In 2017, Sophie Pierce’s world changed forever when her twenty-year-old son Felix died suddenly and unexpectedly. Thrown into this new reality, she had to find a way to keep on living. By writing a series of letters to Felix – composed during walks and swims taken close to his burial place by the river Dart – Sophie gradually learned how to dwell in the landscape of sudden loss, navigating the weather and tides of grief.
The Green Hill collects these letters alongside Sophie’s account of the years following Felix’s death, into which she weaves poignant memories of his life. What results is a deeply moving, beautifully captured record of how – amid the plants and rivers of Dartmoor, and in the sea off the South Devon coast – Sophie was able to hold on to and nurture her bond with Felix, both in her mind and through a physical engagement with the landscape: actively mourning, rather than grieving. The book is a celebration of the natural world and the role it plays in our lives and relationships, as well as examining how beauty, a sense of place and the passing seasons can help us contend with our own mortality. Above all, though, The Green Hill is one woman’s story of navigating through trauma and loss, and towards a fragile, complicated kind of joy.