book on the beginning, middle, and end of a not only a marriage ending, but also the life of a driven, vibrant man lost in the tailights of depression. You feel hopeful for Leila and her girls, that life does indeed go on, and that Stuart will always be remembered with joy and compassion, thanks to the way Leila has brought him to life in the pages of this book. I will recommend it heartily.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michele Kallio

    IT RAINS IN FEBRUARY is an incredibly moving memoir of a young wife's love and loss. Leila Summers tells the unbearably sad story of her husband's illness and suicide with tenderness and love. It is a difficult book to review but one I highly recommend be be read. IT RAINS IN FEBRUARY will take you on the rollercoaster ride that was Summer's life. Through emails she reveals her husband's illness and her unending support for him. It is a tale of loss but it is also a story of hope, for although h IT RAINS IN FEBRUARY is an incredibly moving memoir of a young wife's love and loss. Leila Summers tells the unbearably sad story of her husband's illness and suicide with tenderness and love. It is a difficult book to review but one I highly recommend be be read. IT RAINS IN FEBRUARY will take you on the rollercoaster ride that was Summer's life. Through emails she reveals her husband's illness and her unending support for him. It is a tale of loss but it is also a story of hope, for although her husband's struggle and death are the main topic of the book, Summers shows how she kept her children's lives normal and happy. Summers reveals not only the pain of this terrible time but the love and healing that has come from it. IT RAINS IN FEBRUARY is a difficult book to read, but one I recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth7781

    I discovered Leila Summers through goodreads, or more rightly, she discovered me. No matter. It is one of the happy serendipities of the universe that I should find this eloquent, gifted author. She has written quite a courageous book about the loss of her beloved husband. A heart-wrenching read and yet still a book of resolute hope and the power of love to triumph. I made the mistake of starting this book at 11 pm and finally forced myself to stop in the wee hours of the morning, 75% through. H I discovered Leila Summers through goodreads, or more rightly, she discovered me. No matter. It is one of the happy serendipities of the universe that I should find this eloquent, gifted author. She has written quite a courageous book about the loss of her beloved husband. A heart-wrenching read and yet still a book of resolute hope and the power of love to triumph. I made the mistake of starting this book at 11 pm and finally forced myself to stop in the wee hours of the morning, 75% through. Her writing speaks straight to the heart. I probably could have finished it in one setting if I didn't keep stopping to write down passages that had great meaning for me. Not an easy read because of the subject matter, but worth it just the same.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda Clarke

    A REALLY GREAT BOOK I’m not surprised this book has won an award, it was brilliantly written. It also sent shivers down my spine as I was in Durban when it all took place and many of the scenes described were places I was familiar with. There were a lot of other parallels as well, but the lasting thought was the need to get more information out about personality disorders. The writer went through hoops to help her husband, she tried and tried over but she was fighting a battle it is almost imposs A REALLY GREAT BOOK I’m not surprised this book has won an award, it was brilliantly written. It also sent shivers down my spine as I was in Durban when it all took place and many of the scenes described were places I was familiar with. There were a lot of other parallels as well, but the lasting thought was the need to get more information out about personality disorders. The writer went through hoops to help her husband, she tried and tried over but she was fighting a battle it is almost impossible to win. I think it very brave of her to share her story. It was a difficult book to put down. Well worth the 5 stars and i am so glad I read it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Puddle

    I started reading this book and though I don't have a lot of time to read these days, I couldn't put it down. The story is sad and had me hooked from the start. The author, Leila, (Robyn) was brave to write it and it must have been hard, though it probably helped with the healing process. It was quite frustrating in parts as you want to shake her for letting her husband treat her the way he did. Though he was suffering from depression, he was in love with another woman and kept telling her that I started reading this book and though I don't have a lot of time to read these days, I couldn't put it down. The story is sad and had me hooked from the start. The author, Leila, (Robyn) was brave to write it and it must have been hard, though it probably helped with the healing process. It was quite frustrating in parts as you want to shake her for letting her husband treat her the way he did. Though he was suffering from depression, he was in love with another woman and kept telling her that if he couldn't have her, he would kill himself. The other woman happened to be a friend of theirs and although she apparently loved him back, she chose to stay with her own husband and children. The MC, Robyn, supported her depressed husband and kept trying to get him to seek medical help for his depression. He refused and moved out of their home and many miles away in the hope that his new love would join him. She didn't and his depression got worse, though he still had a relationship with his wife and she visited him often. Robyn had to accept that her husband wasn't in love with her anymore, but kept helping him with everything because she still loved him. plus they had two little girls who he adored and them him. Robyn even went as far as to beg the other woman to visit him in the hope that he wouldn't attempt suicide again. She also tried to get him to see a psychiatrist and go to a hospital, but he threatened to kill himself in there if she arranged it. Should Robyn have kept helping him and sacrificing her own well being for years on end? I'm not sure, but she did what her heart told her to do and no matter what she did, the outcome would have probably been the same. Even if she had forced the issue of having him taken to a mental health hospital and put on antidepressants, he still could have killed himself. Mental illness is so complicated and no one can know if even a medication can help certain people. My thoughts are that Robyn tried her very hardest to keep him alive, for himself, his children, and for her. She was totally selfless, which is rare in this world. My sadness was also for the children who must wonder why their daddy didn't want to stay alive - to be with them. Hopefully, when they're older, they will do some research on mental illness and realise that even their father had no control over his own life and death, and that he was unlucky enough to have had a chemical imbalance through no fault of his own. I actually think he may have fallen for the other woman because of his mental illness, and it was probably just infatuation, maybe he enjoyed the high of being in love as an escape from his dark thoughts of death. Had he spent time with this woman he may have even gone back to his wife and children. After reading all his letters in the story and his desperation to be with this other woman, it seemed to me that it was her rejection that he couldn't take. Maybe he had self esteem problems, maybe not, but that's just my thoughts. He was probably already depressed before meeting her and that rejection made it worse. Depression can be cause by many things, firstly the person usually has the inherited gene, and then if other things happen, like losing a family member or pet, as well as financial problems, it can trigger it off. Maybe even a fear off being left alone or work issues or loss of a friendship. In this story the husband had lost a dear pet that was his best friend and I'm sure that affected him more than he let on. I've known people who were depressed for years after losing a pet. Our pets are our babies, so it's understandable. But with this man it was much more complicated. He chose his own future and now the family are left behind to pick up the pieces. I think there is no one to blame. It's just all too sad and I hope that the author can find closure and meet someone who'll give back all the unconditional love to her that she gave to her husband. I'm sure with a mother like they have, the children will grow up strong and healthy and with compassion just like their wonderful mother. And to the other woman, well she must feel bad too and probably guilty. I don't think she should though. None of it was her fault, after all, it seems she sacrificed her own love for this man, probably for her children and her own husband, who she'd made vows too. Good luck to all of them. I highly recommend this book to all adults and teens. There are people in many families that suffer from undiagnosed depression. The symptoms are not always obvious. Look for withdrawal and don't let fake smiles fool you. If someone you know has been suffering from long-term depression, and has been threatening suicide, then they suddenly seems really happy, it could be that they are planning suicide that day. They may not be, but it's worth watching them, just in case.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Grace Peterson

    What is love? Is the warm fuzzies we feel while embracing our husband of 30 years under a moonlit sky? Is it opening a small, exquisitely wrapped package to find a diamond of commitment? It Rains In February: A Wife’s Memoir of Love and Loss, written by Leila Summers, answers this question without even trying. It is the true-life account of one woman’s struggle to help her mentally ill husband. Set in exotic South Africa, Leila and Stuart meet, fall headlong in love, get married and have two dau What is love? Is the warm fuzzies we feel while embracing our husband of 30 years under a moonlit sky? Is it opening a small, exquisitely wrapped package to find a diamond of commitment? It Rains In February: A Wife’s Memoir of Love and Loss, written by Leila Summers, answers this question without even trying. It is the true-life account of one woman’s struggle to help her mentally ill husband. Set in exotic South Africa, Leila and Stuart meet, fall headlong in love, get married and have two daughters. But behind Stuart’s artistic, somewhat eccentric demeanor lies a skewed view of reality, likely stemming from a chemical imbalance in his brain. Once he lays eyes on cinnamon-skinned Amanda, his affection for his wife takes a backseat to his unrequited obsession. Perhaps Amanda is flattered, even titillated by handsome Stuart’s flirtations, we don’t really know, but she doesn’t leave her husband for Stuart. And despite Leila’s numerous urgings, Stuart refuses to resume first place in her life and continues to decline, ultimately taking his own life. Leila is a gifted writer. The book is a poignantly candid love letter written to deceased Stuart, detailing the events and emotional difficulties during the months and years of their relationship. Despite the enormous stress of trying to keep Stuart from fulfilling his own demise, Leila’s unconditional love for him never wavers. To me, this is the take home message. I can’t help but contrast the long suffering devotion Leila exhibited for her husband in a far from ideal marriage to many of today’s marriages that quickly dissolve when things take a turn for the worse. Leila constantly reassures Stuart of her love for him and tries desperately to get him to seek psychiatric help. She writes honestly about being pulled in different directions, caring for their daughters and trying to make a life for herself. Despite the worst possible outcome, Leila survives and ultimately thrives.

  14. 4 out of 5

    MeMe Belikova First lady Ivashkov

    Wow, this book was truly AMAZING! I read this book in one sitting which is rare for me(slow reader) but I couldn't find the strength to put it down. I found myself experiencing every heart-breaking moment with the character Robyn as she took me through her journey of life,love,loss,hope, and finally freedom. Robyn a wife of two children finds out that her husband, Stuart of seven years(hope I'm correct) is having an affair and is dangerously in love with another women. Robyn's life is torn apart Wow, this book was truly AMAZING! I read this book in one sitting which is rare for me(slow reader) but I couldn't find the strength to put it down. I found myself experiencing every heart-breaking moment with the character Robyn as she took me through her journey of life,love,loss,hope, and finally freedom. Robyn a wife of two children finds out that her husband, Stuart of seven years(hope I'm correct) is having an affair and is dangerously in love with another women. Robyn's life is torn apart as her family has to struggle with the emotional roller coaster ride that Stuart takes them on. In this story Robyn has to learn that loving someone is not enough to make them love you back, and that no matter how much you love someone it can't always save them. This book made me look at my own life and how it is important to love one another. Never take for granted those close to you, you never know what they may be going through or what demons are hidden within in their soul. This story was raw and real, a confession from a wife coping with loss and her disturbing adventures of finding freedom within herself. Thus, enabling herself to let go of the hurt and have the strength to tell her story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelsie

    I've only just started this book, but it's already heart-wrenching. With every paragraph, I find myself thinking, "This sounds like my life; such perfect love and tenderness, shattered by greed." It's a page-turner for sure. Having finished this book, I since recommended it to a number of people. All the way until the end, I never wanted to put the book down. I thought about the characters when I was not reading. The ending was frustrating because the story of Robin's life is left somewhat unres I've only just started this book, but it's already heart-wrenching. With every paragraph, I find myself thinking, "This sounds like my life; such perfect love and tenderness, shattered by greed." It's a page-turner for sure. Having finished this book, I since recommended it to a number of people. All the way until the end, I never wanted to put the book down. I thought about the characters when I was not reading. The ending was frustrating because the story of Robin's life is left somewhat unresolved, but when you realize that she is a real person (Leila Summers) and that this book was simply her way of dealing with the trauma in her life, it becomes less frustrating and more impressive, really. I hope Ms. Summers continues writing and I can get my hands on another book as compelling soon!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paola Graziani

    In the eight days I read this book, Leila's memoir was constantly on my mind. I experienced a variety of emotions such as disbelief, compassion, and admiration. Leila's strength and unconditional love are remarkable. But putting Stuart's needs before her own made me want to scream at times. I tried to imagine what it must be like to live with someone like Stuart when suicidal wishes are triggered by an obsession with another woman. I didn't succeed so I read the story through Leila's eyes. The w In the eight days I read this book, Leila's memoir was constantly on my mind. I experienced a variety of emotions such as disbelief, compassion, and admiration. Leila's strength and unconditional love are remarkable. But putting Stuart's needs before her own made me want to scream at times. I tried to imagine what it must be like to live with someone like Stuart when suicidal wishes are triggered by an obsession with another woman. I didn't succeed so I read the story through Leila's eyes. The writing style left me feeling frustrated because it read more like a timeline of events than a story. The numerous emails the author included in the memoir broke the flow and caused me to disconnect. I nevertheless applaud the author's courage in having written this memoir.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Puckett

    After reading some negative reviews on amazon, I was concerned I might not like the wife in this book. Although I probably won't pass it along to most friends due to the dark subject matter, it was right up my alley. I really liked the book and empathized with the writer. I've always thought suicide was such a selfish act, but after reading this memoir, I'm seeing this man's choice in a different light. I love books that make you question your beliefs. This one was sad but captivating. After reading some negative reviews on amazon, I was concerned I might not like the wife in this book. Although I probably won't pass it along to most friends due to the dark subject matter, it was right up my alley. I really liked the book and empathized with the writer. I've always thought suicide was such a selfish act, but after reading this memoir, I'm seeing this man's choice in a different light. I love books that make you question your beliefs. This one was sad but captivating.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    With breathtaking emotional clarity and sensitivity author Leila Summers recalls her story of marriage and family life, and her beloved husband Stuart's decent into the madness that claimed his life. While this darkly written memoir: "It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss" (2012) we know from the beginning Stuart isn't going to make it. The depiction of his delusion and glitch of obsessional desire for another woman was unforgettable and hard to comprehend, we also know, this wa With breathtaking emotional clarity and sensitivity author Leila Summers recalls her story of marriage and family life, and her beloved husband Stuart's decent into the madness that claimed his life. While this darkly written memoir: "It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss" (2012) we know from the beginning Stuart isn't going to make it. The depiction of his delusion and glitch of obsessional desire for another woman was unforgettable and hard to comprehend, we also know, this wasn't a true love. Robyn and Stuart, a seemingly happily married couple with two small daughters lived in the coastal city of Durban, South Africa. Stuart admitted to being in love with their mutual close friend Amanda, wife of Barry, (also parents of young children). Robyn found their love letters, poetry and music in Stuart's journal, and was understandably heartbroken. Stuart insisted Amanda was his soul mate and he didn't want to live without her. Barry and Amanda decided to save their own marriage and remained together. To his credit, Barry met with Robyn numerous times to compare notes and help her with the dilemma concerning Stuart. Amanda remained in contact with Stuart, encouraging him, going to see him on occasion, corresponding and mailing packages. Unable to cope realistically with his obsession of Amanda, Stuart transferred to Cape Town wanting Amanda to join him there. When this never happened, he sunk further into a deep suicidal depression, alarming nearby relatives who became further engaged in his care. With his family, Robyn considered the possibility of admission to Valkenburg Psychiatric Hospital: located in Cape Town, though overcrowded and "wretched". Stuart would have needed to reasonably co-operate in the treatment and care of his mental illness, and desire to get well. He refused any and all forms of therapeutic intervention including medication that may have saved his life. (From the Book): "You used to be so passionate, so full of life. Then you spiraled downward. Now you're dropping. Free falling. I run after you, trying to help, to stop you from hurting yourself/You need saving. I am the incessant savior." With the help of her therapist, the love of her daughters, and writing her story, (a process that took four years) has helped Robyn cope with her grief and loss. I have read this book twice, it is among my favorites. Many thanks and much appreciation for the e-ARC for the purpose of review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dana Burgess

    Memoirs are not my favourite books to read. Very often, when I get review requests for them, I find a kind way to turn them down. When Leila Summers approached me asking if I would review her memoir, It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss I must have been having a particularly off day because I said yes. Thank goodness for that particularly off day. It Rains in February is written from the point of view of the author in the form of a sort of letter to her late husband outlining th Memoirs are not my favourite books to read. Very often, when I get review requests for them, I find a kind way to turn them down. When Leila Summers approached me asking if I would review her memoir, It Rains in February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss I must have been having a particularly off day because I said yes. Thank goodness for that particularly off day. It Rains in February is written from the point of view of the author in the form of a sort of letter to her late husband outlining the fear, pain, love and agony she experience as he was sucked into a vortex of mental illness that eventually resulted in his suicide. What surprised me the most about this epistle is the gentle and honest tone of the writing. Leila Summers (aka Robin) bares her soul in her writing and allows the reader into, what must be, the most painful and personal moments in her life. She doesn't try to excuse her decisions or behaviour or the behaviour of Stuart, her husband. She doesn't place blame for his illness or his actions on anyone. She simply (I can't believe I just used that word - I'm sure none of this was simple at all) opens her heart and lets it bleed over the pages. The result is a powerful, honest, loving remembrance. For anyone wanting to understand mental illness from the point of view of those who love the sufferers, this book should fall into the category of required reading. For anyone who has ever said 'I don't understand how someone could kill themselves.' It Rains in February should be required reading. For those suffering from a mental illness wanting to understand how anyone could love them ... you get the idea. Kudos to Ms Summers for having written about a devastating, life-altering experience without succumbing to sappy, overly sentimental drivel. There were many times, as I read the book, that I wondered how I would react if faced with similar circumstances. We all will face calamities in our own lives. I'm sure that we will all make our own decisions based on our belief systems and life experiences. One day, when I look back over the difficult times in my life, I hope I will see that I have dealt with them with the same grace, forgiveness and love that Leila drew upon during this time in her life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    It Rains in February, the story of author Leila Summers'journey with a severely depressed husband intent on ending his life is a compelling story. In some ways I felt like I was on a speeding train headed for a certain crash ahead, but with no way off. And no way to stop the train. Sometimes there is nothing we can do. Through sharing her thoughts, feelings, hopes, struggles, and desperate actions along this fateful journey to try to save her husband's life, Summers gives us all the great gift of It Rains in February, the story of author Leila Summers'journey with a severely depressed husband intent on ending his life is a compelling story. In some ways I felt like I was on a speeding train headed for a certain crash ahead, but with no way off. And no way to stop the train. Sometimes there is nothing we can do. Through sharing her thoughts, feelings, hopes, struggles, and desperate actions along this fateful journey to try to save her husband's life, Summers gives us all the great gift of a beam of light shed upon one of the most inconceivable tragedies anyone ever has to face—the loss of a loved one to suicide. "Why did she do it?" "How could he possibly do it?" "I can't believe she did it." We all ask these questions when we hear someone has taken his or her own life. After reading It Rains in February, you may not understand one thing more than you do today about suicide or the possibility of prevention. But you might gain a glimpse into the heart and soul of a tortured man and the helpless and hopelessness of a woman who loved him beyond reason, who made every valiant attempt to save him, and who, in the end, could only suffer the blow. This book will stay with me a long time. My gratitude to both Leila Summers and Robyn for her courage in telling the tale.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    A poignant memoir written by a woman for her two children to read when they are grown about their father's mental deterioration and suicide following an affair with another woman. Leila is compassionate throughout the story as she watches her husband's mind dissolve with his obsession with Amanda, one of their best friends. I struggled with her inability to get mad at him, although there are times when she does. But she sees how much pain and agony he is in. Having a mental illness myself, I can A poignant memoir written by a woman for her two children to read when they are grown about their father's mental deterioration and suicide following an affair with another woman. Leila is compassionate throughout the story as she watches her husband's mind dissolve with his obsession with Amanda, one of their best friends. I struggled with her inability to get mad at him, although there are times when she does. But she sees how much pain and agony he is in. Having a mental illness myself, I can attest to when a 'triggering' event happens (in his case, something about Amanda) it is easy to spiral into a depression so dark suicide eventually seems ones only option. However, Stuart would not seek any sort of medical help, and in So. Africa it is impossible to commit another person. I felt her pain throughout the book. However, at one point she described herself as responsible (I agree given her described behavior) and also not given to flights of fancy. And yet she chooses a new-age counselor to guide her, seeks out psychics, even telephone ones, and has her fortune told during her two year ordeal. Overall, I would recommend, especially if you, want to understand mental illness and depression more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a gorgeously written and moving account of a family that is broken by the mental illness and subsequent suicide of the husband/father. It begins as a love letter to Stuart (the father/husband) and it shared intimate details of a young and passionate love. The book is written to Stuart, and it is completely heartbreaking. It is so beautiful and so sad, simultaneously. The author does absolutely everything she can think of to prevent the death of her husband, and I mean everything, above a This is a gorgeously written and moving account of a family that is broken by the mental illness and subsequent suicide of the husband/father. It begins as a love letter to Stuart (the father/husband) and it shared intimate details of a young and passionate love. The book is written to Stuart, and it is completely heartbreaking. It is so beautiful and so sad, simultaneously. The author does absolutely everything she can think of to prevent the death of her husband, and I mean everything, above and beyond, loving and forgiving him in a manner that I struggled with, struggled not to judge as I haven't lived it. This memoir really made me think about how far I would go to try to save my husband's life, how much of my heart and soul I would allow to be battered in these attempts. It made me think about loyalty, unconditional love, marriage and commitment, and of course parenthood. A brilliant and intimate book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Snoozie Suzie

    This book annoyed, frustrated, and touched a chord with me in that I have undergone both the husband and wife's feelings and situations (the wife only to a certain degree as I have not had to deal with a loved one committing suicide). I read this as part of a group read on GR and i felt and understanding for both the book, and myself in that I could see me in it. I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been a group read as I would have thought it would have made me feel odd - in tha This book annoyed, frustrated, and touched a chord with me in that I have undergone both the husband and wife's feelings and situations (the wife only to a certain degree as I have not had to deal with a loved one committing suicide). I read this as part of a group read on GR and i felt and understanding for both the book, and myself in that I could see me in it. I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been a group read as I would have thought it would have made me feel odd - in that I am odd that I too have felt like this. But it didn't. As I say I got annoyed at this book, but perhaps this shows that it was well written that it gets under your skin. Although it is probably because the husband is selfish, blinkered and unfeeling toward his wife. If someone you know suffers from depression, or indeed if you do, this book will help you understand.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Stancomb

    A book that blows you away. Written with extraordinary force and clarity , it carries you through the turmoil of the author’s life with a husband who was clearly lovable but hopelessly unhinged. It is an amazing tour de force. It’s almost like an epic poem or a Norse saga in the manner that it is written. The reader is swirled up and down with the waves of the story – born up by the lyrical descriptions of how the author felt in the good times, and crashed down when the wave breaks, and she is hu A book that blows you away. Written with extraordinary force and clarity , it carries you through the turmoil of the author’s life with a husband who was clearly lovable but hopelessly unhinged. It is an amazing tour de force. It’s almost like an epic poem or a Norse saga in the manner that it is written. The reader is swirled up and down with the waves of the story – born up by the lyrical descriptions of how the author felt in the good times, and crashed down when the wave breaks, and she is hurtled into an abyss of trepidation about the future of her two little daughters and her own life. It’s an exhausting read, but it’s something of a literary triumph that a break up and suicide with a husband can be turned into such a wonderfully lyrical and poetic book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    I was drawn in from the first page - i love the way the author told her story. I also recognized myself on her pages, especially towards the end when she was talking about the healing involved from telling such a tale. I admire the author's strength and courage. She should be proud to have created this legacy for her daughters. They are very lucky to have her as a mother. I have already recommended it to several friends that I knew who could relate. Thank you for being brave. Marianne Curtis Autho I was drawn in from the first page - i love the way the author told her story. I also recognized myself on her pages, especially towards the end when she was talking about the healing involved from telling such a tale. I admire the author's strength and courage. She should be proud to have created this legacy for her daughters. They are very lucky to have her as a mother. I have already recommended it to several friends that I knew who could relate. Thank you for being brave. Marianne Curtis Author of Finding Gloria

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bullock

    Thank you for sharing this incredible memoir. I can really empathise with all of your story, and although as a reader I could take a slightly detached view, I was overwhelmed by the emotion and strength of character in your writing. I suspect that many people can relate to some aspects of your book and therefore will have a lot to learn from your experiences. I commend you on your tenacity and ability. Well written, well thought out, and well worth reading. Thanks again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Whistlers Mom

    What makes a book memorable? I read this book almost four years ago and have thought about it many times since then. Obviously, it touched a cord, even though I've never lost a loved one through suicide. This is the story of two intelligent, sensitive people who came together and produced two much-loved children. But, they didn't live happily ever after. Why not? What was missing? Many people can write about a tragic event and tell their side of the story and engage the sympathies of the reader. What makes a book memorable? I read this book almost four years ago and have thought about it many times since then. Obviously, it touched a cord, even though I've never lost a loved one through suicide. This is the story of two intelligent, sensitive people who came together and produced two much-loved children. But, they didn't live happily ever after. Why not? What was missing? Many people can write about a tragic event and tell their side of the story and engage the sympathies of the reader. What is unusual in this book is the author's raw honesty and the lengths to which she goes to try to understand her husband and the pain that drove him to suicide. The tipping point was his affair with a married woman who eventually decided to go back to her husband. If the author is correct, this woman had a history of affairs with men whom she then abandoned in favor of her devoted, forgiving husband. What motivates a woman like that? Drama? A need to be the center of attention? Why wasn't he able to see through her? I don't believe that the ending of the affair (as painful as it might have been) was the real cause of the suicide. "Men have died and the worms have eaten them, but not for love" is as sensible now as when it was written long ago. Leila's husband suffered from mental illness and that illness caused him to end his life. This story highlights how little we know about the workings of the mind and how little we know even about our nearest and dearest. It shows the ripple effect of a death - particularly a violent death - as relatives and friends try to understand what happened and struggle to figure out what they could have done differently. This woman was dealt a bad hand, but she played it with courage and honesty. It's a thought-provoking book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Trotter

    Before I had read half the book, I wanted Stuart to hurry up and kill himself; my reason for this was to release all the women in his life from the emotional torture he was putting them through. I hope this was not heartlessness on my part, but because I know I dodged this hellish bullet about 10 years ago. Back to the book: Ms. Summers writing is smooth and makes even the most preposterous situations seem almost rational; her writing also makes looking away, from all the emotional abuse being inf Before I had read half the book, I wanted Stuart to hurry up and kill himself; my reason for this was to release all the women in his life from the emotional torture he was putting them through. I hope this was not heartlessness on my part, but because I know I dodged this hellish bullet about 10 years ago. Back to the book: Ms. Summers writing is smooth and makes even the most preposterous situations seem almost rational; her writing also makes looking away, from all the emotional abuse being inflicted, impossible. I found all the grief-induced spiritual wanderings to be soothing and made wading through Stuart's self-inflicted distress worth it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    June Collins

    Leila Summers story is beautifully written. It is a sad story about unconditional love and a woman's strength. Leila Summers story is beautifully written. It is a sad story about unconditional love and a woman's strength.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was a very powerful book. At times very hard to read. Definitely a good read for someone who has a family member or friend who suffers from depression. Very sad yet an interesting book!

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