When Rachel's baby is stillborn, she becomes obsessed with the idea that saving a stranger's life months earlier is to blame. An unforgettable, heart-wrenching, warm and funny debut…

‘Emotionally engaging, witty, clever and wonderfully satisfying’ Daily Express

‘A stunning debut … a wise, moving, and thought-provoking novel’ Susan Elliot Wright, author of The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood

‘A heartbreaking, deeply moving and wonderfully witty tale, which celebrates all it means to be human’ Isabelle Broom, author of The Getaway


Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.

When a misguided well-wisher tells her that “everything happens for a reason”, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, Josephine, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results... 

Both a heart-wrenchingly poignant portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life- affirming read and, quite simply, unforgettable.


‘Very few authors can be funny and break your heart at the same time, but Katie Allen is one. Everything Happens for a Reason is a beautiful novel, bursting with raw emotional honesty and authenticity’ Gill Paul, author of The Secret Wife

‘So affecting. Profoundly sad. Funny. I just loved it’ Louise Beech, author of This Is How We Are Human
‘Darkly funny, yet poignant and moving, this is one of those books that gets under your skin. A brutally honest portrayal of grief, Rachel's quest to find out if everything happens for a reason is both heartbreaking and heartwarming’ Anna Bell, author of In Case You Missed It
‘“Some books teach you, others touch your soul, then there are books like this one that bury deep and create a home in your heart’ Emma-Claire Wilson, Glass House Magazine
‘A triumph … a book of hope and ambition and making sense of the world, a tale of acting spontaneously, living in the moment and throwing caution to the wind’ Isabella May, author of Oh! What a Pavlova

‘You'll laugh, you'll cry … you'll finish this book, set it aside and wonder at the honesty, and empathy of this writer’ Michael J Malone, author of A Song of Isolation
‘An incredibly important and beautifully written book. Bittersweet and brave, it will keep you both laughing and crying until the last page’ Kate Ford, actress, Coronation Street
‘The perfect mix of clever, funny and intensely moving’ Cari Rosen, author of The Secret Diary of a New Mum Aged 43 1/4
‘A heart-wrenching, soul-lifting read about loss and redemption in unlikely places’ Eve Smith, author of The Waiting Rooms

‘Read it and weep but also, incredibly, find moments to laugh and to know there is life after death’ Julia Hobsbawm, author of The Simplicity Principle

‘Beautiful … sad, quirky and at times very funny’ Madeleine Black, author of Unbroken

‘Allen’s debut is simultaneously devastating and hilarious. It takes courage to bring out the humour in heartbreak and Allen has courage in spades’ Clare Allan, author of Poppy Shakespeare
‘A memorable, poetic read ... I felt as if I was watching Rachel going off the rails, trying to make sense of her life without her baby, befriending every lost soul on the way and getting so many things horribly wrong. The writing reminded of Eleanor Oliphant … an excellent debut novel’ Becky Fleetwood, author of the Chroma series

‘Quirky yet insightful, bright yet wistful, amusing yet emotional … full of contradictions that fuse into the most surprising, moving, and beautiful novel’ Liz Robinson, LoveReading
‘Allen masterfully balances tragedy and humour in this vital story about making sense of the profoundly nonsensical – the death of a baby’ Julia Bueno author of The Brink of Being
For fans of Jonas Jonasson, Matt Haig, Graeme Simsion and Rachel Joyce.


  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Orenda Books (10 Jun. 2021)
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1913193614

Everything Happens For a Reason