This story takes place in Australia and is written by one of Myrtle's later seven children after Myrtle's death. Author JB Rowley found information which her mother kept hidden that included the birth certificates of the children who were taken from her. Rowley tracked down her mother's secrets and shared them with us in Whisper My Secret: A Memoir.
We learn about Myrtle's early life and the tragedy that befell her family. We see her mother, Etti, fall apart and Myrtle's attempts to live a normal life. We follow her relationship with her neighbor, Henry Bishop, a pregnancy, and subsequent marriage that was doomed to failure. Henry spent little time with his wife and child and although she had three more children with him, their relationship never improved. Henry's mother Agnes felt that her only child had been trapped into marriage and convinced him to divorce her and have the children taken from her. Myrtle lost her children and her own mother convinced her to move away without a fight.
Happily, Myrtle meets and marries a loving man, George, and together they have seven children. Her life with George is a good one, and she keeps her secrets until her death. The author does a wonderful job tracking down the various truths of her mother's early life and the lives of Etti, Henry, Agnes, etc. Her descriptions are vivid and help the reader understand how this wonderful mother walked away from the children who were her world. While much of the dialogue is imagined, it rings true as the layers of Myrtle's life are revealed.
It is difficult to write someone else's story, even your own mother's, after that person is gone, but JB Rowley has done a strong job sharing a troubled past with us. I was captured by Myrtle's story and recommend it for your non-fiction library.
Publisher - JB Rowley; 1 edition
Date of Publication - January 15, 2014