Archive for May, 2015
My Secret Sister by Helen Edwards & Jenny Lee Smith
Set in Northern England, Jenny was adopted at six weeks old into a loving and kind family who adored her. As an only child, she was doted on and given every opportunity a youngster could have. She was athletic and became not only a competitive swimmer, but also a champion golfer with many titles to her name.
At the same time, Helen lived with her parents and older brother, George, with loving extended family nearby. In the house though, Helen lived a nightmare at the hands of her abusive father and disdainful and self-centered mother. She wasn’t even an after-thought, even when she was very ill and needed caring. George was the only one in the home who showed her any kindness and when he escaped the homes in his mid-teens, Helen was left to take the full brunt of her uncaring parents.
Jenny and Helen recount their life’s story in every other chapter. Both stories are riveting and the contrast in their lives is very noticeable as the chapters unfold, one following the other. There is no “poor me” in any of the telling, just many secrets, lies, deception and the final piece of the puzzle. Neither was who they thought they were.
Jenny didn’t find out until she was about 14 that she was adopted when a cousin blurted out that she had no status in the family because she wasn’t really a member of the family and her “Mam wasn’t her real Mam.” She was shocked to learn the truth. Jenny eventually set out to find out more and learned about Helen. Several more years would pass before she acted on the information she had.
Some 55 years after their families had grown and both families had moved all over the world, and armed with the hints and tips both women had picked up over the years, they set out independently and then together, once they had made contact with each other, to find out more about their beginnings. This engaging and moving true story highlights the human spirit and will to believe, reach and achieve that can exist within us. Helen and Jenny’s story is brave and inspiring. I just couldn’t put the book down.
Pictures are included in the book.
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