The husband of the late award-winning author Emma Hannigan has said he is “excited but sad” her final book is now ready to hit the bookshops.
The popular novelist who had 14 novels published died on March 3 last year following a very public 11 year battle with breast cancer.
The Wicklow native’s heart-wrenching social media post almost a year ago on February 16, which revealed that she was losing her cancer battle, saw an outpouring of emotion from thousands of members of the public, reading fans and authors both nationally and internationally.
Her husband Cian, posted on his wife’s official Facebook page saying, “'The gift of Friend’ arrived to us. A very proud yet sad time as we know it is her last.”
He recalled that if his wife had been still alive she would so “excited” with the latest book.
"At this time, Emma would be getting all excited and nervous. She would be in a frenzy of baking chocolate brownies and wrapping them up in fancy baskets with bows and glitter, they would be everywhere....
“She would then travel the country signing books and sweetening up the bookshop staff with treats as only she could. We really hope you enjoy her last gift to you - her friends. As it really is something special.”
The book centres around fractured families, unconditional love and the importance of friendship and will be in bookshops on February 28.
Thousands of people reacted positively to the news with hundreds commenting on Facebook with one fan saying,” I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy....mind you I haven’t managed to bring myself to read 'Letters to my Daughters' .... I’ve been saving it for a rainy day! Now I will have two of her precious books! I think of you all often Cian and miss Emma's posts.”
Another added: “Well that’s what Emma left us ‘The Gift of Friends’ and that is to be treasured. Friendship is wonderful, just like Emma was.”
In 2005, Emma discovered that she was carrying the Brca 1 cancer gene. This meant she had an 85 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer.
To reduce her risk to 5%, the brave mum opted for preventative surgery. In 2006 Emma had a double mastectomy and had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
However, in 2007, in spite of the surgery, she was diagnosed with cancer for the first time and her lengthy battle ensued.
Emma, who was an ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland (BCI) appealed to the public to donate to the charity in a bid to raise €100,000 two weeks prior to her death.
The fundraising campaign which began after the late author announced she had terminal cancer raised €126,000.
The mother of two’s book, ‘Letters to My Daughters’, just published prior to her death, went to No.1 across several categories on the best selling chart within days of her post letting the public know her fight with cancer was coming to an end.
When revealing her devastating news Emma said: “All good things must come to an end. The time that I knew was borrowed must be given back soon, so it seems.
“The conversation I never wanted to have has been said. “My medical team have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this fight but all avenues have now been exhausted.”
She spoke openly about her love for her children, son Sacha, daughter Kim, husband Cian, parents family, friends and fans adding that her love for them has been integral to her life.