This family memoir describes a woman’s search for her birth mother. Despite all Heather’s efforts while growing up, the truth was denied. She invented macabre reasons for the total secrecy, so frightening she kept them hidden.
Searching for Grace combines Heather’s vivid and often amusing memories of childhood in 1920s London with the story of two young people whose love is threatened by lies and hypocrisy.
Years later, living in New Zealand, Heather finally receives a letter confirming the identity of her birth mother. As the story opens in 1975 she is battling immigration officials to grant her special permission to travel to England to prove her identity. Without a birth certificate this is no easy task.
When Heather meets her birth family extraordinary facts emerge – and what Heather and Carol find is that appearances are one thing, truth another.
In the early 1980s Heather began to record her memories, but as she entered the shadowy realm of Alzheimer’s, her daughter Carol took over, continuing to tie together many of the missing strands of their story.
WHAT I THOUGHT
This book is lovely – physically. The size is perfect. The feel of the book when reading made me think I was reading something special – sorry, I can’t define it any better than that. The layout with pictures, chapters and text is just beautiful. I think the overall physical ‘feel’ of this book definitely adds to the reading experience and it ties in perfectly with the story being told. Well done, Carol, you obviously chose excellent people to present your wonderful work.
The pages of Searching for Grace hold many, many interesting happenings, including secrets revealed. You could be mistaken that you were reading a book of fiction but alas, this is a true story and Carol and Heather have that way with words which captures you, makes you turn that page and also makes you feel you are on this journey with the family.
I went through an array of emotions whilst reading this book; you name it, I pretty much felt it. There were times when I was sad and close to tears, other times I was happy and wearing a smile. Shocked and amazed featured, as well as empathy and sympathy. Anger, yes, that was there too. You have to remember this is Heather’s life we’re reading about and so it is no surprise that a reader would go through the emotions of life and also be able to appreciate certain feelings and circumstances which present themselves. I think this is testament to the great writing skills of Carol and Heather. To be able to describe happenings in such a way as to make the reader believe they know Heather in more than just a casual manner is quite the job and it has been carried out superbly, putting the right words in just the right places.
Carol and Heather worked closely on this project and what a fantastic thing to do as mother and daughter. I feel like Carol knew what her mother went through and had just the right understanding to put Heather’s life onto paper. I’m sure at times it would have been hard, especially hearing about some of the not so happy moments in Heather’s life, but in the end Carol has created a very special and very intimate memorial to her mother. I cannot even begin to imagine some of the conversations these two would have had, what a wonderful way to bond and create unique memories.
Carol, you are a wonderful woman with a wonderful writing ability. I thank you for inviting me into your life and Heather’s life. Searching for Grace, in my eyes, is seen as a celebration of Heather’s life and the relationship between mother and daughter. Thank you, Carol, it has been a pleasure.
You can purchase Searching for Grace by clicking the following links:
Or via Carol’s publishers by sending an email to info@SteeleRoberts.co.nz
More details are available on Carol’s website carolhenderson.co.nz