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Love as Always, Mum xxx

Narrated by: Julia Barrie
Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (384 ratings)

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Summary

The true story of an abused childhood, of shocking brutality and life as the daughter of notorious serial killer and master manipulator Rose West.  

You're 21 years old. Police arrive on the doorstep of your house, 25 Cromwell Street, with a warrant to search the garden for the remains of your older sister you didn't know was dead. Bones are found, and they are from more than one body. And so the nightmare begins. You are the daughter of Fred and Rose West.  

'Mae, I mean this.... I'm not a good person, and I let all you children down....' (Rose West, HM Prison Durham)

It has taken over 20 years for Mae West to find the perspective and strength to tell her remarkable story: one of an abusive, violent childhood, of her serial killer parents and how she has rebuilt her life in the shadow of their terrible crimes.  

Through her own memories, research and the letters her mother wrote to her from prison, Mae shares her emotionally powerful account of her life as a West. From a toddler locked in the deathly basement to a teen fighting off the sexual advances of her father, Mae's story is one of survival. It also answers the questions: how do you come to terms with knowing your childhood bedroom was a graveyard? How do you accept the fact your parents sexually tortured, murdered and dismembered young women? How do you become a mother yourself when you're haunted by the knowledge that your own mother was a monster? Why were you spared, and how do you escape the nightmare? 

Read by Julia Barrie.

©2018 Neil McKay (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

What members say

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Heartbreaking but beautifully read

Remarkable book, had to pause a few times to collect my thoughts, heartbreaking but beautiful, thoughts go out to you and your siblings mae xxx

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book

Best book I’ve listened to in a long, long time. As a fan of true crime I am always fascinated by what happens to the families of the criminals and victims and this has gone a long way to explain what goes on behind the scenes. I’m so proud of Mae for becoming a good mother and breaking the cycle of abuse, she told her story so well it left me shocked and with tears in my eyes.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Wow!

What a hard, hard listen that was. Not for the writing or the narrating which were excellent but because of the details of some of the events that took place. Listening to what Mae and her siblings had to go through as children was so hard that I almost had to just stop. But by the end of the book you see that Mae rightly has a lot of positivity and confidence in her future.

Mae is reluctant to see herself as a victim of Fred & Rose West but that's precisely what she was. Just because she wasn't murdered, hacked to pieces and buried in the garden doesn't mean she was any less of a victim. It's obvious that the children only served to satisfy their parent's own selfish and depraved desires which makes the title 'Love as always' all the more ironic, intentionally or not I'm not sure.

What also strikes me is at no time do you get the impression that Mae is trying to make herself or anyone else look like any thing more or less than what they really are. She's brutally honest about her parents and how unimaginably despicable they were while at the same time explaining how it was so hard to come to terms with what they'd done because she of course saw other sides to them such as their sense of humour, her mum's doting affection towards the babies and most incredibly her dad's tendancy to warn Rose off when she was getting heavy handed with the children.

Despite what you say Mae, you are brave!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Compelling listern.

It was compelling listern. I felt for Mae and her siblings. Glad she found peace&love.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Such a Very Brave Lady

As I listened to Love as Always, Mum xxx I had so many different emotions that I had to stop the book at times to assess how I was feeling about the details being told to me. The terrible details of Mae West and her sibling's lives while living at 25 Cromwell Street are scary, upsetting and at times beyond belief. I had real difficulty dealing with how Mae described the 'happy and normal times' she sometimes had as a child. I will keep how I feel about Rose West to myself, as I am sure Mae and her siblings have heard it all too many times already. There were times during her heart wrenching story when I wanted to give Mae a big hug. We cannot change what has happened, but I am so glad that Mae and her siblings are now moving on and having the happy times that they all deserve. My best wishes go out to Mae, and I hope that she and her family will have many joy full times in the future. Thank you for your bravery in writing this book. Regards...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A different view of these infamous crimes

I often wonder how the families of murderers lives their lives with the knowledge of what their loved one has done. I spotted this book as it was serialized in the Daily Mail but I didn't know whether the subject matter would be too dark. The narrator really brings the book too life. It's was a very thoughtful book. And I wish the surviving West children and the families of the victims well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gripping

excellent account of a daughters struggle against the worst of childhoods. A sad but true story. But what an amazing woman Mia was

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An honest insight

Having read the books and seen the discovery on tv I was interested in the child side. Mae has done very well to give her side and shows that some good has been eventual from these horrific acts out upon these children. An excellent listen.

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Heartbreaking and Courageous

In no way is this an easy listen but it is a courageous, humane and inspiring account from Mae West about living with the childhood trauma and legacy of her infamous parents and the continuing complexities of her relationships with her family.

The narration is engaging inspite of the difficult content and, as a Gloucester girl myself, I appreciated the accents.

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Very involving story

Very involving and insightful story, nicely written. It is good to know that May defined her predetermimed future and was a good mum to her children.

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  • Katie A
  • 18-10-18

Different point of view

This book was written by the oldest surviving daughter of Fred and Rosemary West, notorious serial killers from Gloucester, England. She offers a complex and challenging perspective on life with her parents, the abuse she suffered, and the crimes which Fred and Rose committed. Mae is very frank throughout the book about what was happening and what her feelings were and still are. She never makes excuses for either parent. She discusses in detail why she believed, for years, that her mother was innocent and why and how she came to realize Rose's parts in the grusom torture and murders on Cromwell Street. An excellent read for lovers of true crime or those interested in knowing more about Fred and Rose. The narrator was great and really captured Mae's voice.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-10-18

Amazing

The narrator was perfect. It was fascinating to hear the daughter's perspective. I will probably listen to this again.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura A
  • 17-10-18

INTENSE

Great audiobook. Very startling during the first half, but then you get more into Mae’s personal struggles and experiences post the horrific findings. It is very explicit, and makes you very uncomfortable but at the same time you feel like you need to hear the reality of the outside world. Outside of your bubble. Wish Mae and her family the best today and always. Thanks for sharing your story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Emily Perkins
  • 10-10-18

Graphic, but great

VERY detailed and graphic depiction of events which made it a difficult listen.
However, the story was told very well and thoroughly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Audrey J T
  • 05-10-18

Whoa.

It's pretty horrible to admit that one of the first things I thought before reading this book was what kind of people could these children have possibly become, being products of both the nature and nurture of Fred and Rose West? Mae West answered that question for me with such self-awareness and grace, a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability of very victimized people to embody tremendous beauty. Mae's account makes no excuses whatsoever for the actions of her parents, and she dives into the grittiest material, bravely facing all of it: the trajectory of her parents' lives and their truly appalling actions, her own relationship with her parents, her siblings, her daughter, herself. West is remarkably reflective. If you like true crime stories, you will enjoy this, but the book embodies much more than your typical crime ctory ever could. I read a lot of books and don't remember most of them, but I think I will always remember this book, and that is really saying something. Just...WHOA.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Staber
  • 20-11-18

Top 5 books

This book was an amazing read from start to finish. I didn’t want to put down.
Although the subject was hard to hear the ending was so uplifting!
Highly recommend!!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sherri Smith
  • 16-08-19

Excellent !!!!

This was a heart breaking and heart swelling story all in one. Mae is such a strong woman. She told her story in such a classy way. I wish her all the best that life has to offer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sunshine
  • 21-05-19

This book was an eye opener .

This book, was one of those that I wouldn't put down. I had to find out what happened next and next and next. It talked about the world of a child thats has abusive parents, yet she still manages to love them, is complicated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful