Secret Storms

Secret Storms : A Mother and Daughter, Lost Then Found

4.35 (174 ratings by Goodreads)
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An Indie Reader Discovery Award and National Indie Excellence Book Award Winner.

A pregnant, nineteen-year-old Philadelphia Main Line debutante is confined, against her will, to a state mental hospital. She spends her pregnancy surrounded by the mentally challenged and the criminally insane. On April 19, 1964, she gives birth to a child, whom she is forced to give up for adoption.

A loving middle-class couple adopts a month-old little girl from Catholic Charities. She is adored and cherished from the very beginning. It is as though she is dropped into the first chapter of a fairy tale-- but we all know how fairy tales go.

This is the story of a mother and daughter. Of what it is to give up a child and what it is to be given up. Of what it is to be a family, and to never lose hope-- because anything is possible. In this award-winning memoir, Julie Mannix von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield recount the stories of their lives. Written in two distinct and deeply expressive voices, their stories seamlessly meld together toward a breathtaking ending.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 346 pages
  • 140 x 214 x 26mm | 419.99g
  • English
  • 55 Illustrations; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0985735805
  • 9780985735807
  • 582,955

Review quote

"The book shifts between sections narrated by mother von Zerneck and daughter Hatfield, and both authors have gripping stories to tell. Readers will delight in their shared narrative, which is as heartwarming as it is engaging. von Zerneck's life alone would be a fascinating read, but combined with Hatfield's search for her mother it becomes compulsive reading." -Publishers Weekly "The book is beautifully written and...compelling, to the extent that readers might feel they are sitting with the authors, listening to them tell their tale...more like a novel than a memoir." -ForeWord Reviews "Shining through both narratives is goodness and the power of the human spirit. A dually narrated, uplifting tale on overcoming profound adversity." -Kirkus Reviews "This story will break your heart, bring on tears of joy, and make you believe in the healing power of love, forgiveness, and family." -Meredith Rollins, Executive Editor, Redbook Magazine "A heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming mother-daughter story that defies fiction. Every plot twist, every emotion touches a chord, even for those of us who have not had to endure such a brutal separation. Read it and weep-and then finally rejoice. An ode to the enduring power of family ties." -Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means "In my writers' workshops, the greatest gospel I can preach is the obvious one-to tell the truth, whatever form it takes. This amazing mother-daughter writing team exemplifies the concept to the max. The plot is Dickensian, rife with villains and struggle, the revealing of it, breathtaking in its simplicity and heartbreaking in its courage. What a story." -Ernest Thompson, Academy Award-winning writer of On Golden Pond "What an extraordinary and compelling story, all the more so because it's true-and told so beautifully by its two heroines." -Alice Maltin, producer & Leonard Maltin, film critic and correspondent for Entertainment Tonight "This is an uplifting story of hope and personal courage that is sure to resonate with most readers." -Monsters and Critics
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About Kathy Hatfield

Julie Mannix von Zerneck was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She traveled with her parents, living in Paris, on the Isle of Capri and in several boarding schools around the world, before settling down at Sunny Hill Farm at the age of nine. There, she lived with a menagerie of animals, including a cheetah and eagle and her very own baby spider monkey. After attending the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, she became an actress on Broadway, had running roles in three soap operas and guest starred on many TV series. She is married to the TV producer, Frank von Zerneck. They have three children and four grandchildren and reside in Toluca Lake, California, where, for 26 wonderful years, they were the owners of Portrait of a Bookstore. She is a lifelong collector of antiques and antiquarian books.
Kathy Hatfield was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up surrounded by two brothers, twenty-five cousins, and two sets of grandparents in Indialantic, Florida. She attended Florida Atlantic University, after which she worked as a mortgage broker while running her own small business selling men's neckties. She now teaches World Literature at a high school in Florida where she serves as English department chairman. She and her husband of 25 years live in a quaint beachside community with their two daughters. She is a freelance writer and moderator of the Adoption Reunion Stories Facebook page, which currently has over 2,800 members. She's a competitive runner and participates in 5k races when she's not correcting papers.
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Rating details

174 ratings
4.35 out of 5 stars
5 55% (96)
4 32% (55)
3 9% (16)
2 2% (3)
1 2% (4)

Our customer reviews

As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Book Reviews. Did I enjoy this book: I cried - and not just sniffly, easily hidden tears, either. We're talking full blown, red-nosed, blood shot eyed weeping. So... I guess that's a yes. I'm desperately in love with my own son - partly because it was so difficult to get him here - and I've found that I now have a squishy spot in my heart for stories about mothers who love their offspring. But. Enough with the sentimentality. Here's the low down: Both women have excellent grammar (and you know how snobby I am about grammar!). Both have exceptionally poignant imagery (it's like they're related). Both tell their stories with honesty, humor, and just the right amount of emotion. The writing is superb, and this book is wonderful. Each woman's story could stand alone, but together... well, together they've turned their story into a fairytale. I'm almost certain that if my mother and I tried to write a book together her half would be about blue teapots and craft projects and my half would be about whiskey and swearing. On the other hand, we both love our kids desperately, and we both love music, and had we lived apart for most of my life, I bet we'd find we have a lot more in common than we think. I could tell the story of my mom and I. It might even be slightly interesting to someone. Von Zerneck and Hatfield's story, though, gets the first ever five star rating from me. I'm in love (and also, I really think I need a pet monkey)! Would I recommend it: Yes, definitely! My husband decided, based on the title, that this book was for women only, but I'd bet a bottle of scotch he'd be hooked if he read the first few chapters. Will I read it again: Next time I need a good cry, this is on my top ten list of Things to Read. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)show more
by Chrissy
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