“Claire Bidwell Smith’s tender journey of love and loss will leave you feeling connected and hopeful.”
— David Kessler, co-author of ON GRIEF AND GRIEVING with Elisabeth Kübler Ross


A coming-of-age story that is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. 

In this astonishing debut, Claire Bidwell Smith, an only child, is just fourteen years old when both of her charismatic parents are diagnosed with cancer. By the time she is twenty-five years old they are both gone and Claire is very much alone in the world.

The Rules of Inheritance is a remarkable lesson on how to overcome some of life’s greatest hardships. Written with suspense and style, and bursting with love and adventure, The Rules of Inheritance vividly captures the deep grief and surprising light of a young woman forging ahead on a journey of loss that humbled, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

The Rules of Inheritance was nominated for a Books for a Better Life award and has been published in 17 countries.

In After This, acclaimed author, and therapist Claire Bidwell Smith confronts the question she encounters every day in private practice—what happens after we die?   

In an exploration of the afterlife that is part personal, part prescriptive—Smith invites us on her journey into the unknown. She wonders: How do we grieve our loved ones without proof that they live on? Will we ever see them again? Can they see us now, even though they are gone? Chronicling our steps along the path that bridges this world and the next, Smith undergoes past-life regressions and sessions with mediums and psychics and immerses herself in the ceremonies of organized religion and the rigor of scientific experiments to try and find the answers.

After This is unique in the power of the personal journey that underlies the book’s message. What we believe about what happens next affects everything about how we live–and love–right now.

“A brave and intelligent book about big loss and even bigger love. The gritty truth and hard-won grace in this beautiful memoir astonishes me.”

–Cheryl Strayed

“In this eloquent, smart, funny and deeply thoughtful book, Claire Bidwell Smith takes us on a powerful journey of discovery.  She asks the most important questions about life, love, death, and what it means to be human, and does so with equal measures of skepticism and a broken-open heart.  By doing so, she becomes an utterly trustworthy guide.  Reader, follow her.  You’ll be so glad you did.”

–Dani Shapiro, author of DEVOTION and STILL WRITING

“Claire Bidwell Smith, with her writer’s heart and therapist’s mind, has written a stunningly generous book alive with curiosity, humility, skepticism, and bravery. In After This you will teeter on the edge of the Spirit world; and whether you believe, or wish to, or simply can’t, Bidwell Smith has written the most inspiring book about death you will ever read.”

–Christa Parravani, author of HER: A MEMOIR

“Forget everything you think you know about grief. Smith’s memoir is the most honest book I’ve ever read about how loss unmoors, challenges and changes you, written in prose so exquisite it could be poetry. Dazzlingly brave and absolutely true.”

—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You