On Love and Death and Belonging

Fiction - Urban
270 Pages
Reviewed on 09/25/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I have always written. Bits and pieces. Here and there. On scraps of paper or typed into word documents. Always planning to do something with them — someday. Years ago, I sent an unsolicited manuscript to an agent. It was kindly returned to me in my self-addressed envelope with a critique of the first chapter.
But what to do next always seemed like something only real authors did, something unheard of by the likes of me. And so, my writings sat.
Until something in me shifted. “Not me” became “why not me”? Maybe because I’m older. Or maybe because of the pandemic with it’s slow and similar days giving time for reflection. Or maybe it was my unfulfilled dream of being an author niggling away that finally had me sit down and start writing again.
Writing about the things on my mind, on both a personal level and in my work as a nurse. Social - isolation. Aging. Workforce inequities. What it would mean to be given a terminal diagnosis? And what would that mean if you didn’t want to live with that diagnosis? And if you were gay? Would think you had to go back into the closet to access the care you needed? With all this heavy sadness I included much laughter and good friendship in my novel, two of life’s most precious gifts that give us hope. It was these germs of inspiration that became On Love and Death and Belonging.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

On Love and Death and Belonging by Daphne Wright is a story told in vignettes and revolving around three characters, Fiona, Brice, and Adelina. Brice, diagnosed with ALS, grapples with daily struggles, including a weakening body and emotional turmoil. Fiona, a medical professional, reflects on her encounters with Brice and other ALS patients during her demanding shifts, where staff are underpaid and overworked despite the importance of what they do. Adelina, navigating her own life challenges, is deeply impacted by the ALS aspect when she encounters Brice and reflects on the implications of the disease. As the stories progress, Wright evolves the focus to Medical Assistance in Dying, societal attitudes toward it, and its implications for those dealing with ALS, as the lives of three unique individuals converge.

On Love and Death and Belonging by Daphne Wright is a deep and intentionally thought-provoking novel that puts the personal and equally controversial right to die with dignity at the forefront of three character arcs. I am an American living in Europe, where voluntary assisted dying for those with debilitating terminal illnesses is legal in certain countries, but I have not actually read a book where the storyline pulls together the patient, carers, and staff and equally explores their perspectives and lives. The writing itself is well done, and Wright addresses the situations of characters beyond their work with authenticity and compassion, allowing Fiona and Adelina to be developed in their own right alongside Brice. There are some moments of levity, like shopping for a “gay urn,” which, apparently, is a thing, to juxtapose with the more heartbreaking scenes. The conclusion is bittersweet, and Wright leaves a little to the imagination, making for a story that puts the finale in the hands and minds of readers. Very highly recommended.

D MacDonald

Reviewed in Canada on April 10, 2023
Characters that are so well written that you relate to them!


Reviewed in Canada on February 10, 2023

I’m love how Daphne has created such relatable characters - they just draw me in with their stories. I really enjoy the short chapters, going back and forth with the 3 characters - i like that style of writing. Also how relevant their problems are in our current world. I'm just at the beginning of their journey and can't wait to see how they all connect and support each other.

Vancouver 2

This book exceeded my expectations. The author used her expertise and knowledge of working as a nurse and her insights of people to create a story that keeps you reading. The author’s writing style and her character development makes the reader interested from page one to the end! LOVED IT!

Judith Fulton

An excellent insight into the lives and emotions of three diverse, yet connected people. Their struggles to cope, and deal with difficulties, are thoughtfully presented by the author with sensitivity, and at times, even humour. An enjoyable, mindful read.

Kim P

Three memorable characters struggling with illness, burnout and domestic abuse

Each character-a nurse, a cleaner and a gay man with a life limiting illness- is alone and struggling as the novel begins. The writer creates relatable personal descriptions with humour and great empathy. Ultimately, all three are able to connect and support one another in an end of life scene.
Beautifully written.

Theresa Gibson

I enjoy the author's style of writing. Daphne smoothly intertwines humor to her character's individual life altering circumstances.
Daphne's descriptive writing allows the reader to feel as if they are there, in the story, with the characters.
Loving this first book, of many


An interesting story, about 3 different characters whose lives intercept. Touches on current ethical questions with humour and empathy- would definitely


Daphne Leonie Wright uses her warm wit to tell the stories of 3 individuals destined to support and change their lives.


A beautifully layered read that gives so many perspectives on boomer experiences of life, aging and death. Done with humour and tenderness, this book gives great insights into MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying). Bravo!

Tere Christofferson

This book is a must read . Very contemporary with today’ s times . You will fall in love with the characters. The stories of these 3 people will suck you in. Couldn’t wait to turn the page. Daphne writes with ease , very descriptive. Order this book now and pass it on


The book is well-written, and filled with live characters you’ve met on the streets of any big city and in health care settings as staff or patients.
The author explored the weighty and controversial topic of MAID( Medical Assistance in Dying), demystifying the process and educating on situations when MAID is the right choice.
The novel is bittersweet. Through a mix of sadness and joy, laughs and tears, the book leaves the reader feeling optimistic and full of hope.

Dennice Stambuck

This book describes courage in a new way!

A remarkable first book, sensitively written, telling the story of three less fortunate people in our world managing their lives thru illness, loneliness and disappointment. Their characters come to life and I was transported into their lives very quickly. Gradually the three lives intersect and despite their inner battles, they slowly find their identity and their place of belonging. This book describes courage for me in a new way and I am very glad to have read it. Thank you Daphne!

Deborah G

This author Daphne Leonie Wright is not afraid to face the final frontier, and she delicately guides her readers and characters to this final resting place. Through intertwining her three carefully crafted characters, she takes the reader on a "journey" through the latter parts of their lives there they eventually come to terms with the choices they made.

This is an important book and deserves five stars for its thought-provoking sensitive topics. The book is a timely must read, and brings MAID out of the closet. This is truly humanity in its final frontier.


An impressive first book!
On Love Death and Belonging is the story of 3 seemingly random, world weary individuals whose lives intersect. It deals with burnout, domestic abuse, faith, advancing illness, palliative care and MAID (medical assistance in dying)with empathy and wit. The writing is clear, vivid and descriptive. Looking forward to reading more from this first time author!


We All Belong
It becomes pretty apparent in this book that life is not easy and it's often not fair. However, being resilient has its benefits and camaraderie comes in all shapes and sizes. Two things that I took away from this book are how fortunate I am and that a little humor mixed with a little kindness goes a long way.

Self-publishing agency

Big Light

*To be transparent, we are the publishing team that worked on this book - so one can either take our review as bias, or take it as a review from an insider who knows the work intimately.*

This book has a masterful way of blending big, heavy topics with the lightness of relatable characters and scenes that feel like every day life.

The author herself is just that -- a nurse by day, who intimately deals with big, heavy topics while being a clever, light and relatable writer on her off-shift days. Pick up this book - it's one you can enjoy quickly, while letting it stay with you for awhile.


First time author….bravo
Poignant, touching, sad, funny, a relatable current day story with large and small moments of kindness and joy.
Loved the characters, felt as though I had met them some time ago and we were all just coming up to speed on where we were in life. I wanted to know more about Fiona, Adelina and Brice, they were so real, their stories held me captive.
Daphne tackled the huge and timely topic of MAID deftly and with sensitivity. She is a gifted story teller, can’t wait to hear more from her.

Amazon Customer

Significant/Meaningful Read
Daphne’s “On Love and Death and Belonging” is
a must read. Daphne has the gift of being able to describe characters and content in a fascinating manner. I looked forward to my nightly read while devouring her book.


I enjoyed reading this timely story of 3 individuals from different walks of life who bond over time. Each character brings in their own set of values to the table, but eventually, all three learn to accept each other and their differing points of views. Well written, easy to read and informative (ALS, MAiD).


Everyone should read this!

Duke Wayze



This was a beautifully written book. Daphne’s writing makes you connect so deeply with each character. A fantastic read :)


This book is beautifully and tenderly written.
Main characters Fiona, Brice and Adelina are lovely, “ordinary” (yet in their own way, “extra-ordinary”), work-a-day people who meet up and befriend each other at a retirement home. They generate feelings of compassion, humility, respect, surrender, and perseverance. Upon finishing the book, I felt compelled to listen to Paul Simon’s American Tune in their honour.
I really like how the author describes and enters us into a sense of marginalized place and time – the last of the three buildings at Waterview Retirement Village during the night shift.
The book touches on many relatable and relevant topics such as: job loss, job change, financial concerns, aging, illness, loneliness, grieving the loss of a partner, adapting to retirement home/assisted living, intimate partner abuse, homophobia, the initial red flags of substance abuse, and M.A.I.D. Can imagine it being a very good choice for book club sharing!
Thank you so much for the writing and sharing of this book Daphne. I look forward to experiencing any future writings you may do!


A microcosm is created in this novel, when 3 strangers worlds converge. Fiona, Brice and Adelina meet at a retirement village at what first appears to be the falling down of so many of life's dominoes.The novel grapples with the timely issues of burnout, job loss, lack of medical staff and MAID.
The three main characters find the capacity to move out from their internal worries to embrace each other, and in doing so, find love, belonging and community.
This novel is a welcome addition to my library and I look forward to reading more books from this author. Once you have picked up the book and read it too, I believe that you will come away with the same sentiment. As the book demonstrates, one may find pink roses and rainbow balloons if we choose to look for them.

Alan Jones

Well crafted, with imaginative descriptives and witty asides. Dealing with the not always kind twists and turns in life. The realities of today's economic models, personal struggles, and the challenges of getting older, and in particular, one character facing a serious illness, three strangers are brought together as if by fate. A sense of humanity and hope shines through though.

AM Kahn

This was a sweet story of three people whose lives intersect. Each with their own regrets and sadness but also great strength. A truly timely story that touches on so many of todays issues. Very well done for a first book without the support of big publishers. Congratulations!

Danielle Bergstrom

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, a very interesting story.
Reviewed in Canada on June 8, 2023
Verified Purchase
The writing was excellent and the story cleverly developed. I got attached to the 3 main characters with their qualities and flaws. It was an uplifting book even if it was sad at times. I found myself laughing one moment and crying the next. I highly recommend this book

B Laface

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Read!
Reviewed in Canada on March 12, 2023
Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book immensely for a number of reasons. To my mind it totally captured the zeitgeist of contemporary urban culture and it was done with tremendous wit in a down-to-earth style. The characters were well developed, not too much detail to be brash but enough to fully expand the flavour of lives trapped in inhumane bureaucracies (social, economic and emotional) of indifference. It truly speaks of our day (sadly). I could identify with the struggles of all three characters. And lastly, it was on a topic I had not really explored for myself yet. So many implications; social, ethical, religious, moral and so personal . . . so very personal!! None of us, after all, are getting out of here alive.

Erika Z

This book got me back into reading! I was pulled in quickly with each character. Well written and descriptions were not too wordy but gave enough for reader to be guided. Great job Daphne....give us more! Know your sisters are proud and your parents sure would be