Finding Frances

Second Printing

April 10, 2010

From Winston-Higgins Press

Softcover ISBN 978-0-9826140-0-6

E-book ISBN 978-0-9826140-1-3

Gold Medal Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards 2011 
2nd Place Florida Writers Association Literary Award 2010 (Mainstream Fiction)



What if your mother’s last request was to let her go?

In the middle of a personal crisis and with two thousand miles between them, William Baldwin learns that his mother is ready to die, but no one is listening to her wishes for end-of-life care. Instead of taking a chance on life-sustaining treatment that can prolong her death but cannot cure her, Frances wants a natural and peaceful death. She asks William to convince the doctors, his father and his siblings to let nature take its course. Torn by her request, William, a med-school dropout, respects his mother’s dream of a good death but is not ready to let her go. Finding Frances is one man’s journey to honor his mother and to understand the larger cultural and ethical issues of death. In doing so, he is relieved of his past burdens and learns how to live.

Finding Frances tells the story of a woman who said “no” to the system that convinces us that life should be sustained at all costs. It’s a gentle, upbeat, and off-beat exploration of the love beneath a family’s defenses and contrary positions.

…There’s more to life than living and more to death than dying…


William Baldwin’s struggle is the typical “coming-of-a-certain-age” conflict faced by maturing baby boomers. We are struggling with our own mortality while dealing with the care and reality of our aging parents. Fiction makes the topic accessible, and this book seems to help people open up to talk about it. Everyone seems to have their own experiences that need validation, or they have their own wishes concerning end-of-life care but don’t know how to start the conversation.

Finding Frances is based on true events that occurred during my mother’s decline and death. It is a story with a heart. And it just might change the way you think about the end of your life.  There are over 5,000 copies of this book in circulation.


“How does each person want to live? How would they want to die? Van Dyck brings these questions smoothly to the surface without ever pushing an agenda or setting up arguments.”  -Washington Times Book Review

“It is a real joy to read this novel, which is rooted in the present reality that our advances in technology have outpaced our ability to restrain them.”   -Lofty Basta, MD, Author of “Graceful Exit” and “Life and Death on Your Own Terms”

“Avoiding melodrama, Finding Frances is a great family drama that looks deeply at the impact on everyone when a loved one is dying…  insightful… a profound timely look at dying.” –Midwest Book Review

“You will be changed after reading this…you can’t pick this book up and think you’re going to be able to get through it without a lot of deep thought.”

“…fast paced novel that carries a mighty wallop…a book we all should read and no one is too young or too old… ”

“With seamless empathy VanDyck encourages the reader to hear all aspects of the sticky topic and finds a way to have the story end on a positive note.” -Top 10 Amazon reviewer

“…moving and powerful.  It speaks to the heart.”


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