My Secret Sister

My Secret Sister

Book - 2013
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Helen grew up in a village in Tyneside with her family living nearby. But they could not protect her from her neglectful mother and violent father. Jenny was adopted and grew up in Newcastle. Neither woman knew of the other's existence until, in her 50s, Jenny went looking for her birth family and found she had a sister.
Publisher: London : Pan Books, 2013
ISBN: 9781447228875
Branch Call Number: 921 E264
Characteristics: 436 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (black and white) ; 20 cm


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Oct 23, 2017

True Story - Very Good

Aug 28, 2017

An interesting book in that the adopted child/children did better than the one that stayed with her mom. However, what struck me as the most significant thing about the book was that their mother was a mentally ill horror of a woman who seems to have manipulated almost everyone around her and got away with it.

Apr 08, 2017

This was a good book, I could not put it down. As a mother of 2 adopted children, it makes me wonder how many siblings or 1/2 siblings they have out there in the world. They have never searched, and no one has searched for them, which I find astonishing! I was also amazed at how many times their paths actually crossed.

Mar 15, 2017

I didn't enjoy how the book was written, as it felt amateurish. The stories are heartbreaking, considering how differently each of them was treated. I felt sad for the unlucky sister.

Nov 16, 2016

This is quite the book. Two sisters separated at birth find each other sixty years later. Told alternately by Helen and Jenny, the story begins with the girls at pre-school age and follows them through their very different lives up to their reunion. Helen is the daughter raised by her natural mother in a home seemingly without love or any kind of parenting skills at all. She suffers much abuse from her violent father and her cold bitter mother. There are hints of nice times but they are completely overshadowed by the darkness Helen learned to live with. Jenny, on the other hand, is given up for adoption and her life is full of love and happiness and success. She does not know she is adopted until an adult. She is rocked and finally decides to search for her biological family. I found the story a bit of a plod at times because there was so much of the happy successes of Jenny and the sadness and guilt of Helen. The actual search itself and the revelations that came one by one were fascinating. I was amazed at the little bits of documentation they found that led to so much coming out, and at the knowledge the extend family had but never revealed. The sad thing about it all is the suspicion that there are other people born during that time who are also in the dark about their true parentage. Secrets abound and as individuals pass away those secrets and the truth go with them.

Aug 02, 2016

I really enjoyed this book about two sisters separated at birth who had totally different lives. One was horribly abused and the other was a doted on daughter. They manage to find each other after many years because of the internet. Happy ending.

Feb 06, 2016

Jenny's life was happy and life dealt her a good one. Helen, on the other hand, had a horrendously miserable childhood and not much improved in adulthood. The neglect and abuse she suffered! I had no sympathy whatsoever for either parent at any time. The relatives were guilty of collusion in the betrayal of her. Sadly, the abuse of children doesn't end with Helen. It goes on and on...

Feb 03, 2016

As an adoptee I related to Jenny's feelings and reactions when she discovered her birth family.

Jan 07, 2016

This is a compelling read that I had trouble putting down. The writing isn't great, particularly the Jenny chapters, but the story is! Made me think a lot about nurture versus nature.
The pictures do have some spoilers, so save those until the end if you're so inclined!

Nov 07, 2015

“My Secret Sister,” written by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith is an intriguing and heart-wrenching novel, all while being slightly confusing. Helen and Jennifer are twins separated at birth. Throughout their lives, the two sisters always felt as if there was a missing part of their lives. They were right. While Jenny had the life every child dreams of, Helen was abused almost every day by her ‘father.’ In this book, the sisters are in each other’s presence for several moments, yet they don’t realize it, and suddenly, they both experience a loss in their families and everything starts to go downhill from there. Until, one day, both Helen and Jenny find out that they are adopted and search for more information on their biological family. When the sisters grow up, Helen is a nurse and Jenny is a champion golfer. They get married, have children and live their lives to the fullest until they get that feeling again: What’s missing? “My Secret Sister” not only makes you emotional, it gives you a better angle on life. It makes you realize how lucky you are to have such wonderful people surrounding you every day of your life. This is something they didn’t have, especially Helen. This story may all just be a coincidence or it could just be plain destiny or fate that took ahold of their lives. “Moving and inspirational, this is a story of the extraordinary bond of sisterhood, and tributes to two women strong enough to let love, not bitterness, define them.” This novel has a faultless title because both Helen and Jenny’s families were told to keep their adoption a secret, which led them to believe they had no other family. Helen and Jennifer are sisters that can be physically separated, but never emotional.

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