Reviewer Fran Lewis:
Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing
Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters degrees and
a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently. She is a member of
Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's
Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition,
she is the author of three children's books and a fourth Alzheimer’s
book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s story
in honor of her mom. Fran
hopes to create more awareness for a cure of Alzheimer.
She was also the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school's newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of my reviews on Ezine.com and on ijustfinished under the name Gabina. Follow Here To Listen to Fran's Radio Show and Here
Author: Fiona Sussman
are supposed to protect and nurture their children. Some are given
every opportunity to care for their child and yet others face
struggles and demands that many would and should never endure. Celia
Mphephu realizes that she is a black servant and understands the
limitations placed upon her and child. Within her own world she works
in a white suburbs in Johannesburg in the 60’s in order to send
money and help to her family. Raising and rearing her daughter,
Miriam gives her pride and joy. But, the couple she works for see
Miriam as someone that can replace the child they lost and with the
uprising, violence and riots taking place they convince Celia to give
up their daughter, claiming she has other children and state that
they can give her a better life in England. Finding another job when
her employer’s leave would prove difficult and the little money she
received from them hardly enough to allow her to start a new life.
Throughout the novel you hear two voices that of Miriam and Celia as each one battles with their daily lives, their family strife and as Miriam learns more about a the Steiners you begin to wonder why they adopted her. She was more like a trophy that Rita won than the daughter she would nurture and care for. As the years go by Miriam befriends a young Indian girl named Zelda and her family becomes part of her life and more than her own. Celia meanwhile is struggle with her own life, identity and hoping to find a way to get her daughter back but the documents she shows to the people who can help her only alienate her even more. How far would a mother go to protect her child? Would you do what Celia did? Miriam feels out of place in England, a young boy takes advantage of her; Rita betrays her trust and things spiral out of control. The author brilliantly takes us back in time to where the riots took place, prejudice was prevalent and a young six year old child loses the one person who made her feel safe.
author allows readers to hear Celia’s voice as she struggles to
understand why her son Christian has to leave home, his hopes of
being a doctor and the tragic end will anger readers as you learn
more about the time period, the prejudice and the focus comes back to
Miriam. Feeling that Rita really does not want her or ever did she
meets a young man named David and their relationship blossoms until
she realizes what she has to do. Learning about her roots, finding
her mother and going back to Africa ignites a fear and hate in Rita
that will separate them forever. But, with Michael’s help she
learns about the letters her mother sent, the package with so many
memories and a mother’s fears and tears.
The author continues with the journey as the years pass and Miriam changes her name back to her given name but not before we learn Celia’s fate and the kindness bestowed upon her by a white family. Searching for who she is and learning about her past sends her back to a place where Apartheid rules and the hope of finding her mother as choices are made and lives will forever change. When Miriam learns why her mother sent her away and allowed her to be adopted will she understand that it was a mother’s love? Africa proved to be a real awakening for Miriam as she and a young journalist travel to search and find her mother but to no avail. Addresses given of her former employers her hopes squashed and what she witnesses in the streets and hospitals is heartbreaking and heart wrenching. Watching a child die and seeing people beaten in the streets and not experiencing the true meaning of freedom and being alive, Miriam learns the definition of being Black and being considered a second class citizen. Sad that people are judged by the color of their skin and their class.
Thabo was her outlet and her link to her mother when they learned where she might be from the white woman who took her in and saved her life. Sylvia Eloff would be forever remembered; as would her friend Zelda but now she would learn about her three brothers and decide where she belongs. The scenes are quite graphically depicted, the research into the time period extensive and a young girl named Miriam who need to learn the truth and the secrets that come up will hopefully define who she is and will become. An ending so compelling and gripping with a twist you won’t expect and a tragedy that will bring tears to you eyes as the author creates images that will remain in your heart and mind as you take the journey with Miriam to find herself and her true identity. Two women: Celia and Miriam each wanting only one thing: Each other!