Reviews and Awards

“I highly recommend this book—it is both heartbreaking and uplifting. It is a gift to all those who grieve, will grieve, or who will offer support to someone through bereavement ~ a real tour de force!”
Christine Linnehan, M.S., LCPC, FT, Psychotherapist, Riverview Counseling (specializing in grief and bereavement), Consultant, Center for Grieving Children, Portland, Maine

The Red Ribbon is an unflinching account of loss and the resiliency of the often-complicated bond of love. The prose and poetry are lucid and lovely; the tale honestly told. But beyond the particulars of this very personal memoir, Bills tells a story that is not merely factual, but true. While every death and every grief is unique, anyone who has journeyed through the maelstrom of loss, especially sudden, unexpected loss, will recognize the territory Bills describes. One will read it and feel less alone.”
Rev. Jill Job Saxby, JD, MDiv, First Congregational Church, UCC, South Portland, Maine

Achingly beautiful.”
Barbara Hesselman Kautz, MSN, RN, author of When I Die I’m Going to Heaven ‘Cause I Spent My Time in Hell: A Memoir of My Year as an Army Nurse in Vietnam

“…a brave memoir about a family’s heartbreaking journey of grief and healing.”
Shelagh Ramage Forland, LCSW

“…a beautifully written memoir, tells a tender and tragic story of courage.”
Ruth Townsend Story, author of five books about teaching English

“…a compelling account of unexpected loss. As a recent widow, I found her memoir comforting and helpful. For readers who have suffered loss, Nancy’s memoir is an important read.
Susan Dahlgren Daigneault, Ed.D., author of In the Shadow of a Mountain, A Soldier’s Struggle with PTSD.

“…a heartfelt story of love and loss, rendered in clear and beautiful prose. Its music will resonate in your heart long after you’re finished reading.”
Richard Cass, 2018 Maine Literary Award Winner

“…Her memoir is an amazing accomplishment offering help and hope to others suffering losses…”
Walden S. Morton, editor of KALEIDOSCOPE and a finalist for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance 2017 Maine Literary Award for Anthology


Awarded THE KIRKUS STAR – Memoirs of loss and survival are rather common, but what sets this one apart is Bills’ extraordinary perceptiveness and writing talent…. A keeper of a book by a talented author. Read more on

Out of six thousand entries, Chapter 19, “The Myth,” received first place in the memoir/personal essay category of the 83rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

Out of one thousand entries, Chapter 14, “Triage and Cows,” made the Top 25 list in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction competition in July/August 2016.