Cover Image: Did I Ever Tell You?

Did I Ever Tell You?

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Member Reviews

Oh what a beautiful, sad story. I'm so glad Genevieve decided to share her story, it will resonate with many a reader. Knowing people who have died from cancer at a similar age it was quite a difficult read. I found myself reflecting on what I'd do in the same situation, my daughter is currently a lot younger than Genevieve was.

I absolutely love the care and attention taken in the box of presents and notes, and what a comforting present for your children to share these things throughout the years even though you've gone. Heartbreaking.

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Thanks to the publisher Quercus Editions Ltd and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A very powerful memoir detailing the power of the maternal love of a dying mother leaving behind a series of wrapped presents for her daughter (the author) destined to be opened on future birthdays and major life events such as graduation, engagement, the birth of a child etc. which she will not be there for.

I must say I personally found this quite a difficult read after my own brush with breast cancer in the past giving this a certain frisson of “what if” for my own personal history intensified by the fact of having a 4-year-old little girl. On reflection I may not have picked this as a book to review if I had noticed this but in the end, I found this a moving and ultimately quite hopeful book.

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A beautiful and touching memoir of a life lived in the shadow of a mother who died young.
Gwenny lost her mother soon before her twelfth birthday. Her mother had prepared for her death, leaving her children gifts and messages for all the important milestones in their lives including their thirtieth birthdays:
This is a lovely and sad account of tgst legacy and the path that Gwenny’s life takes as she continues to live her life.
I would really recommend it as a memoir that shows the long tail of grief and the way losing a parent can shape a life. But it’s also a memoir of love and hope.
Highly recommended.

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Diagnosed with terminal cancer, and not knowing how long she had left to live, Kingston's mother prepared a legacy of letters and gifts for her children to mark each birthday and landmark event they'd reach without her. This beautifully written, searingly honest memoir is structured around these gifts, as Kingston loses her mother and navigates her way into adulthood.

There is, of course, heartbreak, but there is also something profoundly hopeful in the strength, courage and love Kingston found (in her mother's gifts, in her family and in herself) to endure. There is no grief without remembrance, no loss without love.

Did I Ever Tell You? is a brave and beautiful memoir about the ties that even death can't break.

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What a well written book dealing with such raw emotions when Gwenny's mother dies from cancer when she is just about to turn 12 on a birth date that she shared with her mother.

The chest her mother had so lovingly left with gifts to be opened on significant dates in the future, birthdays until she turned 30, graduation, driving licence, engagement, wedding and first baby. All the major events in her life that she would be unable to share with her mother.

We lived life along with Gwenny through all the tough times.

I would certainly recommend this book.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC for which I have given my unbiased review

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A heart-wrenching memoir about navigating a life punctuated by insurmountable loss. Genevieve Kingston's memoir will bring comfort to those who can relate and is an eye-opening read for those who are lucky enough to have never lost a loved one. This will undoubtedly stay with me for a long time.

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This is very well written and poignant, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Whilst I was expecting it to be a very hard read, especially having children of a similar age it was approached with such love and compassion that it didn't feel this way at all. I would definitely recommend this for a book club read as I think it would bring up a lot of interesting dialogue and questions. Thank you

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Ten days shy of Gwen Kingston's twelfth birthday, she faced the heartbreaking loss of her beloved mother, who shared that very birthday. Left behind were two chests, one for Gwen and another for her brother, each containing meticulously wrapped gifts and heartfelt letters. These tokens were to mark the milestones their mother would miss – driver's licenses, graduations, and every birthday until they turned thirty. Each present became a poignant opportunity to reconnect with the past and briefly relive the sound of her mother's voice.

In the two decades that followed, Gwen's life journey unfolded across a continent, accompanied by the chest of treasures that traversed states, apartments, and changing circumstances. With each passing birthday, the chest grew lighter, and now, only three gifts remain.

In this poignant memoir, Gwen shares her experience of growing up under the lingering shadow of loss, guided by the tangible remnants her mother left behind. Interwoven into the narrative are the stories of her mother and the entire family, featuring both anticipated and unforeseen tragedies, the choices made, and those left unexplored. It's a tale not only about a mother's enduring love for her daughter but also a broader exploration of marriage, family dynamics, inheritance, and the myriad elements that shape a life.

The E-Book could be improved and more user-friendly, such as links to the chapters, no significant gaps between words and a cover for the book would be better. It is very document-like instead of a book. A star has been deducted because of this.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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✉️🎁 𝔻𝕚𝕕 𝕀 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣 𝕥𝕖𝕝𝕝 𝕪𝕠𝕦? 🎁✉️
Author -  Genevieve Kingston
Publication date -  Expected May 2024
Genevieve has such a beautiful way of writing in this heartbreaking memoir about death,  grief, and family.
As a very young child, her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her mother prepared for her kids to have a life without her by forming letters, cassette tapes, and packages for their birthdays and other impodates throughout their lives. Without giving spoilers, this is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming read as we learn about the keepsakes Gwenny receives and how she grows up and tackles her grief.
"Did I ever tell you" had become my five favourite words. They signalled that I was about to be transported, carried on the magic of someone else's words, into the past.

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A beautifully written, touching memoir and meditation on what it is to spend your childhood growing up in the shadow of death. In this case, the author's mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer when the author was seven. She was given a year to live, but survived for four further years. Genevieve, known as Gwenny uses the box of letters and keepsakes that her mother prepared for her children as way markers as touchstones to spark her memories of love and loss. This is raw and beautiful.

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I am grateful to NetGalley and Quercus for a PPC of this book.
A searingly honest memoir about dying, death and bereavement.
Aware of her cancer diagnosis and impending death Kingston’s mother prepared a series of letters and packages to help her two children to manage and survive the experience. Throughout these letters she reveals events and relationships developments not apparent at the time; and also gives permission for friends and therapists to share with her children anything they might need.
Kingston’s life is still far from easy but she is aware she owes so much to her remarkable mother.

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Because of the subject matter you feel almost obliged to heap praise on what must have been a very hard book to write. For me, I wanted to read this book for professional reasons and I thought it would give me useful insight.
What it did confirm, however, is that grief is an immensely personal thing. The book is very well written and the author articulates her thoughts well. However, I just felt it was almost too personal and I felt like an intruder. Maybe this says more about me than the writer but I couldn't get over the voyeur feel. It is important that these things are discussed and this book may well help some people come to the terms with the loss of a parent. Different people will react very differently to this book (as with all books) and that's not to say it's bad or shouldn't be done. I can see it helping a lot of people

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What a beautifully written book! Genevieve Kingston had a mother who loved her so much and wanted to leave something of herself for her children as they grew up without her. She was clearly a mother who knew the impact her death would have on her children.

I found this book so moving and admired Genevieve for her ultimate strength and resilience after coming through a difficult adolescence without her mother.

This book will touch your heart.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

As a woman who lost her mum in 2021 (when I was 49) the book sang out to me. Why you might ask? Because my mum filled a book of questions for me and allowed me to interview her before her passing. I asked all the things I wanted to know.

This book is beautifully written and brought some tears here and there in the memories it gifted to me. I was lucky in that my mum was there for my wedding. She was my wedding co-ordinator!. Thank you to the author for the words, stories, memories, and the gift of this book, ,

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I'm not sure whether it's because I'm lucky enough to have an amazing bond and relationship with my Mum or the fact that I'm a mother to three incredible teens myself but MY GOD this hit hard.

Its hand on heart got to be the first book in a looooong time that has actually made me physically cry and not just cry but sob!

This is the memoir of Gwenny and her life living with and through her amazing mother's terminal cancer and then learning to live with her loss.

Gwenny's mother (mommy) tries to pave the way and make life a little more bearable after her passing by creating trunks for herself and her older brother Jamie. Each trunk was filled with gifts and letters for each birthday and special celebration they may come to through their adult lives.

The letters are heartbreakingly raw, honest and so full of love it bleeds from the pages, I could feel every emotion pulsing through each sentence. So whilst it was heartbreaking to read ot was also so amazingly beautiful.

Gwenny faces some agonisingly painful times *NO SPOILERS* which were sad to read but the honesty that has gone into this memoir makes them so much more relatable.

I don't want to go into much detail as it would most definitely spoil it for the reader but all I can say is 'wow'... if you love a memoir that makes you feel every emotion, feel human... this is a must read.

Massive thanks to netgalley and Quercus Books for the ARC.

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When she dies in her forties, Gwenny Kingston's mother does what the young mother in 'My Life Without Me,' does by leaving boxes of gifts for her two children to unwrap at pivotal points in their lives; high school graduation, marriage, her daughter's first period.

This luminous book explores the gifts - their powers and their limitations - and Gwenny's relationship with them, which is eventually clarified by finding a tape where her mother explains more about what she intended by the gifts, and what it feels like to be dying after a long illness and leaving her children at a vulnerable time in their lives.

Gwenny's struggles with depression in her twenties make for moving reading, as you root for her to overcome them - which she does, through the right medication, travel, love, theatre and the support of her remaining family. This would make a wonderful play or film, but is also beautifully written and satisfying as it is.

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Beyond excited to read and acquire this book. It jumped out at me right away due the loss of my parent semi recently. Is I’ll be sharing a full review and thoughts soon, but I cannot wait to share Genevieve’s beautiful heartfelt story with our readers. I can relate to so much of what she was saying and I know it will help me and others feel less alone in dealing with their own grief journeys,

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