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Gabi Coatsworth
Love's Journey Home

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Their relationship seemed destined for heartache. A terminal diagnosis would teach them the true meaning of love.

Gabi Coatsworth never meant to fall for the handsome American. And after walking away because he was married, the British single mother thought she'd go forever without seeing him again. But her move to Chicago five years later for a career opportunity led to their reunion, a rekindled romance, and a wedding.


Forging a thirty-year life together through ups and downs, Gabi finally gave up when her husband's alcoholism became more than she could bear. But not long after, he received a devastating medical diagnosis. Knowing she would regret it if she stayed away, she returned home to care for him.

And unexpectedly learned it's never too late for a second chance…

This relatable story will resonate with readers who long to know that love can endure despite the many obstacles life puts in its way. Part romance, part medical memoir, all heart, it’s for everyone who needs to know that they can make it through life’s hardships and find happiness again.

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10


Plot/Idea: This is a poignant yet often joyous real-life love story that will invite readers in and hold their interest until the last page. The story unfolds at an even and balanced pace, not giving away too much too soon.

Prose: Coatsworth is a clear, solid writer. She is able to tell the story in a way that not only holds the reader's interest but offers the right balance of description, action, and conversation. The author also demonstrates a thorough understanding of structure and grammar.

Originality: This work details the author's personal story, making it unique and original. While unfortunately many people undergo similar heart-wrenching circumstances, Coatsworth is able to make her work stand out through her narrative approach and the small details that distinguish it from other works.

Character Development/Execution: Coatsworth does an effective job with characterization, helping the main players in her life come alive on the page—particularly Jay, whose emotions overwhelm him but don't reduce him to a sappy lovesick fool. 

Date Submitted: January 18, 2022

In this affecting memoir, Coatsworth shares how, after a years-long long-distance romance, she and her lover Jay finally settled down into a life together with their children. Once married, together at last after being an ocean apart for so long, Coatsworth faces the challenges of parenting and being a spouse to an alcoholic. Written with frank and vivid detail, Coatsworth’s decades-spanning love story travels peaks of pure bliss and the valleys of living with and depending on someone with an addiction–she writes “Neither of us noticed the cracks in our relationship insidiously turning into fissures”–and then, tragically, one of the most wrenching of life’s passages. Once Jay is diagnosed and ultimately dies from cancer, Coatsworth must keep the family system going while reconciling with him and her pain.

As a storyteller, Coatsworth presents her main characters, herself and Jay, with the clarity and insight to create deep compassion for their relationship, while other key players, such as their kids and friends, are not the focus. Coatsworth’s attention to detail places the reader right in her shoes. The memoir is long, but the accumulation of events and feelings stirs deep empathy for Coatsworth and her family, especially as the book teases out the complexities of a unique and loving relationship, and builds with some emotional force to the family’s current state of affairs.

Coatsworth’s tone is boldly cheerful in the opening pages, as she establishes her love for Jay and excitement about the relationship. As the story turns darker and the days difficult, she appropriately shifts to a somber tone but keeps the material engaging. Many readers will connect with Coatsworth’s story of building a family and navigating single motherhood, remarriage, divorce, and the unthinkable. She shares her story with candor, wisdom, and heart, and lays bare her feelings about facing those challenges with rare vulnerability.

Takeaway: A beautifully told true-life love story, facing addiction and death with candor and wisdom.

Great for fans of: Fenton Johnson’s Geography of the Heart, Shannon Leone Fowler’s Traveling with Ghosts.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-