I have previously read and posted on several short stories by Emma Donoghue (Dublin, 1969) and her novel about an Air India hostess, Landings. I was very happy to find two of her short stories included in an anthology of short stories I have.
"The Gift" is a an epistolatory short story. This is not a format one sees much at all so I was very curious to read the story. It begins in March 1877 in New York City, a single mother writers a letter to a children's home telling them her heart breaks but she must give them custody of her daughter for whom she cannot care. I was fascinated by the letters from the home to the mother in which we could see the daughter slowly develop. We also can follow the life of the mother as she marries and tries to get her daughter back. A wonderful loving couple on a farm in Iowa adopt the girl and we see her develop. There is great sadness in the story as we see the great pain in the letters of her mother but the great gift of true asking for nothing in return love given to the daughter by her adoptive parents was deeply moving.
I have a copy of her historical novel Slammerkin and I hope to read it soon.