Even death can have a happy ending.



“Everybody likes to go their own way—to choose their own time and manner of devotion.” –Jane Austen

One important way many choose to go is to keep their promises to the dead. Free lance writer Linda Della Donna has done just that with her memoir in which she tells her husband’s story, as well as her own. Readers learn how they met, fell in love, lived their lives together and finally how they faced his fatal disease together.

Empathetic readers will laugh–heartily, offer a sensitive smile, and experience a personal memory that sneaks from their eyes and rolls down their cheeks.

A Gift of Love is not only a widow’s memoir, it is itself, a tender gift to those who are, or soon will be conscripted into the sisterhood (or brotherhood) of loss. As Austen said, “Everybody likes to go their own way.” Frequently, life forces us to make those choices before we’re ready. How we respond to the onslaught of the future is the challenge each of us faces in dealing with grief.

Linda Della Donna
Linda Della Donna

How each reader reacts to A Gift of Love will depend on where they are in their own experiences in dealing with death. (We prefer the word, “death,” itself rather than any number of euphemisms.) Some readers may not be ready to relive the horror and pain of a lengthy examination of her husband’s battle with cancer. Others, who are facing a similar situation will find a reflection on that experience inspiring, and everyone will like the ending.

In the last fifth of A Gift of Love, we learn how the author dealt with her challenges of life after the death of a spouse. She has successfully found a way to live in the present (unattached and happy) while honoring the past with special memories. We also discover some valuable lessons for that inevitable time when we join the club. Two things this reviewer gleaned from the memoir, either written or implied:

  • Avoid the heartbreak of a “rebound romance,” by…
  • Not “playing” hard to get, but by BEING hard to get. (This might be easy to say, but more difficult to pull off without seeming cold or aloof, however, it can be done.)

And in the end, does someone die?


Someone always dies.

If handled correctly, it can still be a happy ending.


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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Chip, the same memories that break your heart now will one day make you laugh.

    • Starting to experience that now.
      I’m getting better every day, but it’s still hard to imagine that it hasn’t been six months yet.

  • Tsara

    This is a beautiful review of a beautiful book! I keep my copy of A Gift of Love on the shelf above my desk. This story of love, strength, weakness, self-expression and exploration is beautiful and emotional and real and heartwarming. Linda Della Donna is a gifted writer who shares her soul with seeming ease. The book, then, is a true gift of love to anyone who chooses to read it.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Thank you, Tsara, for stopping by and for commenting.

  • Many people live and feel – but only the writer captures it for others.

    • Thanks Alicia,
      What a beautiful thing to say.

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