Twelve letters. That's what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she's dying. Twelve letters to see him through the first year without her, and to lead him a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again.
Lauren’s point of view anchors the alternating chapters, which tell the story of her relationship with Josh in reverse chronological order, from her last days to the first time they met. Higgins is a master of snappy dialogue, and her characters are authentic and relatable—a must for this type of novel. The heart of the story is tragic, but just like real life, there’s humor hidden in the darkest moments. This warm, bighearted story about grief, family, and the redemptive power of love will appeal to fans of Katherine Center and Jennifer Weiner.
A young widower begrudgingly attempts to move on when he receives assignments from his beloved late wife ... Higgins deftly navigates a premise that could’ve been sappy and instead turns it into something poignant, realistic, and occasionally even funny. Josh and Lauren never seem like caricatures of a grieving widower or a selfless, angelic dead wife. Instead, they are fully rounded characters with flaws and eccentricities. The story alternates between Josh’s present-day attempts to live his new life and Lauren’s point of view in the past, making her feel like a real person instead of just a saintly presence. The amount of detail around Lauren’s disease is both impressive and heartbreaking to read. The characters surrounding Josh and Lauren are all complex and quirky, and seeing Josh accept love from the people in his life, both from new friends and old family members, is just as sob-inducing as reading about how he loses Lauren.
Higgins delivers an outstanding romantic weeper with this tale of young newlyweds facing a terminal illness ... After Lauren dies, Josh’s raw grief is palpable, as is Lauren’s reluctance to leave the love of her life, which comes through in her letters. Delightful supporting characters add to the charm, such as a Banana Republic salesman who comforts Josh after he has a breakdown while trying to fulfill one of Lauren’s tasks. Perfect pacing and plotting lift Higgins’s masterly latest. This is going to break (and restore) plenty of hearts.