My mother's gift to me was Sunflowers by Sheramy Bundrick. It's an incredibly vivid, beautiful, sad book. It's historical fiction about the life of Van Gogh.
There's an excerpt I really like:
"It was peaceful, Mademoiselle, you need to know that. He lay there smoking his pipe, and we talked. About our childhood in Holland, about Jo and the baby, his paintings...and he told me about you. How important you were to him and how he wanted to marry you." A long silence, as if Theo was summoning the strength to continue. "Sometime after midnight, he said very quietly, 'La tristesse durera toujours,' closed his eyes, and it was over."
The sadness will last forever. His last words.
Bundrick created a much more beautiful version of "Pretty Woman" for this book. It has everything I love in a story...passion, madness, brilliance and struggle.