Book Review: My Secret Sister by Jenny Lucas and Helen Edwards

secretsister

Reviewing memoirs are always difficult for me. These are true life stories that the authors have been brave enough to talk about. And some of them incredibly moving, like this one was. How can one possibly do justice in reviewing them?

I found this while aimlessly searching the Kindle store. The blurb caught my interest,

Helen grew up in a pit village in Tyneside in the post-war years, with her gran, aunties and uncles living nearby. She felt safe with them, but they could not protect her from her neglectful mother and violent father. Behind closed doors, she suffered years of abuse. Sometimes she talked to an imaginary sister, the only one who understood her pain. Jenny was adopted at six weeks and grew up in Newcastle. An only child, she knew she was loved, and with the support of her parents she went on to become a golfing champion, but still she felt that something was missing. . . Neither woman knew of the other’s existence until, in her fifties, Jenny went looking for her birth family and found her sister Helen. Together they searched for the truth about Jenny’s birth – and uncovered a legacy of secrets that overturned everything Helen thought she knew about her family. Happily, they also discovered that they were not just sisters, they were twins. Inspirational and moving, this is the story of two women brave enough to confront their past, and strong enough to let love not bitterness define them.

Helen’s childhood was especially shocking and heart-breaking to read. It is unimaginable that parents can be so cruel, so heartless. Although she did have her grandma and aunts around, and being with them, did make her feel safe, they didn’t do much to protect her from her parents. After all that she went through, it came as a welcome relief to us, the readers for her to discover that she had a secret sister, actually, a twin in Jenny Lucas. Along with the happy news, she also realizes that she had been lied to, by most of her own family.

Jenny Lucas had a nicer childhood. She had been adopted by her parents and had a comfortable, normal childhood. She went on to become a professional golfer. Through the women’s childhoods, there had been times their paths almost crossed, but at that time neither of them knew of the existence of each other. Both of them had felt that there was something missing while they were growing up, but little did they think, it would be a sister!

Years later, when they discover each other, one can only be happy for the two of them. Especially Helen who had such a tough time growing up. There still are unanswered questions, some more revelations that shock them, but for the two women, it is a happy ending.

For me it was such a positive story. Helen, despite everything she went through, still managed to survive and stay positive and happy. Of course, their mother who chose to give away one twin, keep the other, and then ill-treat her so badly, is someone who I would never be able to understand in a million years. People like these, who can be cruel to helpless children, should .. I don’t know, are just the worst kind of monsters, in my opinion. It is sad that she managed to get away with it.

It is not an easy read, it is painful to read about Helen’s childhood, and yet there is so much positivity as they grow up. While not an easy read, it is a gripping read.

This book is available from Amazon(UK).

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