The Missing Pieces of Mum

The Missing Pieces of Mum

4.41 (144 ratings by Goodreads)
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A stolen past, a search for the truth, two lives changed forever

Born out of wedlock in Dublin in 1937, Phyllis grew up in a tough, church run orphanage. She thought by fulfilling her dream to become a nurse in England, her life might change, but her loveless childhood predisposed a loveless marriage and things began to spiral out of control for her and for her daughter, Sally.

Looking for the answers to why both their lives went so spectacularly wrong, led Sally to ask questions about the real identity of her mother: "Who was she? Why was she abandoned... I needed to find answers before it was too late."

After a mission lasting nearly a decade of searching archives and contacting various organisations, charities and anyone who would listen, Sally finally uncovered the truth.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 33.02mm | 281.23g
  • Mardle Books
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1914451015
  • 9781914451010
  • 571,763

Review quote

"The heart of this story is the author's mother, Phyllis, who grew up in an orphanage in Ireland, and subsequently endured a loveless marriage and never was able to feel like she belonged anywhere. As an adult her daughter begins the search for her mother's long lost family. The story is heart wrenching and tackles many social injustices. The first how her mother had ended up in the home in the first place, and then how difficult it was to get any information due to bureaucracy and government. This book is well written and informative. A beautiful tribute from Sally to her mother, who she clearly loved very dearly." * Netgalley * "Beautiful family story with lots of twists and turns. Very interesting, unpredictable and kept you hooked with every chapter. This was an emotional journey that was written very well." * Netgalley * "A 5 star read.

Sally Herbert's mum had been abandoned as a baby, and was brought up in an orphanage. The author is middle aged and now is time to find out more about her roots. Sally had got interested in genealogy, and started to trace her family history.

A family story with many twists and turns; hardship. Although I've read a few true stories with similar subject matter, this wasn't all the same again, it was unpredictable, and very interesting and intriguing.

An excellent book with so many threads to it- not just the trying to trace her mum's birth mother etc.

An emotional journey, very well-written, and an absorbing read."

* Netgalley * "Heartbreaking tale of an abandoned baby and a daughter's search for the truth about her mother's past

The Missing Pieces of Mum is a heartbreaking true story of an abandoned baby and a daughter's search for more information about her mother's past. I felt as though I was reading the transcript of an episode of Long Lost Family - the television programme helping foundlings track down their personal history and reuniting separated family members.

The details of Phyllis and her childhood years in a brutal orphanage, followed by a troubled marriage, left me in tears. Especially when her daughter, Sally, finally managed to find some answers after a decade of searching for the truth, just as it seemed that time was running out.

The Missing Pieces of Mum is a fascinating and compelling story that reads like fiction. It's packed with despair, love, suspense, twists and turns, and family secrets. And it's also a story of hope and fighting against the odds, with Phyllis achieving her dream of becoming a nurse.

A well-written book that tugs at the heartstrings and refuses to let go - not easily forgotten." * Love Reading * "What an extraordinary tale; part memoir, part genealogical discovery Sally Herbert documents what is known, and unknown, about the life of her mother Phyllis.

Phyllis was born in 1937 and by the time she was 16 had two different birthdates, either March or December of that year. Her early life was dominated by institutions firstly the Bethany House where she'd been born to an unmarried mother and secondly the church-run orphanage, both in Ireland. Yet, by some measure Phyllis had been lucky she had a 'Guardian' a devout protestant well-wisher who paid for her education and kept an eye on her early adulthood. Phyllis always wondered if her attention was due to more than her faith.

Sadly, after a difficult start, Phyllis's adulthood was also full of woes and that in turn meant that her daughter Sally had a difficult upbringing too but mother and daughter remained close. This book is testament to that and Sally's determination to find out who Phyllis's mother really was...

An engaging read which relates the difficulties faced by many of those named, without sinking into misery memoir field." * Netgalley * "The moving and heartwarming story of a love that's close to my heart - a mother and daughter. A must-read!" * Phyllis Whitsell, author of Finding Tipperary Mary and A Song For Bridget * "Hail Sally for all her hard work, passion and patience in searching for her beloved mother's family.

This memoir is written with warmth and humour, and I would recommend it to anyone trying to solve a genealogy mystery." * Netgalley * "What a beautifully written book. I feel honoured to have taken this journey to find answers into Phyllis' life.

Sally writes with such empathy and compassion and handles some really hard hitting issues with the utmost respect.

It's a heartbreaking read and one that will stay with me." * Karen and her Books, Blogger * "A tale of hopeful resilience." * Buzz Magazine * 'Sally's words were an emotional journey into the past, written with feeling and heart. Seamlessly weaving history into compelling storytelling, I was gripped and moved to tears, truly proving the power of discovering where you came from, and how it can shape your future.' * FindMyPast, Ellie Overthrow-Jones * 'An absorbing read.... I felt genuine pleasure that she was able to find answers to her questions.' * Family Tree Magazine *
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About Sally Herbert

Sally Herbert was born in 1962 and grew up in Surrey, before moving to Sussex. She lives with her partner Phil, and elderly cat, The Big Boy, and works for an animal charity. After nearly a decade of searching for her long-lost family, she likes nothing better than to make trips to Ireland for reunions. When she is not doing that, she enjoys going for walks on The South Downs and researching her ever expanding family tree.
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Rating details

144 ratings
4.41 out of 5 stars
5 60% (87)
4 24% (35)
3 12% (18)
2 1% (2)
1 1% (2)
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