On Tuesday, 8 February, we learned that our friend and fellow Smart Bitch Catherine Heloise, lover of Eurovision and gleeful reader and reviewer of romance, died suddenly of a heart attack.
We here at SBTB HQ are just heartbroken, and sending so much love and comfort from all over the world to her family and friends in and around Australia.
It’s hard to summarize or put into words how much of a light Catherine was. She would write for thousands of words about every detail of a book she loved, or try to work out the nuance of what she didn’t. I could always hear her voice in what she wrote. Editing her work was always fun, though she and I clashed regularly with great sarcastic humor in the editorial comments when I tried to limit her number of em-dashes and ellipses.
Catherine was so colorful, in every way. Her posts in our internal Slack were full of pictures of wildly vibrant crochet, and outlandish cakes she made for her friends and her family. In the picture above, she’s wearing a scarf she crocheted herself. You may have noticed it matches her hair.
Catherine was one of those people who connected individuals who needed to know each other, and was a next-level social organizer. She hosted virtual Shakespeare performances on Zoom with actors (in costume!) from several countries participating. She would organize virtual happy hours for us, and I’m sad to know I missed the last one on New Year’s Eve because I was traveling.
My favorite posts of hers were the Eurovision recaps, partly because of the nonstop attempts to find videos that would play inside and outside the US. She’d have a complete technicolor buffet of performance clips, and I’d get “Video is not available for you” when I clicked them – which I figure was only fair since the other half the time Australia is blocked from our sales and media links. But after many, many trials and geographic restrictions, we’d usually find at least one link to a retina-exploding stage show, and as a result, my workout playlist is much embiggened with gleeful Eurovision songs.
We have a few pieces of content to which she contributed coming up in the next few days, and I will miss hearing her voice in our community. I am so, so sad beyond words to say goodbye to her.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Claudia: One of the many great things Catherine did for us here at SBTB HQ was organizing our virtual get-togethers. We are spread out pretty far and wide, but Catherine made a point of every so often organizing those chats and I appreciated them so much. It was all her — coordinating the different time zones, getting that zoom link out there, reminding us. Just a very small example of how generous she was.
I also recall how I once complimented (and meant to just admire them) her crochet cat coasters and she sheepishly said she was busy at the moment but could I wait until she had a bit more time and she would do one for me? Pure Catherine.
She and I also had baking and love of historical romance in common: I knew that a book she liked was a book I was bound to enjoy. I kept dreaming that one day maybe she’d come visit me and we’d find out all the plants in my area that are native to Australia! It pains me that now she never will. She would send us photos of all the interesting plants and flowers she’d see on her walks and bike rides. It was one of the many ways she shared the beauty in the world.
In my last convo with her she offered to pray for one of my family members (her faith was very important to her), and talked about her love of (and expertise in) singing. I can’t believe that I won’t get to tell her that her prayers worked. It still feels very strange to say goodbye, and I will miss her, her generosity, her vibrancy, her good wishes.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Elyse: There are people you meet who bring a light into your life that wasn’t there before and Catherine was one of those people. The joy she felt for the things she loved was infectious–cycling, singing, reading, baking, Eurovision. Her cakes were magical and I was always in awe of the photos she posted, especially her Ken cakes.
I am a better person for knowing Catherine. She was endlessly kind, even during a time where empathy and kindness felt like too much emotional currency to spend. I was having a rough time when we first met and she sent me a care package of Australian goodies unprompted, leading to my love of Tim Tams.
Catherine was vibrant and funny and intelligent, and to lose her feels especially painful. She took up room in every space she occupied in the best way, filling it with her enthusiasm and joy, while never pushing anyone aside. I hope that her family and friends can find some peace in knowing how deeply she was cared about all over the world.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Maya: Without Catherine I would have never known about the terrifying drop bear menace that plagues Australia, a random aside that is emblematic of the best things that come from an amazing internet friend—we got to have conversations that are silly and profound and cathartic and necessary. Those conversations were always ongoing and they never felt like they would end.
Catherine and I weren’t done talking and that’s the part that is hardest to grapple with. Like everyone has said, Catherine was wonderful and her love language was Eurovision and cakes covered in candy. It hurts to know that such an essential part of SBTB won’t be popping back up in our Slack to spread her joy one weird story about Australia at a time.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
AJ: Catherine was one of those people who just lights up a room, or a Zoom. I was nervous to join my first SBTB happy hour but when I got in, she was chatting about crochet and murder mystery plots and I thought “Oh okay, my people are here.”
She used to worry that she was talking too much, but she never was. She could make any topic fun — everything I know about Australian politics, I learned from Catherine, and I loved every minute of it. I’m so very grateful now that I got to hear her talk as much as I did, I wouldn’t trade one word.
There’s a lot I wish I could show her — the delights of Ravelry, the drawing I made of a gum tree she photographed.
She leaves a big space in all of our lives. But it’s a space filled with love, and sparkles, and over the top performances, and I know she would want that. We were lucky to have her as long as we did. May her memory be gold lame, Eurovision, and cake.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Tara: I still can’t believe that the world has lost such a bright light, someone full of so much love, curiosity, and enthusiasm. I lived for it every time Catherine showed us a new multi-coloured hair style, shared a beyond-impressive baking feat for one of the littles in her life, or delivered an incisive take on government fuckery.
Speaking of which, Catherine was actually the person who alerted me when my local government became a global laughingstock because of a Very Bad Announcement. Of course, her message started with “Hey, I hope you are doing OK,” because that was the important thing to her — checking in on me, because things were obviously bad if the news had traveled more than 13,000 kms from my home to hers. It was the kind of gesture that closed the distance gap in an instant.
The other moment that specifically stands out for me is when Catherine asked me to look at a review she’d written for a book with a nonbinary character. She so wanted to get it right, because she believed in the importance of the representation, and almost stepped back from reviewing it entirely because of being cisgender. I was grateful to see firsthand how fully her love showed up in her allyship.
I kind of can’t believe she’ll never pop up in our Slack or Zoom meetups again. Catherine was a real one and I’ll never forget her.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Aarya: I’m at a loss on what to write. I could say how kind and generous and lovely she was… but they’re just hollow words. How can anything I write possibly convey how much light and warmth she brought to every interaction? The mere notification of her online avatar sparked joy whenever I doomscrolled on social media. I feel like crying when I consider the possibility of never seeing that small circular avatar again – amusingly, a picture of Catherine’s face photoshopped onto a medieval nun painting.
Catherine was the type of person who made Facebook bearable. The rest of my feed would be gloom and political headaches, but her posts were witty, contemplative, and soothing. Catherine shared everything: her crochet patterns, her anger at the Australian government, funny anecdotes about her friends, etc. I learned to see the world through her eyes, compassionate and determined to hold powerful entities accountable. She was nearly 10,000 miles away, but I saw her every day when I refreshed my social media feed. Distance was no barrier for our mutual admiration and companionship.
My final conversation with Catherine concerned the intersection of our interests: tennis and the political cowardice of the Australian government during the 2022 Australian Open. We DMed for ages; she taught me so much about the migrant detention struggles in Melbourne and the Australian government’s inhumane border policy. I was initially focused on the tennis angle of the story, but she opened my eyes to the bigger (and more important) issue at hand. This was Catherine in a nutshell: social justice was always at the forefront of her mind.
As a reviewer, Catherine had no equals. She was aware of her shortcomings, and took explicit steps to make sure she wasn’t insensitive or ignorant about a certain topic. On more than one occasion, she requested that I beta-read (for lack of a better word) a review because she felt I was more knowledgeable about the main character’s background. When I gave feedback on how to reword criticism, she never got defensive and usually agreed with my correction once I explained the justification. On the rare occasions where she disagreed with my opinion (I am hardly infallible!), the ensuing dialogue led to a better and smarter review. These times where I beta-read were supposed to help Catherine, but the reality is that they made me a better reviewer, too.
Online friendship is a peculiar phenomenon. I’ve never met Catherine. I don’t know anything about her childhood or her family. I barely know what she looked or sounded like. Yet the friendship is real. Anyone who argues otherwise is wrong. This grief is a strange thing – I can’t go to her funeral or talk to the people who knew her best. I hope that I will feel a little less lonely by sharing this remembrance of Catherine with all of you.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Shana: I will miss Catherine. We honestly could not have been more different, but she always made me feel welcome and cared for. When I needed her wide-ranging expertise (Nuns! Inspirational romance! Australian reality tv!), she would drop everything to chat at some ridiculous hour because of the time difference.
Catherine was one of those people who was inherently generous and caring. She shared so much of her baking knowledge with us and her enthusiasm for baking for people with dietary limitations made me feel less apprehensive about cooking for my gluten-free partner. I will think of her every time I make one of her recipes.
As a reviewer, Catherine was meticulous and thoughtful, pointed, but always kind. We had divergent taste in books, and she had this way of helping me appreciate elements of a story that I’d missed on my first reading. Her reviews were masterful, and reading them made me a better reviewer. In our last conversation, we were working on a joint review for a book that I’d loved, and she’d disliked. She insisted on rereading the book before she’d tell me what she’d hated, because she wanted to make sure she was giving it a fair shot. I can’t believe I’ll never hear her long list of the book’s literary missteps! I loved that Catherine was always confident in her opinions, but never closed-minded. I hope I can carry her legacy of kindness out into the world.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Amanda: I’ve loved reading through everyone’s memories and it’s prompted a sudden wellspring of emotion.
For me, Catherine embodied thoughtfulness. She would jump in to plan end of the year virtual shenanigans or would invite anyone to share their opinions in a review. Sneezy is our resident birthday card wrangler, but funnily, Catherine was the one to handle Sneezy’s own card. She didn’t want anyone left out. She wanted you to feel welcome and free to come to her at any time for anything. I regret not taking advantage of those opportunities when she presented them.
As a reviewer, she was so thorough, but there was something about her squee or A-range reviews that I loved most. There was a warmth that shined from her words and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people saying they picked up a book because of Catherine’s unabashed love for it.
But I can’t finish my thoughts without mentioning Catherine’s love of cooking. She posted this recipe for Ricotta Cake for a post we did on favorite recipes that really worked for us. It’s from Catherine’s own blog. It was light and decadent and so delicious. It immediately went into my mental filing cabinet of favorite things to make. I’ll always remember her support and gusto when I told her I was going to try making it. Her loss is deeply felt, but I’m glad we all have found a way to carry her with us through books, food, and Eurovision.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Kiki: Catherine was the troop leader: working to gather us all together on zoom to see and hear each other, wanting to know us as much as she wanted to share herself. Being in the farthest time zone, she led us boldly into new years more than once.
Catherine felt made of curiosity, joy, and a never-ending willingness to try. To try and make crocheted coasters and creatures, to bake the most whimsical cakes for her niece, to offer up suggestions and help when needed, and to always keep learning and keep speaking up for what was right. She had an energy and vividness that I could feel across continents and I think we are all a little more adrift after the loss of her.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Lara: There is so much about Catherine that I will miss. I’ll miss her Christmas cards, her thoughtful explanation of Australian politics, her love for Shakespeare and singing, her brilliant reviews, stories of her cake deliveries and so much more. The lesson from Catherine that I will try to carry though in honour of her memory is her endless supply of compassion and understanding. No matter what was going on, Catherine’s kindness was front and centre. I will miss her so much.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Carrie: Kiki is so right – Catherine was our troop leader and Team Mom. I just read through some of the messages we sent each other and realized again how delightful they were and how thoughtful all of her comments always were. We often read the same books and had to decide who would review what, and she was always clear, direct, and kind at the same time, which is not an easy thing to achieve in a digital medium. She was non-judgmental and positive and warm and brilliant. I loved seeing what creation she would devise next, whether it be ducky cupcakes for a niece or a crocheted “happy uterus” for a friend undergoing a hysterectomy. She was constantly making things for other people and sharing her voice with her churches and online.
I have very few regrets in life but on the top of the list is that I never accepted the invitation she issued to all of us to visit her in Australia (she promised me that the giant spiders are in a different part of the country and offered me snacks). At least I got to visit her vicariously, as she patiently explained Australian politics (and democracy sausage!) to us.
Catherine was all about connecting with people. She came up with the idea for us to have zoom hangouts so we could see each other’s faces – something that I think made a big difference in the dynamic of our far-flung group of reviewers.
With her arts, her crafts, her writing, and her vibrant personality, Catherine made the world more beautiful. I feel so lucky, so blessed, that she was part of my life, and I’ll miss her in so many ways.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Susan: I don’t know where to start, but Catherine’s always been so bright and colourful and creative – when I think about her, I remember her always-incredible hair colours, and the beautiful things she created. I loved seeing the new things she came up with every week, whether it was cake, or music, or a new way she improv-ed for Shakespeare, or a new craft she was trying – I still remember her sharing her initial foray into crochet with us, where she hadn’t gotten the hang of granny squares, but had absolutely mastered rainbow jellyfish! Catherine was always so kind and excited about new things, even when they weren’t perfect yet, and I really hope I can keep her inspiration in mind on that.
I can’t believe we’re not going to get to enthuse about the next Ursula Vernon book together, or watch the latest SFF fandom drama go by. I’m going to miss her.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Ellen: Catherine was such a warm, wonderful person who contributed so much community building to the Smart Bitches team. She was so generous and welcoming and I always felt so invited into her life and world, which is such a rare and beautiful thing. She was truly a person of many unparalleled talents. I loved seeing her craft and cooking projects, reading her reviews, and hearing and reading her jokes and commentary about Australian and world politics and events. I can’t believe she’s gone and in a lot of ways I just feel at a loss for what to say, but I’m so touched reading everyone’s memories and seeing how her bright spirit was known by all of us. Also, she recommended many books which now number among my absolute favorites. As all of us book lovers know, that is one of the most impactful and soul-restoring things someone can do for us. As Susan said, I just feel blessed to have known her.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Sneezy: From the moment I ‘met’ Catherine on Smart Bitches, I completely adored how clear her words are, her vivaciousness, and her passion for so many different things. Catherine’s someone who MADE. THINGS. HAPPEN, and would speak up and advocate for what she felt is right wherever and whenever she could. I don’t know where she finds the energy to do half of what she did. It’s a running joke between us that I would nag at her to rest, and Catherine would tell me she gets bored then bait me well over the hills.
But her secret for being amazing at pretty much everything she tries her hand at wasn’t a Herculean nuclear core of energy. (Catherine frequently needed to fall over after whizzling around.) It’s being willing to put herself out there and being okay with making mistakes.
She said this to me one time:
“It’s much harder to be so accepting of my own manifold imperfections, but one of the things I do try to do is just… keep putting things out there, even knowing they aren’t perfect, because they are better than nothing. (I also have a strong philosophical belief that amateur art is important – everyone ought to have the opportunity to be creative, and I think one downside of the online world is that we now have so much perfect, professional art at our fingertips that we feel intimidated by it – you know, if I can’t sing like Patricia Petibon, is there any real point in singing?
But creating things is good in and of itself, and so while I try to make my one-woman choir stuff perfect, I’m actually failing at that every single day and I’m still putting it up there, because I think it’s a good thing to set an example of imperfect, participatory art. Like our Shakespeare!
I sometimes conduct community choirs, and I’m good at it because I know how to create a space where people feel comfortable making mistakes, and that means I can often get them to do things that are much harder than they think they can manage.”
She’s also an incredible organizer, kind and generous, and always went the extra mile to make things not just accessible but ENJOYABLE for everyone. I was talking with one of our friends today, and she talked about how Catherine never let the bad things she saw twist her. Like you would expect from a Smart Bitch, Catherine is outrageously intelligent, and well aware of the many terrible things that have happened and are continuing to happen in the world. It upsets her and she’s too practical to hold her breath for miracles, and she still found and created joy anywhere and everywhere she’s at, still put massive amounts of energy into making the world a better place.
Catherine has been hosting retro Eurovision watchings for months. We watch every Friday evening, and we all wail at Boring White Men together, claim fabulous performers as wives, and troll each immensely.
This is one of Catherine’s favourite performances.
Catherine’s an incredible singer, and appreciates a well done, tasteful performance as much as the next person (provided it wasn’t boring) and absolutely adored bonkers performances like this one. Lasha Tumbai in particular because even in the genre of Eurovision, it’s still significantly MORE outrageous. There’s a ‘made up language’ to boot that was absolutely not blatantly blaring any political message. It’s a cacophonous mess of a song, and Catherine gloried in it.
Catherine is honestly one of the most important people in my life, and I expected to be lifelong friends with her. We had been planning on having a chat this week about theology, and while I still have Very Complicated feelings about God and monotheism and the many narratives enmeshed with religion, I hope wherever she is, Catherine is being taken care of at least as much as she took care of everyone else in her life. She sang at multiple churches EVERY week, even more so at Christmas and Easter, subbed in as the accompanist when needed, helped organize and kept her fellow choir members safe when COVID hit, and that’s not even touching on all the singing and cooking she did for birthdays, weddings, and funerals. I doubt whatever comes after operates on a points system, but clearly Catherine deserves at least a set of sturdy wings to aid and abet her precarious leaning and travel to her heart’s content.
A while back I told Catherine that no matter in which timeline or lifetime, I’ll find her and be friends with her, over and over again. I’ll hold her in my heart for the rest of this life and beyond so I’ll recognize her when we meet again.
Lastly, here is another of her favourite Eurovision songs
North America Friendly version:
Some of you will probably recognize this song from Catherine’s first post on Eurovision.
It’s beautiful and dazzling just like Catherine.
Farewell, our friend.
Comments are Closed
Condolences to the SBTB family. I now have a Eurovision playlist thanks to Catherine.
Two of Catherine Heloise’s recent reviews — A Most Unusual Duke and Donut Fall in Love — sent books straight to the top of my TBR. (I squeed when my copy of A Most Unusual Duke became available from the library, and there’s not a lot of squeeing from me in pandemic year 379. She brought joy to a stranger’s life.)
I’m sad that such an enthusiastic, loving, and generous voice has been silenced. Thank you for sharing your memories of her. The breadth of her interests and creativity is mindboggling. My heartfelt sympathy to her family and SBTB for your grief.
I’m so sorry. Peace, Love, and Light.
I am so sorry to hear about Catherine’s death. I found her on this site and enjoyed her reviews, followed her on Twitter for her One Woman Choir, and caught up on Australian politics through her passionate and articulate opinions. She will be so missed.
I heard about her death on Twitter right after I’d read her review for Donut Fall in Love, and it was such a jolt to realize the author of that review was gone.
I’m so sorry! My condolences to all of you who were her friends.
I’m so very sorry for such a loss. Catherine Heloise will be deeply missed. May her words and work live on in this vibrant community she’s help shape.
I had the glorious good fortune to be Catherine’s life partner for the past 23+ years (married in 2004). Which is far too short a time to be entwined with such a wonderful woman. “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” was an enthusiastic read for her (and, by proxy, me – she would often read out the F reviews and share the cover snark) long before she came to join the reviewing team, where she found a welcoming and comfortable environment of her people. She valued all of you just as much as you valued her. Every single one of you has provided a loving and recognisable tribute to somebody who still had so much to give. Thank you for joining the massive outpouring of celebration of her life. If there’s anything you want to say in private, Sneezy knows how to reach me.
I don’t think she knows me, but I cried when I read this post. She was a good soul. I heard her on your podcasts, and her humor and laughter were infectious. Condolence on losing an important member of the SBTB family.
Catherine’s passing has had such a big affect on all of us. She was so caring and loving of her husband.
The positive for me is that I hopefully can be a part of this group.
She’ll be missed, but we’ll share her stories.
My condolences to SBHQ and her loved ones in Australia and likely the world.
Thank you, everyone, for your words. This is my first time here and it’s so Catherine to find yet another community who valued her. I feel privileged to have known her (in person) for over twenty years, and I can only agree with all of your words and wish that she were here to read them too because she was the most extraordinary person, with unlimited love and kindness and generosity for others. She will be greatly missed.
My condolences… I am new to the site but have greatly enjoyed her thoughtful and detailed reviews on historicals.
I’m still so shocked and incredibly sad, for Catherine and her family, and everyone who loved her. She’s always been so lovely to me online, reaching out more than once during tougher times and frequently making me smile. I’ll miss her presence and her voice very much. She was an unfailingly kind person, a really bright light and so witty, and all of your words and memories are lovely. It’s so hard to ever convey all the tiny little details and moments that mean so much in a life and friendship, but you’ve painted a beautiful picture of a beautiful person. She was clearly an incredibly talented person in all sorts of arenas. I’m very, very sorry for your collective loss.
What a loss. She was such a bright, wonderful person and will be dearly missed.
A devastating loss—deepest condolences to everyone who knew Catherine. Our family would never have ventured into the Eurovision world (and learned both the lyrics and choreography of “Lion of Love”) had it not been for Catherine’s humorous and affectionate Eurovision posts. I’m so sorry her voice (in all its manifestations) has been silenced.
My condolences to everyone at SBTB on such a loss. It was lovely to read the tributes. I always enjoyed Catherine Heloise’s squee reviews, which added Celia Lake and Susanna Allen (among other authors) to my shelves, and I loved hearing her voice on the podcast.
I’ve known Catherine for over 20 years, we met on the Bujold mailing list. Over the years we managed to meet up ftf in Melbourne, but connected mostly online due to distance.
She was a wonderful friend, a light in the darkness and unfailingly generous to everyone with whom she connected. It was lovely to read all the tributes to the truly beautiful human being that Catherine was. We will miss her dreadfully.
What very sad news, while I obviously didn’t have a personal connection with her like so many of the reviewers here, my heart sank when I saw the news, and as a frequent visitor of the site, I have always really enjoyed Catherine Heloise’s reviews and posts. So many of my friendships now, especially during the pandemic, have relied entirely on communication via the internet and video chatting like Zoom. Such friendships can be just as deep and meaningful (and sometimes more so) than with people I know IRL, so to speak. My condolences to the SBTB reviewers and community and my thoughts of support and comfort to Catherine Heloise’s loved ones. She will be missed.
I’m so sorry to hear this news—sending condolences and good wishes to all the SBTB family. I learned early on that Catherine and I didn’t have the same taste in books, but I always enjoyed her reviews because they would be thorough and meticulous and infused with thoughtfulness and joy.
Wishing her family and friends comfort and peace.
So sorry to hear of the loss of Catherine Heloise. Her Eurovision posts were amazing and delightful, as were her reviews. Reading your remembrances, it is clear what a kind, generous and gifted person she was. Let light perpetual shine upon her.
I’m so sorry for the loss to her family and loved ones and the SBTB community, but appreciate you sharing your memories of her here. I’ve definitely read and enjoyed her reviews, but appreciated this glimpse of the person beyond the byline. She sounds like a marvelous person who will be greatly missed. Anyone who likes Eurovision and baking cakes is all right in my book.
May her memory be a blessing.
Catherine Heloise’s deep thoughtfulness came through in every one of her posts. Her willingness to include us in her journey of understanding of others’ perspectives — including spiritual ones — [em-dashes are in her honor] was incredibly compelling. I think I have read every single book that she reviewed as a sort of internal dialogue to see if I had the same reaction to the books as she did. Her reviews came from her soul and they fed my soul as I read them.
Catherine Heloise gave so much to us at SBTB; I am simply grateful that we had the opportunity to get to know her here. May the joy that is in the world because SHE put it there continue to celebrated.
@Andrew, Catherine Heloise was wonderful, and you must be as well. I am so sorry for your loss. She was a treasure, even to us that only knew her through her contributions to this site. Please take care of yourself.
Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it. Love, prayers, and white light to the SBTB team and the other people who loved Catherine Heloise. *hugs*
Deeply sorry to hear about Catherine Heloise’s passing. My condolences to her family and friends, near and far.
Heartbreaking to see the lapses into the present tense when talking about her personality and actions. Emphasises the disabelief that she’s gone. But after reading all of your tributes, it does seem she never really will be gone because she left too big a mark on so many of people. Sincere condolences to all her family and friends.
To SBTB, Andrew, and her friends and family: I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. Catherine sounds like an incredible person to have known and loved. I will miss her thoughtful words and insights.
Oh, this news makes me so sad. What a loss to everyone who loved her.
I am so deeply sorry to hear this. Such a loss.
I am so very sad to hear this. Prayer, love and hugs to her family and friends.
I was so heartbroken to hear about this, and so many condolonces to all those who had the chance to know Catherine far better.
It was only with the announcement of her death (via a mutual friend on Dreamwidth) that I realised we’d been almost overlapping in several online spaces for quite a long time.
I’ve been reading at SBTB for ages – sometime around 2007. Like so many others have said, I loved the Eurovision posts, the joy in Catherine’s reviews (I most recently picked up and adored A Most Unusual Duke because of her comments) and so much more.
But as I said on Twitter, in my religious tradition, we talk about “what is remembered, lives” and I’m going to remember her for the rest of my life.
Last summer, she read one of my books – Eclipse – and posted a Squee review. It wasn’t that she loved the book that got me (though that was awesome and amazing).
It was that I felt seen. She picked up on so many things in that book, some of which I’d talked about privately, some of which I’d only barely articulated in my own head. Catherine named them and shared them and thought they mattered. It was so clear that her comments came from a deep well of thinking about how people move through the world in infinite and intricate ways, wanting everyone to have joy and delight and love and hope.
I am so sorry that none of us get more of her voice, all those moments of connection and recognition and sharing the joy. But I’m also so glad that so much of what she shared is out here in the world still.
I am sad to hear of the death of Catherine Heloise. Thank you for sharing these lovely tributes. My sympathies to you at SBTB, to Andrew, and to all who loved her.
I’m so sorry to hear this. Hers was a distinctive, thoughtful, and joyful voice. Sending much love.
So many losses these last years. I’m so sad to hear of her passing. Love and condolences to Andrew and all of SBTB.
I am so very sorry to hear this news. I didn’t know her, but I always loved her reviews, and I’m so sorry for the awful loss to all of her friends and family. She sounds really wonderful.
Having read what y’all had to say, I’ve definitely added Catherine to my (very short) list of people I should have met but didn’t, and look forward to meeting in whatever hereafter we all share.
Positive vibes and prayers to all who knew her.
What a wonderful tribute. She will be remembered for so many joyful reasons. Sending love to all who miss her.
Sincerely, another person on the internet who enjoyed her writing, especially on Eurovision.
I’m heartbroken to hear this news. My condolences to the SBTB family, Catherine’s own family, and everyone who was a part of her life. I just checked and realized the last book I read, three days ago, was after reading her review of it – Battle Royal by Lucy Parker. Needless to say, the book was as enjoyable as she said it was.
Her squee review of Eclipse introduced me to an author whose work I really enjoy. Her voice is missed. May her memories continue to bring joy and comfort.
Thank you for sharing your memories. Catherine Heloise’s reviews were always so thoughtful and nuanced. I’m grateful for the books she introduced me to. She sounds like an amazing person.
My condolences to Andrew, everyone at SBTB, and all who knew and loved Catherine. I will miss her voice here, both in her thoughtful reviews, and on the podcast. I’m currently waiting for my library hold on Donut Fall in Love, which is only the latest of many books that her reviews led me to read.
Comments are closed.