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Did I Ever Tell You?

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529424102

Price: £20

ON SALE: 9th May 2024

Genre: Health & Personal Development

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‘[A] heartfelt memoir’ New York Times

‘Compelling and heartbreaking’ Ann Napolitano

A deeply moving memoir of a young daughter, her dying mother – and the trail of letters and gifts she left behind.

‘Her messages met me like guideposts in a dark forest; if her words couldn’t point the way, at least they offered the comfort of knowing someone had been there before’

Ten days before Gwen Kingston turned twelve, her beloved mother – with whom she shared a birthday – died. She left behind two chests – one for Gwen and one for her brother – filled with lovingly wrapped presents and letters marking the milestones she would miss: driver’s licences, graduations and every one of their birthdays until the age of thirty. Each gift a chance to reach back into the past and, for the briefest moment, hear her voice again.

Over the last twenty years, the chest of treasures has travelled with Gwen across a continent, from state to state and apartment to apartment, growing lighter with each passing birthday. And now, just three gifts remain . . .

In this beautiful and heart-rending memoir, Gwen describes growing up in the shadow of loss, guided by what her mother left behind. Woven in is her mother’s own story, and that of their whole family – tragedies foreseen and unforeseen, paths taken and not taken. It’s about a mother’s love for her daughter, but more than that, it is a story of marriage, family, inheritance and everything that shapes a life.


An extraordinary testament to the power of love over death, this book is healing, moving, and ultimately, instructive. The example of one mother's incredible unconditional love for her daughter, and this daughter's resilient search to live well in the face of devastating loss, will make readers cry, and also help them through their grief. Though I read this book quickly because I could not put it down, it will nurture me for a long time to come. What a beautiful gift from a mother to a daughter, and for a daughter to her readers.
Sarah Ruhl, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Smile
I could not love this book more. Did I Ever Tell You? grabbed my heart from the very first pages and took me on a journey that has changed forever the way I think about the legacies we leave-on purpose and by accident-to those we love. In bracing, vivid, generous prose and with crystalline candor, Kingston shares a page-turning and wholly unexpected story about the extraordinary gifts her mother left her, including the most powerful one of all: the tools Kingston needed to carry on without her mom.
Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club
In this gorgeous memoir, Genevieve Kingston packages up the stories of her motherless coming-of-age with as much tenderness and care as her mom took in selecting and wrapping the gifts and letters she left behind for her
Elise Loehnen, New York Times bestselling author of On Our Best Behavior
As the shape of her grief changes with age, Kingston teaches us something essential about how to collect, hold, and savor memories of loved ones over a lifetime
In this heartfelt memoir, Kingston reflects on her mother's death, in her late 40s, from breast cancer and the carefully catalogued notes and gifts she left for her children to open when she was gone. Kingston opens each on schedule, while reflecting that "the person I needed ... was not the smiling, gentle mother wrapping birthday gifts" but "all of my mother, not only the softest pieces."
New York Times
Irish Examiner
Did I Ever Tell You? is compelling and heartbreaking, and reminded me how beautiful humans can be when life breaks them open. Gwen's mother, during her own most difficult time, executes an act of miraculous love for her children that has a scope and power that will take your breath away
Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Hello Beautiful and Dear Edward