Shelter Us: A Novel

Shelter Us: A Novel

4.8 4
by Laura Nicole Diamond

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Gorgeously written and deeply felt, this heartrending, ultimately hopeful narrative about motherhood, loss, and the meaning of life becomes a true page-turner.

Lawyer turned stay-at-home-mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to be present for her two young sons and law professor husband, three years after the death of their infant daughter. Then one day, walking in L.A.,


Gorgeously written and deeply felt, this heartrending, ultimately hopeful narrative about motherhood, loss, and the meaning of life becomes a true page-turner.

Lawyer turned stay-at-home-mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to be present for her two young sons and law professor husband, three years after the death of their infant daughter. Then one day, walking in L.A., Sarah’s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless mother and toddler, and saving them becomes her secret, obsessive mission. When tragedy threatens them, Sarah discovers she is capable of deceptions and transgressions she never imagined. Her lies unleash a downward spiral that will threaten her marriage, family, and her sanity.

Shelter Us speaks to the quiet joys and anxieties of parenthood, and illuminates the shadowy space between unconditional love and fear of unbearable loss.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A sensitively told exploration of layers of loss, isolation, motherhood, and marriage. Diamond knows there are no easy answers and her portrait of Sarah is drawn by a skillful, compassionate hand.”

—Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and An Invisible Sign of My Own

Shelter Us is beautiful novel that strikes every emotional chord—hope and fear, love and loss, betrayal and forgiveness. Laura Nicole Diamond is a talent. Her moving story will resonate with anyone who has ever walked past a homeless person and wondered, Could I make a difference? With flawed characters who come alive on the page, Diamond captures her readers with honesty and heart.”

—Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List

“A watercolor portrait of a family at a crossroads, Shelter Us is a deftly rendered narrative of the everyday joys and devastating heartbreaks of parenthood, love, and loyalty. Laura Nicole Diamond's is a new voice that rings with an old truth: the only way to survive life is through the grace and kindness of the living.”

—Gina B. Nahai, author of The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.

Shelter Us is about characters in search of refuge both literal and metaphorical, seeking comfort, safety, and a sense of belonging. In spare, unsentimental prose, Laura Nicole Diamond explores how grief can divide people, how the bonds of marriage can twist and fray under pressure, and how consolation can be found in the unlikeliest places. I couldn’t put this lovely book down.”

—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“Recommended for book groups interested in discussing issues relating to women, the loss of a child, and family relationships.”

Library Journal

Product Details

She Writes Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Laura Nicole Diamond is a writer and civil rights lawyer, and the editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. She writes on her website,

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Shelter Us 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
his is not an easy book to read.   It covers the tough subject of loss of a child, a baby.   Sarah Shaw and her husband are both grieving for their loss while trying to keep it together for their two young sons.    I knew picking it up that it would be a book that would tug at my heart.  It definitely did that.    Laura Nicole Diamond took a tough subject and handled it with a lot of care and respect.    It was brought to my attention that although one may seem fine, especially after a traumatic event, things may not be as they appear.   Sarah and her husband are both strong characters.    They show how they each dealt with their grief, yet they didn’t know how to deal with each other’s grief.   It showed how a relationship can be easily broke apart and also how it can be brought back together and healed.    The love between these two is evident from the beginning.   Although, I hate to see a couple struggle I feel like this struggle actually worked in their favor and brought them closer together.   Shelter Us is not a typical beach read, yet I definitely recommend it as a summer read.    Do not wait to get your copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is the best book ever
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond is the poignant and moving story of Sarah Shaw’s reaction and struggles in the heart-breaking aftermath of the death of her six-week-old daughter Ela. She had already, as a teenager, lost her mother and still blames her father for that. Sarah (from whose point of view the story is told) and her husband, Robert, are both qualified to work in law. While Sarah gives up her attorney career to care for their two little boys, Robert works long hours which distract him somewhat from some of the trauma of the couple’s shared grief. Sarah finds a curious and healing solace in befriending a young homeless mother called Josie and her toddler son Tyler. Against Robert’s advice, Sarah gets caught up in helping Josie and her family, and in the process revisits her past with a potentially damaging consequence for her marriage. However, Robert has a secret of his own which has been adding to the couple’s stress. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Shelter Us. Laura Nicole Diamond is a talented and brilliant author and this story contains such emotional depth. Her style and use of language, character and plot development is high standard. I especially love the way the main characters interact with each other – very realistic, very believable and the author has the reader connecting and empathizing with them as they grow and change. In addition, the depiction of the way Sarah and Robert relate to their two young boys is delightful and true to life. The story’s message is one of hope as well as an exploration of the heartache of such deep loss, and the gradual discovery and healing that enables people to find a strength and willingness to live again.
AnnieMcDonnell More than 1 year ago
Touchingly Brilliant!! I absolutely devoured this book!! You know that means it is amazing! No review I could write would do this story justice. Few stories touch me in this way. So, I will do the best I can…. Laura Nicole Diamond writes a truly evocative story. Her words are so brilliantly weaved together, making this a gift for me to read. I was enamored by each sentence. Some people are meant to write, and Laura Nicole Diamond is definitely one of those writers. “Shelter Us” is a story that will stay with you. There are some things you will never look at the same, and things you will think about that may have once seemed “invisible”. I felt such empathy for Sarah, because her daughter, Ella had passed away after only being alive for a mere six weeks. Ella was found in her crib asphyxiated by her sheet, and Sarah believes she is to blame and cannot forgive herself. Ella has been dead for three years, and the grief is still so strong that it is literally taking all of the joy out of Sarah’s life. Sarah feels that her husband, Robert is getting along just fine. He goes to work, takes care of the family, and he is an amazing father to their sons Oliver and Izzy. Sarah is barely getting by and cannot fathom how Robert is managing so well. I respected how both Sarah and Robert would both drop everything for their children. Even if they were in the middle of a crisis, the boys came first. They made sure that they did not need for anything. Maybe they were trying to make peace with losing Ella, by being “perfectly present parents” to Oliver and Izzy. They had a lot of making up to do. Sarah is barely getting through each day and beyond distraught about so many things. Her marriage is crumbling without either noticing. An odd silence is building between them and it is certainly waning on their marriage. Their relationship seems to be running on autopilot, and a lot of things go awry. Secrets are kept, feelings are not discussed, and they are both dissolving. She just tries to push through each step of her day, finally to go to bed thinking that “We have made it through another day”. I must admit that I was exhausted just reading about how difficult simple everyday tasks were for her, I often felt like she was trying to get out of quicksand. You know a story is good when you want to jump in and help save a character, or become their friend. I felt awful when Sarah was able to get some time to herself and her first thought is, “I’ll finally get a break from holding my pieces together”. She needed something. Unsure of what that something was. Then, one day she is driving downtown when she passes by a young woman named Josie with a child in a stroller, apparently homeless. Sarah pulled over to give her Oliver’s lunch box filled with his meal for school. Sarah was so drawn to help this girl and her child. Will saving this homeless girl somehow fix the hole in her heart? Or, would this whole thing be a bad idea? Who would be saving who, if she did help? Who is the person that needs shelter? Is it anyone in particular, or everyone? Anyone that reads my reviews knows that I do not like to give the story away…so, I will stop here, so that you can truly enjoy each turn of the page of this wonderfully crafted story.