Book Summary:

Reclaiming Joy: a primer for widows
Nearly a million women are widowed each year in the United States. Hardly anyone is prepared for the days, months, and years that follow the loss.

New widows grieve, but they also battle psychological, spiritual, and social upheaval from all directions. From discovering a new identity to finding different ways to relate to old friends, life becomes unfamiliar. Practical changes—both legal and financial—are inevitable. Just as there’s no simple prescription that makes grief disappear, there is no clear way to address all the challenges widows face.

In Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows, Ella Wall Prichard writes the book she needed, but could not find, after her husband died. She recounts her turn to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, a letter that features joy as a source of comfort and hope—and shapes Reclaiming Joy.

Prichard offers practical advice on how to achieve joy. Each chapter focuses on a different trait needed to move from grief to joy. The primary narrative arc is spiritual, even though stories of struggle, conflict, and loss are recurrent themes.

Reclaiming Joy is part memoir, part guide, part inspiration. It captures the pain felt in the first years of widowhood in the move from grief to joy. It offers encouragement and advice to women who seek the strength to rebuild their lives and reclaim their joy.


In the Media

April 20, 2019 – Book review by Janet Schulte, director of tourism and culture, Nantucket. Read the full article here.

December 31, 2018 – Guest of Mark Elfstrand on “Let’s Talk,” WYLL Chicago, 4–6 p.m., listen at AM 1160 or online at 1160Hope.com.

November 16, 2018 – Ella discusses coping with the myriad business issues that confronted her immediately after her husband died with Fred Tromberg on “Life, the Law and Legal Matters.” Listen to full interview

November 1, 2018 – “Author of New Book for Widows Offers Help for Getting Through the Holidays,” PRWeb. Read full article here

October 28, 2018 – Ella describes her life before Lev, during 46 years of marriage and as a widow with longtime Phoenix broadcaster Pat McMahon on the God Show. Listen to full interview

October 23, 2018 – Ella discusses how Paul’s letter to the Philippians spoke to her during her journey from grief to joy on the Georgene Rice Show, KPDQ-AM & FM, 6:30–7 p.m., CDT, Portland, OR. Listen to the podcast here, skipping past the news segment at the beginning.

October 21: Longtime Amplify host Msgr. Ron Lengwin discusses the lessons learned in Reclaiming Joy with Ella, focusing on the role of faith in moving through grief. Listen to full interview

October 9: “Communication is everything [in holding the family together]. along with transparency, openness and honesty. This is where advisors can help.”   Ella’s interview with Adrienne M. Penta, “Reclaiming Joy with Ella Wall Prichard,” Women & Wealth Magazine. Read the full interview here

October 7: Ella talks about Reclaiming Joy—the despair of early grief, her spiritual journey from grief and the joy she found on Nantucket—with Scott Widmeyer of Cross Current on WNCK, Nantucket’s NPR station. Listen to full interview

October 4: “I wanted my life to be more than merely keeping on keeping on. I wanted a purpose in my life. I wanted to reclaim joy.” – Ella Wall Prichard, “How It’s Possible to Reclaim Joy (Even in the Grief of Widowhood,” Crosswalk.com. Read full excerpt here

September 25: Ella talks about why she wrote Reclaiming Joy, the role of faith in her life and the black hole of aloneness, along with advice for those who are still half a couple, in a local NPR interview with Stuart Jacoby of KEDT. Listen to Full Interview

September 24: “Truly, it’s a challenge to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a challenge to put one foot in front of you. It’s a challenge to go to the cemetery and pick out a grave stone. Who wants to do that? All of that takes courage.” Norman James, Baptist News Gobal. Read Full Article

September 22: “Ella Prichard Talks Grief, Acceptance, and Her New Book.” Baylor Line Foundation. Watch the Video

September 15: “I suspect grief counselors in churches and elsewhere around the country will find this book a must-have.” Bill Tammeus, “Faith Matters,” blog about religion and ethics. Read Full Review

September 4:
The Baylor Libraries invite you to attend the launch of “Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows,” written by proud Baylor Bear Ella Wall Prichard on Friday, Sept. 14. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the new Active Learning Lab in Moody Memorial Library. Read Full Press Release

September 2:
“In ‘Reclaiming Joy,’ Prichard untangles the spaghetti on the widow’s plate, compartmentalizes each topic and examines her grief while presenting a touching yet practical guideline offering hope for a positive outcome for any widow navigating her own loss.” – Ted Talley, book review, Her Magazine/Texarkana Gazette, summer issue. Read Full Review on pp. 36, 37

September 1:
“What separates Reclaiming Joy from any similar books is that it is aimed not just at the eight million widows in American life, but also their children, their siblings, their friends, and their churches. No death impacts only the partner who has been left behind. The ripples and recovery extend far and wide in both time and space.” – Robert F. Darden, book review, The Baylor Line, summer issue, p. 17. Read Full Review

August 17:
“Ella Prichard wrote Reclaiming Joy as a practical guide for widows—the book she needed but could not find when her husband of 46 years, Lev, died in 2009.” – Ken Camp, managing editor, Baptist Standard. Read Full Interview

August 15:
“As widows we can live on our memories of the past, or we can create opportunities to live with joyful anticipation—always one more thing on the calendar to look forward to. When we throw a party, we share that gift of anticipation with our friends. We can take those very events that are our sinkholes—holidays, anniversaries, long weekends—and turn them into keenly anticipated and enjoyed moments. And as we practice hospitality, we nurture strong relationships that enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.” – Ella Wall Prichard, “What I Wish People Knew About Grief,” Guideposts.org. Read Full Article

July 9: 
Reclaiming Joy makes the Publishers Weekly list of recommended nonfiction books on religion and spirituality.

“Baylor Univ. Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows by Ella Wall Prichard (Sept., hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-4813-0848-9). explores the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, a letter that features joy as a source of comfort and hope, as she grapples with the death of her husband.”

Jun 15:
Memoirs of Faith Seek to Find the Right Path
Religious and spiritual memoirs guide readers in search of inspiration
Featured in Publishers Weekly

May 29:
“A focused look at widowhood, this book is drenched in honesty and wise insights as she continues to move through stages of grief while adapting to new realities.”
– John D. Pierce, executive editor/publisher, Nurturing Faith Read Full Review