Pam Arnold Powers, Des Moines, IA
"What's Better Than This?" answers the question many ask; why am I here? I believe Lorraine presents us with the answer: To love and be loved fully, faithfully, truly … recklessly. I treasure your story.
Jamie Marshall, Greenwich, CT
A deft writer, Lorraine allows readers a break with brief moments of levity but good God, how they all survived the year of Mackey’s illness … it was super powerful and emotionally gut-wrenching - something that touched me in a deep, visceral way.
Stacey Vaughn, Pleasant Valley, NY
This book literally changed by life. I live differently as a result of reading it. There are things I wouldn’t have done that I am now brave enough to do. The strength and courage exemplified in this book is something that I draw from on a daily basis to keep me strong!
Jan Demuth, Thousand Islands, NY
"What's Better Than This?" is one of the best books I've ever read, by far! .… In a little over a year, two people were somehow able to fit in a lifetime of love that will never be forgotten. This exquisitely written memoir somehow turns a heartbreaking situation into a beautiful love story. Full of hope and inspiration, reading this book has enriched my life. Thank you, Lorraine, for sharing this very intimate and tender story.
Maria Papola Megdal, Boston, MA
I was honored to read one of the very first versions of your memoir. The latest is even better. The narrative of your journey is honest, candid, humorous and compassionate... a perfect expression of YOU. I am so impressed with what you have accomplished in spite of obstacles that would have deterred most others. You rock!!
Edmond Culhane, Clifton Park, NY
I am usually not one for "love stories", but to me, this was not an "old sense love story," but rather a trek through courage, tenacity, devotion and of course a love beyond measure. It is a tale of an incredibly sad journey, beautifully told, with the same intensity as your love for your Tom Mackey. If there were A Medal Of Honor for exceptional love and devotion, Lorraine Salmon would be wearing it.
Kelly Mosher, Red Hook, NY
An amazing book. Had to read it in one sitting without putting it down - laughing, crying, completely blown away by your ability to reflect on, share and draw us into your most intimate, heart-rending moments. Even knowing the ending before I ever started reading, I nonetheless found myself hoping against all odds for a different finale. A love story for the ages!
AnnMarie Vosburgh, Rhinebeck, NY
One of the best love stories I’ve ever read. It’s hysterical and sad. It is an oxymoron. Anyone would want to experience it and yet, someone dies. The writing is so condensed and yet like a firecracker, it explodes with the worst possible experiences with only vulnerability and raw emotion to help us recover. And yet, we want more. And more again…. Just start the book, it will take care of itself.
Roseann Moore, Red Hook, NY
Gut-wrenching and catapults the reader through a myriad of emotions throwing us from each page to the next, driving our reading from chapter to chapter in search of what will happen next.
Charlotte Annie Howley, Denver, CO
You’ve written something really special and I am excited for the world to hear your story!
Art Schad, Easton, CT
What a story! The delicate balance of love, patience, perseverance and respect shines through this memoir that touches one emotion after another as each individual page is turned.
Lorraine seems to have accomplished something that the rest of us often take a lifetime to perfect, unconditional love with her soulmate. Galvanized by her journey with Mackey, in the end, we are left with a strong yet vulnerable woman, made even stronger.
Susan J. York, Woodstock, NY
As a former cancer patient and avid reader, this is the guidebook I'd want every caretaker to have read wrapped up in a love story that everyone would want to be part of. I couldn’t put the book down. I read without napping until 3:30am! I laughed, I cried, I sobbed for these characters - loved it!
It is the steamy second chance romance so many of us have looked for after earlier relationship failures, finding the person who will be “the one” you can count on to be there no matter what. It is the memoir of the love we all want coupled with tragedy of a main character who gets cancer. It is Erich Segal’s Love Story for middle aged baby boomers, the folks who saw the original movie and still buy books to talk about in their book clubs. It’s the anti Sunshine from the same time frame.
What’s Better Then This? is written in a voice that is accessible with moments of the profound. With characters representing both successful professionals and blue collar workers, readers will find a character they can connect with. It has the air of Bridges of Madison County, and Me Before You, a love story cut short in this case by cancer– yet it’s even more poignant because it’s true. If this book gets the right cast it will make a hell of a movie.
Cathy Seifert, South Orange, NJ
What an incredible piece of work this is. I was sobbing by the time I finished it. Lorraine, you are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing this book with me. It's a beautiful story.
JoAnne Parisian, Saugerties, NY
I was so moved by your memoir. I was hoping for a miracle. Your writing is so honest and intimate that I was totally drawn into your world... will be a bestseller!
Muriel Toucey, Marshfield. MA
It was difficult to put your book down!! I could feel your joy in meeting Mackey and how it felt like the perfect relationship. I cried a lot too, but it was the raw emotion of your writing that had me turning the pages! I felt as though I was actually there witnessing your relationship. I also loved that on New Year's Eve you scattered Mackey's ashes, while I was actually reading that part on New Year's Eve!! I just felt like I was traveling with you through the entire book! Thank you for the privilege of reading your personal story.
Carrie Weledniger, Rego Park, NY
Lorraine and Mackey’s story of love, hope, courage and devotion was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I loved journeying with them, even through the heartbreak. I couldn’t put it down and yet had to at times. I cried for two days!!
Lorraine, you are truly an inspiration to all who know you and had the honor of reading your story... headed straight to the New York Times best seller list.
Dennis & Joyce O'Brien, Kingston, NY
Your memoir will serve as an inspiration to anyone who reads it and who has struggled with loss. Life is never easy and we suspect everyone has been through sad and difficult times. This memoir shows that even in sad times there is joy, laughter, and hope for the future. New readers should be prepared to shed many tears and go through many tissues....we certainly did in this page turning-unable to put down book.
Mike Boyer, Kingston, NY
I don’t usually read nonfiction stories, but I’m glad I read this one... ran the gamut of emotions – happiness, love, fun, sadness, anger, forgiveness.
Jordyn Whitman, Tivoli, NY
Reading this has changed my outlook on life in a few short days. I couldn't stop reading and found myself relating to a lot of your memories. Thank you for writing such an incredible story; I know that it must have been difficult to share so much of your life. I know that this story is going to help so many people realize the good things in life.
Nancy Ehrman Mariani, White Plains, NY
Read straight through. So poignant and beautiful. You have such a way with words!!!
Kathy Yanas, Albany, NY
A love story full of joy, laughter, playful romance and, at times, crushing heartache. It made me laugh, cry, and ponder the absolute beauty of two people falling in love and committing themselves to each other.
Meg Cusumano, Maybrook, NY
I could not put this down! When someone can touch your very core, and grab your heart as you did, it is a wonderful and powerful thing.
Guy Cusumano, Maybrook, NY
I have never had a book make me cry until now. This book touched me deeply.
Lou Buffalino, Long Island, NY
... seriously you are killing me. Making me cry in front of my wife. My wife and sister-in-law could not put the book down in spite of all the crying. Everyone read the book this week at the beach. There were no dry eyes. Great story.
Mary Willis with her daughter Sarah,
Cape Cod, MA
I literally couldn’t put down. What struck me most was your honesty and guts and Mackey’s irresistible loveliness and “lovingness.” Your love story is up there with Romeo & Juliet, Tristan & Isolde, and better than Love Story.
Nikki Gastineau, Bloomington, IN
I am in awe of this memior and Lorraine’s last few days with Mackey. How many of us find a love so pure and complete? Pure love.
Laurel Martinez, Red Hook, NY
Whenever I think back on what I read and reread, I shiver with raw emotion and wonder. That is what sets a writer apart from others, months after reading, we still can feel that.
Donald Carey, Bedford, NY
You just blew me away – Just the chance to have the experience this book provides, to get the chance to live with you as you went through the beautiful beginning with Mackey and quite frankly, the beautiful end. From someone who has seen way too many people leaving us too early, there is such important giving that goes on for the person who is ill and for those around them. Your book is amazing.
Renee Ure, Morrisville, North Carolina
I absolutely love the way Lorraine writes! I didn’t know Mackey but I know I would have loved him. This book made me laugh & cry. Lorraine is extremely talented and a true role model for all women. The adversity she has faced and overcome is amazing. You have a big fan here!
Katie McDevitt, Levittown, NY
I felt an array of emotions throughout my reading of this book. The author invoked every feeling she must have felt during the time ... into the reader. I laughed, I had little chuckles to myself, fought back tears half the time (was at work), then felt anger and peace by the end. An amazing read.
Ellen Reinhard, Kingston, NY
I can’t begin to tell you how emotional this book is. This is one of the greatest love stories.
Laurie Walden, Georgetown, Texas
I read this book straight through and I loved it! This story was so sad, but I felt so happy reading it knowing you found Mackey!
Karen Porcelli, Woodstock, NY
I couldn't put this book down... I needed to read it several times a day, as I became engrossed in the story from the beginning to end! I felt that while I was reading the story, I was also part of the journey, it was no longer Lorraine and Mackey, it became Lorraine, Mackey & Karen. It was emotional, compassionate, and altruistic to a lot of our lives. I found the love, joy and the hard fight of spirit and saw at the end that the Spirit of Two became One.
Francine Kolbinski, Saugerties, NY
... made me so grateful for the relationships I have in my life. It made me want to hold my family really close, not out of fear but out of the knowledge that I now have from reading your book, that there is so much love to share in this lifetime.
Bridget Turpin, Ft Valley, VA
A beautiful book. I love reading about this beautiful whirlwind romance that continues to melt your heart even in sickness and pain and all that a slowly ebbing death brings. This is the most wonderfully written, poignant, beautiful love story and tragedy I have ever read. And the whole story just follows me, haunts me, as I know it does any reader. And the damn ending!!!! My heart is still so totally broken about that ending! Beats any fairy tale I've ever read.
Diane Quinn, Union Beach, NJ
I can't remember the last time I devoured a book. It was riveting. I laughed and cried and I was totally enthralled with your love story. It deeply affected me. I loved the Target scene. Your unmatched ability to step up for love makes me introspective. The Fred chapter was such a lovely tribute to boyhood and manhood friends. Fabulous.
Fran Conway, New York, NY
Lorraine and Mackey remained in my consciousness for so long after reading... Beautifully and tenderly written, illuminating Lorraine’s warrior strength, power, courage, steely determination, integrity, a quiet dignity and most of all living fiercely. You are truly a spiritual being having a most human experience.
Carmella Ciullo Knauss, Poughkeepsie, NY
I couldn't take my eyes away from the words. I couldn't leave Mackey and Lorraine. I couldn’t wait to see where their journey took them.
Kimberly Ross, Fayetteville, GA
I sobbed for a majority of this book ... it is so real, so beautiful and you truly get wrapped up in Lorraine and Mackey's love. I think anyone going through a similar situation would gain something from reading your words.
Dayna Barrett, Red Hook, NY
I absolutely loved this book. I didn't want to put it down. I think that this memoir will be able to help many people who have a family member who is going or has gone through cancer. I cried because I knew exactly how Mackey’s sons felt. I smiled because it helped me remember certain times with my Dad.
Lynn Makris, Rockville, MD
It is a great read on so many levels--a true story filling me with empathy and some reminiscing. I laughed, I cried, I felt for everyone! This book made me think about the big picture of someone’s life and the little tiny pieces of each day that can make any day the most special moment of someone’s life.
Mike McGarty, Birmingham, AL
I enjoyed the book a great deal. It is a real page-turner and a real tear-jerker too. Every chapter made me cry so I wasn’t able to read the damn thing anytime except right before bed. (I do have a certain manly reputation to uphold.) Lorraine and Mackey have loved and been loved in a way so many others never experience.
Betty Barker, Kennett Square, PA
Oh my goodness. I couldn't put this book down. I felt like I was with Lorraine and Mackey on this journey, in person, witnessing and feeling all the joy and emotions between them. You were both so courageous and fought so hard to beat the ugly disease of cancer so Mackey could be there for his boys.
Stephanie Ragucci, Methuan, MA
You have a wonderful way with words – they flow from the pages and create an amazing visual while reading. Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down! I found myself thinking about what was happening in the book when I wasn’t even reading it. And days after I had finished, I found myself thinking about what was happening with the characters and the story because you made us feel like we were right there in the book with you. I can’t wait to see this in bookstores and to review it on Amazon!
Ray Appleby, Syracuse, NY
As one of the Advance Readers, I can say, the author does not need my help. I planned to make notes for her as I read. I quickly abandoned that plan because I did not want to stop reading. I feel an admiration and love for Lorraine that can only come from believing I know her... this memior did just that.
Amanda Santamaria, Long Island, NY
Omg! The book was beautiful! Besides the story line being beautiful at the end of every chapter it left me wanting to read more! I couldn't put it down!! And it was seriously like a Nicholas Sparks story … only real!
Mary Tribble, Matthews, NC
Congratulations on telling your story in such a direct, truthful, and compelling way! I cried and laughed out loud, something that doesn’t always happen when I’m reading. It’s a tragically beautiful story.
Kate Hammersly Helman, Sudbury, MA
Lorraine weaves a winding tale of love, joy, and loss. It is at once touching and hysterical so I was laughing through my tears. Lorraine has a beautiful knack of placing the reader in the scene with ease. She shows how people can become their best self in tumultuous times.
Jim Marino, Bayville, NY
This is not a Nicholas Sparks fantasy, this was real life in all its glory--in its un-airbrushed truth! The author told the story in a most honest way, poking fun at herself, doubting her decisions, fighting with her conscience. I shed tears at the end, for all involved, but the goodbye scene, at the bedside with Ryan did me in.
Lisa Bain Ramos, Pleasanton, CA
OMG!!! Really amazing... both nostalgic and brand new.
Frank Bauer, Kingston, NY
... really great, quick read. I loved the honesty---how the words flowed---and the universal appeal of the story. I loved it all. I was touched by the ending. It was perfect.
Patty Curry, Hudson Valley, NY
A brilliant, must-read memoir filled with the full gamut of emotion. It is beautifully written, a well-crafted story captivating from start to finish. Thank you for your generosity in sharing this intimate portrait of your love for Mackey. Your courage and compassion are profoundly evident throughout.
Donna Buccino Yerry, Rhinebeck, NY
I was so amazed at Lorraine's journey through life. Even when your relationship was in its infancy it was apparent that you and Mackey were soul mates. This memoir details your very intimate thoughts and emotions, which you share so unselfishly. A real page turner. Even though we know the very sad ending, we cannot help but feel that life was celebrated to its fullest.
Alyssia Mondello, Florida State University
You put the reader inside of your thoughts, even for an eighteen-year-old girl who doesn't know the first thing about being in love or losing someone so important to you. This is truly a story I will never forget.
Joan Mauro, Glasco, NY
Wow! You had me from the prologue. I couldn't put this book down. Intense and so emotional. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Alicia Collins, Kingston, NY
Lorraine Salmon trusted the universe right until the end. Mackey and Lorraine gave so much of themselves, sharing a lifetime of love in only months. Loving the other so much so that when they needed to make room for others, somehow they could, even though, as a reader, we are helpless as we watch them be torn apart. Lorraine teaches us to make the best of life even when the oranges are bad.
Sue Lydon, Elizaville, NY
Once I started, I had such a hard time putting this book down. Let's just say there were a few late, late nights of reading. This is a wonderful story. I can not wait to see it on bookshelves, everywhere.
Donna Mahoney, Rhinebeck, NY
This was an amazing book. It was so real. A must read.
Sharon Pierce, Sherrill, NY
... made me want to love the people I love more completely! You and Mackey had the kind of love between you in a short time that most people never find in a lifetime! I feel honored to have read your story.
Michael Baden, Kerhonkson, NY
Such passionate gut wrenching sadness but yet joyful at the same time. I felt every moment of your experience. Every word was visualized by me as well. Thank you for sharing your love with us... a moving masterpiece of human emotion.
Bill Hesse, Natick, MA
I just read your book and Holy #$%&, I couldn’t put it down! Gut wrenching and extremely well written. It was so natural and yet it seems like it must have been like childbirth to write it.
Lorie Appleby, East Nassau, NY
Visceral. I felt the excitement of Lorraine and Mackey’s affection for each other, even the sensation of being in the room or the car, on the train, or in the bed with them as they courageously pursue the most that any day offers.
Ginny Robinson, East Windham, NY
An emotional roller coaster that pulls you into each chapter from the last. There is no getting off until the ride is over. It's a sad story that makes you happy. I'll never forget this love story.
Beth DiPasquale, Red Hook, NY
Left me exhausted, elated, devastated, and hopeful ...all at the same time. It reminded me to take nothing for granted.
Zoie Figueroa, Rhinebeck, NY
Thank you for the privilege of reading... The writing is very well paced, emotional, revealing, and honestly friendly. I read it cover to cover in a weekend and I'm very grateful that I did!
Laura Cashman, Chicago, IL
More than a true love story, I read the whole Memoir one Sunday afternoon on the hammock. The amount of unselfishness, courage, hope, love and happiness you had, have and share with your reader’s is truly remarkable. The title draws you in, as it sets the tone for the story on how through the eyes of a loved one diagnosed with a life threatening disease shares his emotions and love for Lorraine and never lets Lorraine forget that there is nothing better than what they have together. She takes us on her emotional journey as she experiences true love, loss and healing of Tom Mackey. This Memoir, read through tears and laughter, is full of important life lessons; taking nothing for granted, give and takes; family and work and the acts of kindness. It is heart wrenching and will make you laugh and cry and feel the pain both she and “Superman” endured. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience what unselfishness true love really is.
Hear From Some of the People You Will Meet in What's Better Than This?
Mike and Mary Quinn, Kingsport, TN
Michael and I met Lorraine on Easter Sunday in 2011. Friends of Mackey's for some 40 years, we had no prior information about their relationship or how they met, however, in only hours, their devotion became apparent. Mackey shared with Michael privately, his love for Lorraine and then he shared the gravity of his diagnosis.
Two years later, Lorraine was again, visiting us, sitting on our sofa. We told her we loved her from the day we met, and that we could not believe we never saw Mackey again after that day. She told us that her grief had been incapacitating until she had begun writing to deal with it. We asked if she would share some of her work and Michael and I spent the next four hours, into the late hours of the night, in each other's arms, crying and laughing as Lorraine read from her pages and we witnessed the hysterical coming together and tearing apart that was Mackey and Lorraine.
We read this over and over. It is an unusual, comfortable, combination of grief and medicine; laughter and satisfaction; love and loss. We think you will think so too.
Regina Kelly, Bard College, NY
My sister and I met Lorraine at a funeral home during our mother’s wake, I was eight years old, my sister was twenty-one. I don’t remember much from that day, but my sister says she remembers Lorraine approaching her in a long black coat, and in her head Rachael said, “you’re going to help us.” That’s exactly what she did — Lorraine saves people.
In telling her story of life with Mackey, you cannot help but feel her magic. She writes with honesty and nakedness — and what you find with that is tragedy’s secret; humor. Each chapter carries a deluge of feeling — engulfing you in this glorious flood of love, hope, gloom, joy, darkness, and light. Lorraine is the lantern in a dark forest — read What’s Better Than This? and you too will find the lantern. Thank you Lorraine, for sharing your magic and being free — you are a gift.