An Extra Pair of Hands


Ten years ago, Kate Mosse began to help her heroic mother care for her beloved father, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In this lyrical and humorous book, she reflects on more than a decade of multi-generational living and being an ‘extra pair of hands’, first for her parents and now for her wonderful 90-year-old mother-in-law. Interspersed with snapshots of the overlooked voices of carers of the past – from poems, diaries and folk remedies that have survived the centuries – Kate looks at the contemporary landscape of care in a world of slashed budgets and at the women bearing the brunt of austerity as they battle to hold families of all shapes and sizes together.

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A Times Best Book for Summer 2021A Guardian Summer Book 2021The i’s 30 Best Books for Summer 2021An Independent Book of the Month An inspiring and heartbreaking story of what it means to care for those we love – by bestselling author Kate Mosse’A brilliant read that celebrates both the fragility and resilience of human existence … uplifting, inspiring, a tribute to love’ ELIF SHAFAK’Shot through with honesty, heartbreak and joy. I loved it’ ADAM KAY’A celebration of ageing, womanhood and what love really means’ CHRISTIE WATSON, author of The Language of KindnessAs 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.’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’ Guardian, Book of the Day’Heartfelt, funny and at times heartbreaking … Anyone who has ever cared for an older relative, in whatever capacity, will relate to it. Keep the tissues handy. 10/10′ Independent’A meditation on caring and ageing that lifts the spirits without pulling punches’ Ian Rankin ‘A beautiful, emotional and timely read’ Matt Haig’Luminous with love’ Nicci Gerrard

Additional information

Weight 0.33 kg
Dimensions 20.4 × 13.8 × 2.3 cm










362.0425092 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K