The Lost Child: A Mother's Story (Hardcover)

A Mother's Story

By Julie Myerson

Bloomsbury USA, 9781596917002, 336pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

October 2009 Indie Next List

“Julie Myerson blends the story of her child's drug addiction with her investigation into the life of a young woman who died almost 200 years ago. This portrait of the love between a caring mother and the injured child she can't protect is indescribably beautiful and satisfying.”
— Valerie Stadick, Main Street Books, Minot, ND
View the List


For readers of "Beautiful Boy" and "Hurry Down Sunshine," a deeply personal and moving account of two lost children separated by two centuries.

While researching her next book, Julie Myerson finds herself in a graveyard, looking for traces of a young woman who died nearly two centuries before. As a child in Regency England, Mary Yelloly painted an exquisite album of watercolors that uniquely reflected the world in which she lived. But Mary died at the age of twenty-one, and when Julie comes across this album, she is haunted by the potential never realized. She is also reminded of her own child.

Only days earlier, Julie and her husband locked their eldest son out of the family home. He is just seventeen. After a happy childhood, he had discovered drugs, and it had taken only a matter of months for the boy to completely lose his way and propel his family into daily chaos. Julie whose emotionally fragile relationship with her own father had left her determined to love her children better had to accept that she was powerless to bring him back.

Honest, warm, and profoundly moving, this is the parallel story of a girl and a boy separated by centuries. The circumstances are very different, but the questions remain terrifyingly the same. What happens when a child disappears from a family? What will survive of any of us in memory or in history? And how is a mother to cope when love is not enough?

About the Author

Julie Myerson is the author of seven novels, including Something Might Happen, and two works of nonfiction, including Home. She lives in London and Suffolk with her husband and teenage children.

Praise For The Lost Child: A Mother's Story

The Lost Child is a cry for help and a plea for a clear acknowledgment of the toll this drug is taking on our children...  [It] will appeal to readers of David Sheff’s “Beautiful Boy”… These are books for all parents, no matter what shape they think their children are in.  Indeed, these books are for anyone interested in public policy relating to drugs.  Why would we choose not to see what’s happening all around us?  Books like these signal the beginning of awareness.  And the beginning of hope that we can do right by our children.” —New York Times Book Review

"While investigating the life of a Regency-era child artist, British novelist Myerson endures her own son’s drug addiction... Though her heart breaks, she resolves to maintain her tough-love stance toward a beloved child, about whom she writes with motherly tenderness." —Kirkus

Praise from the UK

“Lures the reader into its intimate, dark heart … Every parent goes through small losses at each stage of a child’s development, and yearns for what has gone. What Myerson evokes exquisitely is the built-in poignancy—which in her case is heightened by the rupture in her previously smooth relationship with this beloved oldest child.”—Financial Times

“Anyone who reads it will struggle not to be profoundly moved.”—Independent

“It is impossible not to empathize with the Myersons’ parental plight … [The Lost Child] is an aching, empty-nest memoir: a mother mourning for her uncomplicated little children, now grown, whom she could care for, write about without comeback, love—and  control.”—Times

“On the page, Julie spells out her pain in prose that’s so pure, so literal and so terribly engrossing it makes you weep.”—Daily Mirror

“If losing [her son] felt like bereavement, writing about him was keeping him under her roof … [Myerson’s] writing is never less than compelling with its lopped lyricism, like someone who has to keep catching their breath … She has tried to write honestly about a nightmarish situation and a subject that never seems to get the attention it deserves.”Observer

“It’s a mark of almost superhuman doggedness that she managed to get some of this down on paper at all … Painfully honest.”—Evening Standard

The Lost Child is devastating in its candor … A serious, writerly, self-critical account of what it means to feel that, despite love and hope and good intentions, you have failed as a parent, and that the child you bore (while still eerily, painfully familiar) is lost to you.”—Daily Telegraph