Extract from a conversation between Samantha Page and Karina M. Szczurek, author of The Fifth Mrs Brink.

Q: In The Fifth Mrs Brink you take readers on an expedition into the ‘foreign country of grief’. Had you set out to write a memoir of your and André’s great love story and then, when tragedy struck, it morphed into an investigation into the emotions of your first year of widowhood?

A: After André and I were married, I teased him that one day I would write a memoir with this title. We often spoke and laughed about it, but I never actually considered writing the book while he was alive. When he died, I wanted to honour him and our relationship in words. 

Q: Do you feel as though in some sense you still have a relationship with André? 

A: André and the 10 years we had together will always be part of who I am – a defining, precious part I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

Q: What are you hoping readers will take home from this book?

A: The memoir is a record of love and loss. If it can make someone else feel less alone in the world, I will have achieved everything I strive for as a woman and as a writer.

See page 15 of The Reader for the complete interview.