Emma’s Secret and the Importance of Being Kennedy

Emma’s Secret by Steena Holmes is my Kindle Prime book of the month.  The book is the final in a series about a little girl who is taken by an old lady who has dementia and decides that she’s her grandchild and her husband believes her and takes the little girl in.  The books look at the view from the “grandparents” and for her family and particularly her mother.  In Emma’s Secret the little girl is now five and finally home with her family but she misses her “papa” greatly and mourns for her “grandmother” and her mother who wants nothing to do with them finds this difficult to deal with.

I have to say I was a bit apprehensive about the book but never one to pass something I can get for free I started it.  At first I wasn’t sure at all but the writer is very good at hooking you in and all the characters had their merits but also their flaws (like us all).  I found that I read the book really quickly keen to see if the mother could forgive and move on and would there be a resolution.  At times it’s hard you want to say to the mother “do the best for your child”.  But that is easy to say having never been in the situation.  I am usually a person who forgives and forgets easily but I have found as a mother it is less easy to forgive someone who hurts your child.  And I have been in a situation in the past year where I would love in many ways to move on but the hurt my children still feel still makes me angry.  So in the end with Emma’s Secret the mother and I had to realise its the to Kill

a Mocking Bird Adage that you need to walk a day in your enemy’s shoes to see things from their perspective.  As I have read the final book first I won’t read the others but in many ways at the end of the book did wish I had realised it was part of a series.

Book eight of the month and year was “The Importance of Being Kennedy”  by Laurie Graham.  I have had this book for a few months.  It was the day group book club choice at Mainstreet Trading a few months ago.  Even though I attend the evening group I quite often also read the day group books too.  I hadn’t yet got round to it.  But my creative writing course tutor is focusing our lessons just now on real life writing and she suggested it as a good example.  I am fascinated by the Kennedys and have quite a few books on the subject.  This book is perhaps the best I have read.  It is seen through the eyes of the nanny Nora and although it is accurate it reads like a novel.  It focuses not on Jack or Bobby but two of the Kennedy children who have always intrigued me as their stories are so sad.  Kathleen known as (Kick in the family) and Rose.  Rose has learning difficulties though despite this she does manage teacher training and is even presented to the Queen and King during Joe Kennedy’s time as ambassador to the UK just before and the lead up to war.  Nora remains in the UK to marry when the family return to the USA though she has essentially been a mother figure particularly to Rose.  Sadly Rose on her return to the USA is given a lobotomy which goes wrong and a girl with some learning issues loses a good part of her brain.  You read the horror and sadness that Nora goes through and you see the Kennedy family close ranks as they say it was an accident.  Kathleen returns to the UK to marry the heir to Chatsworth.  Her parents particularly her mother opposes the marriage as it is not a catholic marriage and she essentially disown her drawing her even closer to Nora.  Sadly her husband is killed early in the war.  Nora then goes to work for Kathleen who after a few years post second world war enters into a relationship with a married man.  She is killed in a plane crash with him.  Only her father attends the funeral.

This book is easy to read, its historically accurate and it shows not only the ambition the Kennedy’s had for power but the lengths they were prepared to go to get it.  I have read more complex books on the subject but this is the easiest book I have read and also as I said I liked it as it featured two characters who I think got a raw deal from particularly their parents Kathleen and Rose.  Nora’s love for all of the children was touching but particularly for those two girls.

Nora on Rose post lobotomy

Doctor’s said she’d be the same Rosie only happier. Well doctors can be wrong.  It was the same old house she used to live in, you might say; only my Rosie wasn’t home.”

Nora on Kathleen post death

So even from here I can see where she lies.  I say to her, “I see you Kick Kennedy.  Your Old Nora’s got her eye on you.” “

If you want a book about the Kennedy’s look no further than this.  Though as has happened every time I have read about them I cannot believe how you can put politics and religion before love for your children and what is best for them not your ambition. But have to ask was the power worth the pain and sacrifice?

Now on to book nine but as we are thankfully fast approaching the end of January its eight books for the first month of the year!  And tomorrow the long month of January is finally over.


About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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