“You died. It’s a hard fact, as hard as ice, as hard as granite, as hard as cold, raw, unforgiving winter.”
In 2017, Sophie Pierce’s life changed forever when her 20-year-old son Felix died suddenly and unexpectedly. Thrown into a new world of loss, she had to find a way to keep on living. Her book, The Green Hill: Letters to a Son, was published in March 2023.
In a series of letters to Felix – composed during walks and swims taken close to his grave on The Green Hill in Devon– Sophie learns how to live in the landscape of sudden loss, navigating the weather and tides of grief.
The book celebrates the natural landscape and the role it plays in our lives and relationships, as well as looking at how we consider our own mortality. The Green Hill, Felix’s burial place by the River Dart, comes to symbolise the issues that become important in the journey of grief: nature, beauty, a sense of place, the passing of the seasons, the earth and the fact that ultimately all we are is dust.
Sophie Pierce takes us to a place that none of us wants to visit. But there we discover extraordinary riches – riches that will transform us. This is a book about what it means to be a human, and that, we find, is a high, deep, demanding calling, of terrible beauty. Charles Foster, New York Times Bestselling author of Being a Beast.
“ The Green Hill is an extraordinary book…I thought of the fairy tale in which a captured princess must weave clothes from stinging nettles: Sophie Pierce has wrought something beautiful and useful from the darkest pain.” Cressida Connolly, novelist and critic
“Her writing is illuminated by a remarkable attention to the beauty and consolation of the natural world” – Sarah Perry, author (The Essex Serpent, Melmoth)
“Unforgettable, necessary…full of love and learning” Tanya Shadrick, author (The Cure for Sleep)
The book is available in stores and online.
UK customers: you can buy here
US customers: you can buy here
John Henderson from BBC Spotlight did a report about the book which was broadcast in April 2023.
Claire Manning of ITV West Country did a report about the book which was broadcast in April 2021.