Indie Weekend: The Women in Me


Are you caring for your chronically ill husband? Did you grow up with suicidal, alcoholic parents? Are you searching for a loving relationship? Have your efforts at starting a fulfilling career been thwarted by someone determined to hold you back? Maybe you’ve postponed your own dreams in order to keep from making waves with a significant other. Does your life seem to be heading a long wat from where you’d wish it to be? Any of these can steal your happiness or keep you from achieving your potential. All can crush your hopes and dreams.

This is the story of a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional family, was trapped by a predator at age 8, was suffocated by an abusive marriage, grappled with being a single mother, finally found her soulmate, struggled with a blended family, juggled the incompatible roles of wife and caregiver, yet maintained her faith, at least most of the time. She did it thanks to some special women who supported her in ways she didn’t recognize until she unconsciously drew upon their influence.

We hope you’ll learn to call on the influencers in our own life. Possibly you’ve drawn on them in your past and can now appreciate their impact on you.


In The Women in Me, Nancy Maloney-Mercado looks back at her life and the women who influenced her, especially four relatives who knew her from birth. She shares the lessons she learned from them and the characteristics she tried to emulate.

This reads more as a memoir than a self-help book, but it does inspire the reader to look back at the people who influenced them and guided them through problems in their own lives. Nancy’s experiences, which include having a suicidal mother, marriage to an alcoholic, and becoming her husband’s caregiver are experiences with which many readers may be able to relate. As Nancy talks about different struggles in her own life, she shares how her influencers helped her get through them, either directly or by using lessons they had taught her. Her influencers are described well, and with love and gratitude.

Although I would classify this as a memoir, it is a helpful memoir because it talks about very challenging life circumstances and one woman’s way of dealing with them. Most importantly, it emphasizes that it is vital to lean on the support and experiences of others and not to try and get through these things alone. And it might inspire you to be an influencer for someone else.

I received a free copy of this book. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Nancy Maloney-Mercado was born in Chicago, IL., but spent most of her adult life living in San Jose, CA. She began teaching in her late 20s, and she has happily walked that career path ever since, along the way building a reputation as a valuable member of many educational programs and institutions. When her latent artistic talent pushed its way to the surface, she began drawing and painting. Soon it was an integral part of who she was. In 2019 her beloved soulmate, Raymond, passed away after a long illness. She spends as much time as possible with her two daughters and granddaughter. As the existence of this book indicates, she continues to teach, at the same time finding new techniques to let her art express her life, experiences, and beliefs.

Jackie O’Donnell is a CA native. Her life has been spent in teaching, writing, and editing. She has four adult children—a devoted, caring son and daughter-in-law, plus another son and daughter who are far more than “step”—plus three grandchildren. Her beloved husband, Frank, succumbed to Agent Orange complications in 2016. She has published seven books, including one on saving money while helping the environment, another on everyday activities to make our world kinder and more just, one about helping people with disabilities cope with new 141 parenthood, and a volume of poetry (descriptions on her website (link below). Follow her on Twitter at

Contact Us at



*If you buy the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help indie and self-published authors go a long way!

Audiobook Review: Spare read by Prince Harry. Ghostwritten by J.R. Moehringer #royalfamily #MeghanMarkle



Spare was a revelation to me. All of the little snippets taken out of the book and posted, mostly out of context, by the media, looked very different inside the actual book, which was extremely well written by the ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer.  I listened to the audiobook, which was read by Prince Harry, who did a wonderful job. It absolutely lays open Prince Harry’s life, good and bad, for all to see.   The main message of this book is how the paparazzi have irrevocably changed, invaded, and tried to ruin a young man’s life, all to make money for themselves. And they do it unflinchingly over and over.  When the book came out, the snippets posted and spun by the media led to a lot of people saying they would never read the book.  That was what the media wanted, for this book is a complete condemnation of them, and it reveals their nature and true practices. Their efforts seem to have failed, as this book sold 3.2 million copies worldwide in its first week.

 It was also really brought home to me how the royal family is a corporation first, and family comes a distant second.   I learned how the royals are treated by the paparazzi, and how the courtiers work with the media and the “paps,” as Prince Harry calls them, to create stories out of thin air.  I learned that different offices within the palace would sacrifice other family members to make their chosen royal look better, especially Charles and Camilla’s office.  Diana used to say that Charles was outraged by her popularity and Harry says it again here.  Charles and Camilla cannot bear for anyone to be more popular than they are, and their courtiers will make sure of it.  Hearing this, It is easy for me to believe that Camilla is still behind the scenes pulling strings, because that’s what she did to Diana all those years ago. Diana famously said there were three people in her marriage, which Camilla had invaded and controlled before it even began.

The most heartbreaking scene in this book is when Harry asked for the police investigation photos of his mother’s death and was going through them.  Here are his words below.

“At last I came to the photos of Mummy.  There were lights around her, auras, almost halos. How strange.  The color of the lights was the same color as her hair—golden.  I didn’t know what the lights were, I couldn’t imagine, although I came up with all sorts of supernatural explanations.  As I realized their true origin, my stomach clenched.  Flashes.  They were flashes.  And within some of the flashes were ghostly visages, and half visages, paps and reflected paps and refracted paps on all the smooth metal surfaces and glass windscreens.  Those men who’d chased her… they’d never stopped shooting her while she lay between the seats, unconscious, or semi-conscious, and in their frenzy they’d sometimes photographed each other.  Not one of them was checking on her, offering her help, not even comforting her.  They were just shooting, shooting, shooting.”

Harry shares his disgust that in the official investigation, the accident was blamed solely on the deceased driver, who it was reported had been drinking, and not at all on the paparazzi chasing Diana.

I really appreciated the honesty in this book.  Harry doesn’t flinch from revealing that he has used drugs and talks about all of the famous, negative stories about him. He refutes a lot of the stories, positive, and negative, that the media has simply made up out of thin air. He admits to the ones that are true. He apologizes for the things he did wrong. 

He talks a lot about his military service and how proud he is of his country.  He praises the people he served with.  The media simply says of all of his military service that he spoke about killing 25 Taliban.  While he does discuss this, it is in a professional way over many chapters.  The media crows that his words enraged the Taliban.   It was really the media that did this with their reaction to this book, aimed at keeping people from reading it in my opinion.  They completely reduced his military service to this headline, and it is an outrage. Readers will realize it at once when they read the many chapters he devotes to the military.

Another thing that is made evident is the control that the family has over all of its members.  Charles controls the funds for both William and Harry, who had no money of his own except a sum left to him by his mother.   Harry had to ask permission for even the smallest of things.  He even had to ask the Queen permission to have a beard when he got married.  The Queen granted his request, which became a problem between himself and William because William was made to shave his beard.  Harry wasn’t allowed to choose any career he wanted.  Some choices were vetoed by his father.  The freedom he felt when he finally broke away must have been amazing. 

The picture that the media painted of two close brothers who were torn apart by Meghan Markle is another lie.  William almost always kept a distance between them and Harry always longed for them to be closer.  Combine that with an unsupportive father and a mother who died too young, and that led to loneliness and mental health issues.  Harry is candid about his mental health issues, how he sought out therapy, and how his memories of his mother were locked away for a long time.  He talked about Meghan’s suicidal thoughts and how his family never stood up for them. 

This is an eye-opening look at what it’s really like to be a royal.  I encourage everyone to read it and highly recommend the audiobook version.

I read somewhere that Harry’s deal with Random House is for four books. If that is true, then I sincerely hope that one of them looks further into his mother’s death.

The opinions above are solely my own after listening to the audiobook, which I purchased on Audible.


Amazon | Google | Audible | Amazon UK

Sunday Post – Life is a Garden

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at the @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See the rules here.


It was a busy work week, but I’ve started reading several books for the August edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

I also have been repotting my tomato seedlings. I started them in little pods under a grow light and I’m putting them in larger peat cups before they go into the ground at the end of May. The next step is to start placing them outside in partial shade so they can get used to being outside full time. My husband has the garden all tilled up and ready to go. I love the gardening cycle. Spring is for planting, Summer is for tending, Fall is for harvesting and canning, and in Winter we enjoy the fruits of our labor. I know it’s not as cut and dried as that, but it is a consistency that can be relied on. I have actually missed my tomato garden, so it will be nice to see it again! I’m also planting peppers and onions. I will be canning salsa from ingredients I grew myself.


Monday I reviewed A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice, a retelling of the sinking of the Titanic from the point of view of the Captain of the Carpathia, who led a rescue of many survivors.

On Monday I also reviewed The Salt Fields by Stacy D. Flood. This is a powerful book about a man who boards a train so he can leave the South behind. It is so well written that I had to include two quotes from the book itself in order to do it justice.

On Tuesday I reviewed the audiobook of The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall. This is a tale about a jilted bride that is both sad and laugh-out-loud funny. I have previously reviewed The Secret Bridesmaid by Birchall, and I love her writing style.

I also attempted Top Ten Tuesday and even though I got the directions wrong, I still enjoyed it.

Work and reading kept me busy until Saturday, and then I posted a review of The Coronation by Justin Newland for Self-Published Saturday.


Today, besides the Sunday Post, I will be reviewing Freedom or Death, Book 4 of Adria Carmichael’s Juche Series, a coming-of-age dystopian saga set in a North Korean concentration camp.

Monday I will be reviewing The Adoption by Jenna Kernan as part of a blog tour for Bookouture. I had posted last week I would be reviewing it on Friday, but I had the date wrong. So look for it on Monday.

On Wednesday, I will review The Commandant’s Daughter, by Catherine Hokin. This is book one of the Hanni Winter series. I reviewed this book for the May edition of Historical Novels Review.

On Thursday, I will be posting a review of The Girl from Lamaha Steet, which is author Sharon Maas’s memoir about her childhood in Guyana and time spent in an English boarding school.

For Self-Published Saturday, I’ll be reviewing A Class Coveted by Susie Murphy.


I’m finishing up The Girl from Lamaha Street and starting A Class Coveted, mentioned above.

I will also be reading The Pilot’s Girl by Catherine Hokin, which is the sequel to The Commandant’s Daughter mentioned above. I will be reviewing The Pilot’s Girl for the August edition of Historical Novels Review.

Self-Published Spotlight: An Only Child No More #FoundFamily #Memoirs #Indiebooks

*Not a book review

Self-Published Spotlight is my effort to help highlight Self-Published books. It includes a description of the book and buy links, plus author information if it is provided. Self-Published Spotlights can go up any day, but I happened to get a request for this one right before Self-Published Saturday, so here it is! Below is my spotlight of the memoir of Martha Levallee, who writes about discovering a family she never knew she had. See the book description below:


This poignant, uplifting memoir describes the emotional journey of a middle-aged woman who receives an unexpected email, and suddenly learns that her now-deceased parents had kept secret from her the fact that she has a half-brother.

Raised as an only child, the revelation occurs without any DNA testing of anyone in the family. This true story describes her coming to terms with this shocking information, as she remembers vague clues that had been presented to her during her youth. It also details her quest to meet her brother and his family, and to make this family her own, despite the logistical challenges of different languages and continents.



Book Review–Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life With 600 Rescue Animals #AnimalRescue

Funny Farm is the best memoir I’ve read this year. Laurie Zaleski lived in a beautiful house and had a pretty bedroom and lots of toys until her parents split up. Her mother Annie moved them to a shack in the woods and struggled just to put food on the table. But then Annie brought home a dog–and then another. Eventually, chickens and horses joined the family. Pretty soon people were bringing them stray animals. And that was the early beginnings of the Funny Farm Animal Rescue. Zaleski tells a layered and fascinating story of how her mother had the courage to leave an abusive, but well-to-do and popular husband, and start life over with her children and many, many animals. The stories of the animals are interspersed throughout. Some chapters deal with Laurie’s family trials and her father’s vindictive revenge, while others tell beautiful stories of animals who became part of her family. But it is also a story of Zaleski’s life and how she succeeded in business, and then how she made The Funny Farm an official animal rescue.

This is everything you would want in a memoir–completely honest, fascinating, and heroic in more ways than one. It is easy to see in Zaleski’s life how she learned from the courage of her mother and was not afraid to take risks in business and in life. The love for the animals shines through on every page, and each animal rescue story touches the heart. The honesty is always there, whether Laurie is talking about her cruel father or her mother’s bad taste in men. There is humor, grief, love, and shock in these pages. I recommend everyone read the story of the Funny Farm. I guarantee an inspiring experience, and maybe a few tears. I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


LAURIE ZALESKI is the founder of the Funny Farm, a charitable organization located in Mizpah, New Jersey. Since 2000, the farm has welcomed all kinds of rescue animals. Laurie is also the founder, president and CEO of Art-Z Graphics. She has been named a New Jersey Heartland Hero, is listed in the 2019 Who’s Who of Professional Women, and has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her work to save animals and educate the public about animal abuse.





Self-Published Saturday: Becoming Italian #Italy #Travel #SouthernItaly #TraveltoItaly #SouthernItalianCulture

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors with the daunting task of marketing. If I can help even a little bit, I’m happy to do it, and I encourage others to do the same. Below is a humorous and informative book by Bret Thoman, who relates his travels to and eventual life in Italy.


Travel deep into Italy with Bret Thoman as he narrates his lifelong journey from America’s Southland to the South of Italy. Initially drawn to Florence out of curiosity to discover his ancestral roots and study the language, he feels a lure to the South. There, in the slower half, dialects are spoken, America is still revered, and long, lazy lunches are the high point of the day. In his travels, he meets the woman he marries.

The culture of Southern Italy comes to life as experienced through Bret’s in-laws, Whether his mother-in-law is teaching him the secrets of Italian cooking or how to avoid getting sick by closing windows and turning off the air conditioning, his relationship with them wavers from “exasperating to enlightening.”

In the third section, Bret recounts the joys and vexations of living in Italy. While mundane events like getting a driver’s license, paying taxes, or going to a soccer stadium can be maddening, he is ultimately transformed by the Dolce Vita, the Sweet Life. He has become Italian.

If you are curious about your own Italian roots, if Italy is your favorite destination, or if you enjoy wacky travel stories colored by the Italian spirit, you won’t want to miss this one. With an eye for the zany, awkward, and just plain ludicrous, this book will not disappoint.


Now this is the way to educate others about a country they might not have had the pleasure of visiting! This book is filled with colorful stories, anecdotes, and travel experiences from Bret Thoman, who grew up in the Southern U.S. but ended up living in the South of Italy. With takes from historical to humorous, Bret relates his life and travel experiences in a fun and engaging way. It will make you want to visit Italy even more. I really enjoyed his description of Southern Italy and the vast differences between the Italian South and the North. I was intrigued by his description of the slower way of life there, and I’m all on board with the three-hour lunch! His journey from majoring in Italian in college to becoming a part of the Southern Italian culture is a delightful and informative read.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.


Bret Thoman

Bret has a master’s degree in Italian from Middlebury College, a BA from the University of Georgia, and a certificate in Franciscan Studies. He is an FAA-licensed pilot and flew professionally for six years logging over 3,500 hours of flight time. After he left flying, he started organizing and accompanying tours and pilgrimages to Italy for the company he founded in 2004.

Bret began writing initially to provide material for participants on his tours. That turned into a hobby, and then an avocation. To date, he has written six books and numerous articles and has translated over a dozen from Italian to English.

He lives in Loreto, Italy with his wife and three children.

Bret can be contacted at:

His website is here.



Amazon UK

**Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read this for free. And it’s only $1.99 to buy the ebook.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: I Am Jess

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Independent/Self-Published authors promote their books. Self-Published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing, and if I can help even a little bit with the marketing side of things I’m happy to do it. I also ask you all to help out too by sharing these posts on social media. This next review is a heartbreaking but honest memoir by Jess Fahl that tells the truth about her abusive marriage and how she finally escaped it.


I AM JESS By Jessica Fahl

“I kept all of our secrets, avoiding people and situations where I might have to explain his behavior; I just didn’t realize I had done it. I had completely isolated myself and allowed him to create my reality. The embarrassment and shame were too much, but somehow, those feelings went away easily if I didn’t acknowledge them out loud. They could be washed away as if he didn’t really mean it that way or that I was reading too much into things, as he often told me.

I Am Jess is my story about falling in love with a man I thought loved me, only to find out I’d been emotionally manipulated for years. It’s about realizing afterward that I’d been completely isolated from the truth, not knowing what it meant to be loved. Once the fog began to clear, I found happiness in myself and had a life I was proud to call my own.”


This is a powerful memoir from Jessica Fahl that will break your heart. Jess is bluntly honest about her first marriage and the mental and emotional abuse that she endured. She reminds us that that are people who will break others down, hurt them continually, and at the same time convince them it is all their own fault. She outlines a marriage that was never a true union of two people in love, and tells us how, over many years, she finally began to realize that.

This realization and the way she broke free of her former husband’s verbal abuse, infidelity, and gaslighting behavior create an important story that will help many others out there. It is written in an honest and straightforward way, and no hurts or betrayals are left hidden. I would recommend I Am Jess to everyone, because even if you haven’t been in an abusive relationship, you probably know someone who has, and they might benefit from this book.

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.




*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday/Silent Rise: A City, the Arts, and a Blue Collar Kid

Self-published Saturday is my attempt to help Self-Published/Indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing and more. Saturdays are reserved for giving them a little bit of help with the marketing side. This week’s first offering is Silent Rise by Rick H. Jones. It is about his life and his path to becoming the Director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH. As an additional note, I have stopped putting dates on Self-Published Saturday reviews. I think it’s better that they remain timeless.


This is the author’s memoir of growing up in Dayton, Ohio, his talent for painting and love for the arts, and the path that led him to become Director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, OH.

I found this book to be part memoir and part “how to” book, as a lot of the mechanics of setting up, conceptualizing, and funding an arts center were discussed in the book. There are a lot of personal anecdotes as well. Jones pays well-earned homage to the leaders in Hamilton who helped him to bring the idea of an arts center to fruition and help it become the center of a thriving community. For anyone interested in setting up an arts center or any kind of nonprofit, this will be a fascinating read. 

Jones mentions his extended family in the “hollers” (or hollows) of the Eastern Kentucky mountains, and I appreciated the beautiful quote he provided about “the definition of a holler,” written by Roberta Stephens. The full article by Stephens is at…. I completely understood that quote. I grew up in Cincinnati, but my late Mom is from Western Carolina, and we spent summers with her relatives in Bryson City. I will be living in the very holler my Mom grew up in after I retire.

While the author said some of his family and acquaintances in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky were racist, I have not experienced that at all. My Western North Carolina mountain family includes cousins of Native American and African American heritage, not just Caucasian, and I haven’t seen racism there. Cherokee, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, is just 10 miles away. I can only speak to my experience, but I just didn’t want people to think all of Appalachia is racist, because that is not so.

Overall, this is a detailed memoir about the arts and what they can do for a community. The author’s love and care for his adopted community of Hamilton, OH, are very evident and appreciated.


Cover Rating is a new feature where I give my opinion as to whether or not the cover will be noticeable when readers are scrolling through millions of offerings on Amazon. It does not reflect in the overall rating of the book review. I asked the author, who is an artist, if this was abstract art, and he said “No. It’s rusting metal.” This is to symbolize the rust belt and Hamilton OH. I thought that was pretty cool! I think the cover is very noticeable, especially for a non-fiction book.


Rick H. Jones

Rick got his start in the arts when his mother enrolled him in Saturday morning art classes at the Dayton Art Institute in Ohio. He continued for nearly a decade. With two degrees in painting, having taught college art for six years, and forty years’ experience in arts administration, he is now an exhibited painter, author, and sometimes poet. He has consulted on board development, fund development, grantsmanship, and arts management for numerous arts centers, councils, and organizations. In retirement, he and his family own an art supply and framing store in Hamilton, Ohio. In 1991 he was awarded the Ohio Governor’s Award in Arts Administration.


*The author’s books and paintings are both showcased here.




*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Book Review and Giveaway: Taken at Birth


The winner of the giveaway was drawn randomly, and I’m pleased to announce it is Nancy B. Klein. Nancy has been contacted and I’ll be sending the book to her soon.

Taken At Birth by Jane Blasio is the story of Blasio’s struggle to find her birth family, as well as the birth families of hundreds of other people after finding out about a baby-selling operation in a small town in Georgia. It all revolved around a hometown doctor, Thomas J Hicks, in the small town of McCaysville, Georgia.

Blasio’s struggle with uncooperative townspeople and her own anger and loss of faith makes for a fascinating read. Her journey to find not just her family, but her faith again is poignant. Her determination to find out the truth from a town that was mostly unwilling to give it up is admirable. She details her anger at her own adoptive parents, who were unwilling to reveal much information until right before their deaths. The book contains stories of some of the birth mothers and their dealings with Dr. Hicks, and shows his heartless, selfish, and creepy personality very well. Overall, this is a compelling read. Anyone interested in true crime stories and stories of family separation will enjoy this book.

There is also a six episode series, Taken at Birth, which aired on TLC in 2019.

I received a free copy of this book from Baker Books. My review is voluntary.


Jane Blasio

(In Her Own Words) My personal birth search, as well as acting as a search facilitator and representative for those sold by Doctor Thomas Hicks, has personalized my expertise and reputation. Today, I continue to assist those who are still bound to the Hicks Clinic and looking for answers. I’ve found most of what I was looking for, but not how I ended up at the clinic in the first place. The search of what happened in the clinic will not end until the deception which has marked everyone it touches, is burned off and truth restored. Truth that is owed to all of us lost and torn from the Hicks Clinic.






Book Review: Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story

I truly enjoyed the Magnolia Network TV Series “The Lost Kitchen,” and was delighted to find this memoir from the owner, who overcame a lot of adversity to get where she is. Erin French, in a no-holds-barred manner, tells of her childhood with an abusive father, her unplanned pregnancy, and a marriage to an abusive and controlling man. She tells of working 18 hour days in their successful restaurant while her husband did nothing, and then making the mistake of falling into abuse of drugs and alcohol just to keep functioning during those long workdays. When her husband staged an intervention, she went to rehab, but as soon as she was gone he closed the restaurant, drained their bank accounts, and took everything. Then she found out the papers she signed when they bought the restaurant put her husband’s name solely on the deed and her name solely on the mortgage. That tells me everything I need to know about this guy.

French tells a poignant story of starting over, fighting to get her son back, and beginning again with her now successful restaurant in her hometown of Freedom, Maine.

As someone who believes in second, third, and fourth chances, I truly loved this story. There are a few “F-bombs,” in the book, as others have said, but only a few. This is about enduring abuse, making mistakes, and then fighting to start again. It’s also the story of a girl who wants desperately to get out of her small town, does so, and then finds joy and peace when she returns to that very small town she wanted to leave so badly. I’ve always known you CAN go home again, and Erin French proves that point.

I saw a review on Amazon that said Ms. French is not a chef. She states that plainly herself. She is a self-taught cook who likes to use locally grown, organic meat and produce to make stunning dishes. Her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, is so popular that people have to enter a lottery by postcard each year to get a reservation. Thousands of reservations pour in from all over the world for this 40 seat restaurant. So chef or not, she produces good food.

Fans of The Lost Kitchen, proponents of home grown, locally sourced food, and those who believe in second and third chances will enjoy this memoir.


Erin French

Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one of TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places and one of “12 Restaurants Worth Traveling Across the World to Experience” by Bloomberg. A born-and-raised native of Maine, she learned early the simple pleasures of thoughtful food and the importance of gathering for a meal. Her love of sharing Maine and its delicious heritage with curious dinner guests and new friends alike has garnered attention in outlets such as The New York Times (her piece was one of the ten most read articles in the food section the year it was published), Martha Stewart Living, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Food & Wine. She has been invited to share her story on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Chew, CBS This Morning, and The Today Show. Erin was featured in a short film made by Tastemade in partnership with L. L. Bean, which won a James Beard Award, and The Lost Kitchen Cookbook has been named one of the best cookbooks by The Washington Post,, and Remodelista and was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award.






* I have ordered Erin’s cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, so expect a review soon!