ABOUT THE BOOK
The story of Svea Jansson unfolds over the course of many years. It is the story of a child growing into womanhood who finds that there is a great family secret. Throughout her life Svea reflects upon her earlier years. To her it is as if there is a mystery that encompasses her very being….secrecy, abandonment, secrecy, abuse, secrecy, hidden stories, secrecy, a heritage. This is the story of seeking answers and of discovery.
Throughout the story Svea Jansson reflects upon earlier incidents in her life.
She is a child of a mother who is elsewhere. She is a child that is moved from place to place, from home to home until she cannot recall where she lived or why. One place however, stands out in her mind. That is the house on Maple Street with its very large front porch where she lived with her Swedish grandmother and grandfather……sometimes. That is the place where she remembers that the woman named Ellen, reportedly her mother, came to visit. Svea remembers the wonderfully exciting times she had whenever Ellen visited. She remembers the unrelenting arguments that her mother and grandmother had during every one of those visits. She remembers seeking escape and comfort on the front porch where she could not hear those arguments. However, there is much that Svea does not remember.
When her grandmother dies, Svea is cast about again and lives with an aunt and uncle for a short time and then is moved into a home in another town with her mother, Ellen and step-father,Gordon Knox. Struggling with her frailty and overcoming the illnesses she encounters, she grows into her teen years. It is then that she finds the piece of paper that she has never seen before. That paper, divorce papers of her mother’s, discloses that the father that she has always been told is hers is not. When she uncovers her birth certificate hidden away she realizes that there is more to this cover up of her birth records than she had imagined. Grandmother Knox tells her, “Your mother was in a terrible scandal.”
What is the scandal? What is the story behind this woman who she is to call Mommy and Mother. Svea spends much of her life seeking answers to these questions. She is satisfied with some of them.