A pregnant, upper class 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 belong, what it is to be a family and what it is to yearn deeply, and to never lose hope—because anything is possible.
In this exquisite memoir, Julie Mannix von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield recount the stories of their lives. Deliciously strange, surprising and sweetly funny, this tenderly written book takes us on a wild and frightening journey. Written in two distinct and deeply expressive voices, their stories seamlessly meld together in a breathtaking ending.
PRAISE FOR SECRET STORMS:
"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."
"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."
“Shining through both narratives is goodness and the power of the human spirit. A dually narrated, uplifting tale on overcoming profound adversity.”
“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