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One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

Winner of the Diverse Book Award 2023

Published by Oneworld Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

*Winner of the Diverse Book Award 2023*

'I loved this book so much! Intense and beautiful and heartbreaking.' Buki Papillon, author of An Ordinary Wonder

It's hard to plan your future when the ghosts of the past won't leave you alone...

Stella tries very hard to be good. She tries not to be sassy, to answer back, to be noticed. Because when Stella’s father is angry, it’s like lightning and thunder and hailstones.

Years later, Stella has left her troubled childhood behind and appears to have it all: a degree, a demanding job as a barrister and a group of friends who always have her back. But underneath the surface, she is haunted by her past. It will take all her grace, courage and love to heal her wounds and break free.

Set against a backdrop of London and Ghana, Marie-Claire Amuah's remarkable debut is an unforgettable exploration of intergenerational trauma. Brimming with compassion, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy offers both a sensitive portrayal of the ripple effects of domestic violence, and a defiant story of friendship, resilience and hope.

About The Author

Marie-Claire Amuah is a British Ghanaian barrister specialising in white-collar crime. She studied English and French at the University of Nottingham before embarking on a legal career. She is also a trustee of Black Cultural Archives, a national heritage charity dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. She received the John C Laurence award from the Society of Authors to support the writing of her debut novel, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy (Oneworld 2022). She was born, raised and currently lives in South London.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (August 18, 2022)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861542338

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Raves and Reviews

'A triumphant ode to resilience, friendship and love. Marie-Claire's writing sparkles, reminiscent of Adichie's Purple Hibiscus.'

– Bisi Adjapon, author of The Teller of Secrets

'A vivid, deeply felt exploration of intergenerational trauma... Stella is an utterly unique heroine who you'll find yourself rooting for from page one.'

– Angela Chadwick, author of XX

'A bittersweet rites-of-passage novel… [Amuah's] interrogation of trauma is powerful… A heartfelt debut.'

– Observer

'In One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, Marie-Claire Amuah accomplishes an extraordinary rendering of the horror of domestic violence from the perspective of a nine-year-old child. Amuah's haunting story of the tragedy of violence is authentic, poignant and alive. This is an accomplished debut and I look forward to reading more from Marie-Claire.'

– Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

'Wow! One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is an evocative and gorgeously narrated story that broke my heart and stitched it back together again even stronger by the end. I laughed and cried and hurt and healed in the course of reading Stella's deeply-felt story. I loved this book so much. Intense and beautiful and heartbreaking!'

– Buki Papillon, author of An Ordinary Wonder

'Brilliant. I loved it! One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is a rollercoaster of emotions throughout. I loved how the writing grew as Stella did. From the jump I felt invested and protective of Stella and all the Stellas out there! I got lost in it and couldn't put it down. Here’s to resilience and friendship!'

– Jamz Supernova, BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ

'A dazzling debut...brimming with compassion.'

– Damian Barr's Literary Salon, Book of the Week

'A beautiful, brave and deeply moving debut that explores the complexities of intergenerational trauma, belonging and love through a tender yet powerful voice. In One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, Amuah has crafted an important and sweeping story with skill and compassion. Stella, as well as her friends and family, will stay with me for a long time.'

– Sussie Anie, author of To Fill a Yellow House

'This is a beautifully written account of domestic violence and intergenerational trauma, and the resilience and hope that can break its power.'

– Debut Digest, Editor's Pick

'There are so many words to describe this beautiful book, and on reflection, one of them is 'generous'. It's such a generous, sometimes painful portrayal of a beautiful soul. I really enjoyed it and Stella is definitely still with me.'

– Jeffrey Boakye, author of I Heard What You Said

‘Stella is caught between an abusive home life and a cold-hearted world. The story chronicles her struggle, growth, and fight for survival.’

– Brittle Paper, '100 Notable African Books of 2022'

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