Leila Summers
Author • Coach • Creative
book cover It Rains In February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss is a touchingly written memoir in the form of a posthumous letter to Ms. Summer's deceased husband. The prose is stunning and lush, rich with detail. As a reader, I could smell the flowers, the coffee, the cigarettes, the sea, and the death. The characters are richly drawn and undeniably real. I consider myself a fan of the memoir, and every word of this one rings true on the deepest emotional level. It is a work of unquestionable courage and vulnerability. One cannot help but be moved by the immense sacrifice this woman is willing to make for this man, her family, and the meaning of life, death and love. Ms. Summers also shows a biting grasp of the language. E-mails passed between the characters provide the reader with a wildly intimate look at a couple struggling with every duality imaginable: love and loss, joy and madness, friendship and intimacy and, ultimately, life and death. It will leave you questioning the meaning we attach to all of it. It Rains In February reads as a wrenching yet uplifting, brutal and gentle, hopeless and life-affirming story. If you're like me, you'll want to start it again as soon as you finish the first read. ~ John Duffy, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and author

Summers's memoir is a complex contemporary tragedy written by a mature, talented writer. Summers speaks directly to her husband, Stuart, who chose to end his own life, in this painfully honest eulogy. The intimate style, combined with second-person narration, gives the story a page-turning tension. Summers must first accept that her emotional, smart, artistic husband has fallen deeply in love with another woman. The small family that includes two young daughters is fractured when Stuart moves out of their Victorian home in the suburbs of a South African city, and the rupture deepens when Stuart moves further away from his family and his reluctant lover to be near his sister, Ruth, in Cape Town. Summers works from a distance to keep her long-suicidal husband alive, while Ruth makes similar efforts from nearby. Ultimately, the love of his wife, sister, and children are not enough to keep him alive. Summers's skilled prose ("Bleakness permeates the moist air and seeps into my pores") makes this traumatic book bearable to read. This memoir is a cathartic exercise for the author and could well serve in the same capacity for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. ~ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

One million people die from suicide every year worldwide according to the World Health Organisation. That's three thousand deaths a day or roughly one death every forty seconds. My forty seconds came on the 24th of February 2007 when my husband, Stuart, drowned himself at sea, leaving me widowed with two young daughters aged six and four. My book began as an account for them. I knew it wasn't an accident, even though the medics and police never suspected suicide. Stuart had been talking about ending his life for a year. His most recent suicide attempt had been only three weeks earlier. Afterwards, he explained that day as the most peaceful day of his life. Sitting next to the dam, he smoked his last cigarette. He drank a hundred sleeping pills and did a final check to make sure everything would look like an accident. The last thing he remembered was swimming out into the crystal clear water. He said that he was no longer scared of dying, that there was nothing scary about it. Living was the scary thing.

It Rains In February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss is available from Amazon.com.