Kirkus: You Won’t Want to Stop Reading THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE

“Emotional heft.” “Subtle and complex.” “Readers will push to the end determined to find out if there never was a tale of more woe than that of Heloise and her Abelard, or if, for once, true love is able to triumph over everything that would see it destroyed.”

These words of praise come from Kirkus Reviews, one of the most highly respected literary  review publications in the U.S., in its newly released review of THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, my novel of Abelard and Heloise debuting Tuesday, Oct. 7. I couldn’t be more delighted!

Here’s the full review:

KIRKUS REVIEW

43518_SharpHookofLove-01Heloise d’Argenteuil is a brilliant scholar, and Pierre Abelard is a philosopher whose work titillates all of Paris. When Abelard is hired to tutor Heloise, it’s the beginning of an all-consuming and forbidden love affair that could cost them everything.
So begins an epic romance based on the original letters between the famous 12th-century lovers. While their love flares and burns like a fabulous Roman candle, they are pitted against the strict rules of Parisian society, a wrathful uncle and their own teeming ambitions. They cling together in a world that insists on tearing them apart, yet even as their desire for each other continues unabated, the cost of being together takes its toll, with drastic consequences for both of them. Jones (Four Sisters, All Queens, 2012, etc.) weaves history and passion in a tale full of emotional heft that questions what it means to truly love someone. At times her writing is overly lush, and she focuses on painting a maelstrom of emotions rather than building up the events that created those emotions. Abelard and Heloise are rushed into a courtship before the reader has a firm understanding of who they are, yet Jones’ characterization is complex and subtle. In the way of all lovers who love without knowing if they have a future together, Abelard’s and Heloise’s motivations keep changing, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next.
Readers will push to the end determined to find out if there never was a tale of more woe than that of Heloise and her Abelard, or if, for once, true love is able to triumph over everything that would see it destroyed.

 

“Evocative,” “Beautifully Written,” “Poetic”: The Sharp Hook of Love

Abelard and Heloise’s Love Story “True and Deep”

I am delighted to present to you the first full-length review of my forthcoming Abelard-and-Heloise novel, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, on Colleen Turner’s wonderful Historical Tapestry blog. If you like this review, be sure to go over and check out her others, and subscribe to receive her future posts.

The Sharp Hook of Love: Review and Giveaway Information!

Synopsis:

Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Nôtre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.

So What Did I Think About The Story?:

The Sharp Hook of Love might be one of the most poetic and beautifully written novels I have read in quite some time. I found myself rereading passages out loud just to hear them spoken. The way the author included quotes from the lovers’ letters to each other really helped solidify not only the ardent love they experienced but the hurt, fear and confusion that came from going against the destinies set before them and the political, religious and societal norms and rules they were breaking at every turn.

The Sharp Hook of Love might be one of the most poetic and beautifully written novels I have read in quite some time.

What I enjoyed even more than the beautiful writing, however, was the unbelievable complexity of the feelings between Heloise and Abelard. Both of these characters are flawed in their own way and yet their love is true and deep. Abelard is brilliant beyond compare in so many ways – he’s a poet, philosopher, teacher, singer and songwriter – and he has no problem letting everyone know it! At times he comes off as arrogant, rude and manipulative and I found myself questioning his motives in regards to Heloise. Then as the story progressed I discovered how much he actually sacrificed for love and I realized that any man who didn’t love a woman as he loved Heloise wouldn’t have risked all he did to be with her whenever he could. Heloise isn’t perfect herself, conducting her love affair under her uncle’s roof knowing full well she is meant for the abbey and, feeling abandoned and pained, eventually elicits the help of this very same uncle, who she knows wants nothing more than to bring down Abelard, inadvertently taking away any chance of the two living happily-ever-after. These very imperfections are what makes this love story feel so real, unusual and meant to go down in history. No matter what they do to each other that sharp hook embedded in each of their hearts will never let go!

It is quite clear that Sherry Jones did a good amount of research into not only these two captivating people’s lives but also into the environment they lived in. The descriptions of the architecture, the streets and the people all come to life on the page. To fully immerse themselves in the story the reader has to also fully immerse themselves in the time and place in which their lives unfold, and the author makes this easy to do. Heloise’s vibrant intelligence and wit is not appreciated or, seemingly, wanted in her lifetime and she has very few choices when the men in her life try to determine what course her future should take. This was very hard to read at times, especially given the sacrifices she will have to make (I don’t want to give too much away!), but this makes the choices she does make that much more poignant and heartbreaking. The author does not shy away from the very real and very harsh historical truths and I, for one, really appreciate that when reading historical fiction.

The Sharp Hook of Love presents a love story out of time and one, given the time it DOES fall into, seemingly destined to fail. However these two intelligent and determined people will not let their world dictate what they feel in their hearts and, even given all the hurt caused, both want nothing but each other when their last days arrive. This is a heartbreaking and tragic story yet one that is also inspiring and completely captivating.

So What Did I Think About The Cover?:

Absolutely swoon-worthy! The passion these two felt for each other is front and center and the bright and vibrant colors draw the eye right in.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0!

Giveaway Information

The Sharp Hook of Love will release on October 7th, 2014 but you can enter to win your own copy before it releases! Goodreads is running a giveaway right now so be sure to head over there and enter to win (the giveaway is running until September 4th, 2014 so hurry!). Go HERE to add the book to your wishlist and enter the giveaway.

Sherry Jones is also giving away 100 copies of her e-novella White Heart, about Blanche de Castille, the protagonist in her novel Four Sisters, All Queens, so head over to her website HERE now to enter to win a copy!

About The Author

Sherry Jones is an American journalist and internationally best selling author of the controversial “The Jewel of Medina” and other historical fiction novels about women’s power. She is also a speaker on issues including women’s rights, free speech, and Islamophobia.

Her forthcoming novel, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, tells of the forbidden love affair between two of the Middle Ages’ greatest intellectuals: Peter Abelard, headmaster of the Notre-Dame Cloister School and a poet whose good looks and love songs make women swoon; and Heloise d’Argenteuil, a beautiful woman scholar being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess. This erotic, passionate story about the sacrifices we make for love debuts October 7th from Simon and Schuster’s Gallery Books.

Congratulations! You win THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE!!!

Wouldn’t you love to see this message in your inbox?sharp hook

If you love the story of Abelard and Heloise, or historical fiction, or a great romance, or even poetry and philosophy, you’ll want to read THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE.

It debuts Oct. 6, but my publisher, Simon & Schuster/Gallery, has generously offered a limited number of SIGNED copies to give away in September, in advance of the publication date!

To win a FREE copy of THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, go to my Swag page and fill in the form there. Then, make sure to check your inbox (or spam folder) right away to confirm your entry. I’ll select one winner for every 10 contestants — a number that’s rapidly growing.

Winners will have the finished book in their hands in September, weeks before anyone else! This contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

A Contest! Win an ARC of THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE!

sharp hook of love coverPsst! Don’t want to wait until November to read THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE? Great news!! I’ll give away 10 Advance Reading Copies in July to people who pre-order my new novel TODAY.

Here’s how to qualify: Pre-order your copy of this sweeping romantic, historical novel from your favorite retailer TODAY (Friday, July 27), send me proof of your purchase here or at sherry (at) authorsherryjones.com, and I’ll include your name in a drawing on Monday to select 10 lucky winners of an ARC of THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE — available in July! (U.S. readers only)

Share this promotion for added chances to win — pre-order purchasers get another chance to win for each online share. Let’s go viral!

The book debuts Nov. 25, just in time for Christmas, and would make a great Christmas gift, hint, hint!

Need more incentive? Here’s the description:

Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Nôtre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone.

As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.

I KNOW you will love this book! Pre-order now so you don’t forget — and good luck!

Redeeming Josephine: Heather Webb Gets Personal

Becoming Josephine

Come on over and read my provocative interview with Heather Webb, author of BECOMING JOSEPHINE, about the first Empress of France’s fascinating life and many loves. Are all the stories of orgiastic decadence true? Webb gets to the heart of the seductive Rose de Beauharnais, daughter of a Martinique plantation owner who lived by her wits in Revolution-Era Paris as lover to France’s most powerful men, but who was a formidable force of nature in her own right.

While you’re there, be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of her book!http://booktrib.com/2014/02/redeeming…

And don’t forget to share this great read with your friends!

Sherry

 

Optimistic about 2014? You bet!

The headlines say that we Americans are feeling optimistic about 2014. I know I am. I’m ready for the New Year to cut in on the twisted dance I’ve been doing with 2013, a terrible partner who keeps stepping on my toes. It’s time for merriment and joy. It’s time for 2014 to take me in its arms and spin me around until I lose my breath. Most of all, it’s time for the madness to stop.

2014: I’ve got a great feeling about it. I look ahead and see blisses big and small on our national landscape as well as my personal one. On the national front, sanity at least has a toehold and may even reign by year’s end: The Supremes might uphold the right of people to marry each other regardless of gender; people might be able to afford not only their health insurance but also their health care; Spokane, Washington’s first-in-memory progressive City Council might achieve some actual progress in spite of the Tea Party mayor voters elected last time around.

What’s not to feel optimistic about?

Basking in the glow of all this hope, I can hardly contain myself. And with good reason — 10 of them, at least.

Here are 10 reasons why I’m excited about 2014:

1. So many books, so little time!Becoming Josephine

Books debuting this year that I’m especially excited about include GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN, by Marci Jefferson, which I read and really enjoyed; BECOMING JOSEPHINE by Heather Webb, another terrific debut — debuting Dec. 31, but still.

THE MAPMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Laurel Corona was terrific, too, and Iris Anthony’s lovely pilgrimage book, THE MIRACLE THIEF. The inimitable Michelle Moran is writing THE LAST QUEEN OF INDIA, sure to be amazing. Alice Hoffman has a new one coming out, as do Erika Robuck, Diana Gabaldon, and Sharon Kay Penman. Whew!

And in 2014, I plan to read more by my new favorite author, the late Dorothy Hansford Johnson. I’ve just ordered the third installment in her wonderful Helena trilogy, A SUMMER TO DECIDE, having devoured TOO DEAR FOR MY POSSESSING and AN AVENUE OF STONE.

2. THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, a tale of Abelard and Heloise, debuts in October. I am so psyched about the debut of this famous love story, told many times in the past but not since Australian scholar Constant Mews (gotta love that name) discovered 113 passionate, beautiful “Lost Love Letters” between the two. I’m now writing two e-novellas about kick-in-the-pants women from HOOK — Queen Bertrada of Montfort, and Dangereuse, lover to William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, the first troubadour — both of which will also debut this year.

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3. I am single, again. After 3.5 years of trying so hard to overcome critical differences in our personalities, my former b.f. and I have thrown in the towel on romance, but not on an enduring and loving friendship. This is a sad ending, but also an exciting time for me, opening up all kinds of possibilities for personal life choices. I could live anywhere! Paris? New York? Should I go to grad school and get my MFA in creative writing?

And after spending summer 2013 working frantically to meet a fall deadline for my novel, I’ve got road trips on my mind this year: Santa Fe, to see a cherished friend; Reno, to visit another. And, come hell or high water, I’m going back to Burning Man!

4. My freelance writing and editing business, Siren Song Copywriting and Editing, continues to grow. In 2014, I expect to serve more, better clients than ever with some of my very best work.lp.aspx

5. My 1909 house is going to get lots and lots of attention, as I transform it into my own personal Paradise. I’ll paint every room, make curtains for all the windows, fill my house with greenery and art, plant raised beds for vegetables as well as perennials in my enormous yard (and maybe even a peach tree), and turn the spare room into a guest bedroom for friends, writers, and special guests, of whom I hope to have many in the coming year.

6. I’m going to make a boatload of new friends! I do every year, so why should this one be any different? I have such a wonderful community, here in Spokane and around the world — including you. I expect that, in the coming year, we’ll get to know each other better and better.

7. My blog is going to really take off. In addition to updating my readers about my own books, I’m also going to post travel, food and wine articles as well as posts about writing and reading. Until now, I’ve been blogging happily for others, but neglecting my own website and blog. That’s going to change this year.

8. My body is going to be its best ever! Because I’m exercising. Every day. It’s now-or-never time, while I’m still in good condition. At 52, it’s time to get strong, fit, and limber before my body rebels against my devil-may-care lifestyle. At least, if I’m in great shape, I may be able to keep the lifestyle.

9. I’ll be speaking French fluently by the year’s end! After all, I’ll need to master the language for my tour of France promoting THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE (That’s optimism!). I also plan to learn how to write HTML code, to play jazz piano (I already play classical), and to become a cheese maker, because we’re blessed.

10. In addition to fixing up my house, I’m going to become Spokane’s Hostess Extraordinaire! Parties galore, as well as intimate dinner gatherings and even a salon or two are in the works. Come on by: the soup pot is always on, and I almost certainly have a bottle of wine or two to share.

Keep up with the Jones! Author Sherry Jones, that is. Subscribe now to this blog for updates on great reads, for glimpses into the writing life, for info on the forthcoming THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, and more. And do check out my website while you’re here.

QUEENS: It’s Launch Day in Poland!

The beautiful cover of QUEENS, my latest novel, in Polish.
The beautiful cover of QUEENS, my latest novel, in Polish.

 

It’s launch day in Poland for my historical novel FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS, which my publisher, Pascal, has named QUEENS.

I like their title, don’t you?  Choosing a title for my own book is, for some reason, difficult for me. FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS was my working title, but my editorial team at Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books  liked it.  At Random House, I offered several inferior title suggestions before we came up with THE JEWEL OF MEDINA.

Back to the Polish version — check out the gorgeous cover! I’d pick this one up from the bookstore table, wouldn’t you?

It’s interesting to me how different publishers choose different covers for a book, depending on their market. In Italy, Newton Compton published FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS with a bold, red-and-white cover. It debuted last May.

For those of you who don’t know about FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS, it’s a tale of love, lust, and revenge in 13th century Europe. Think of it as sort of a medieval LITTLE WOMEN. The four daughters of the Count and Countess of Provence, educated by their mother as though they were boys, marry the kings of France, England, Germany, and Sicily.

FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS in Italian, from Newton Compton
FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS in Italian, from Newton Compton

Although brought up to honor their family first and foremost, sister turns against sister in a battle over inheritance of their beloved homeland as well as rivalries between the kingdoms they govern. This critically acclaimed book, like all my novels, explores women’s power in a man’s world. In addition to the four sisters — Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice — FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS introduces a number of other kick-ass queens, as well: Blanche de Castille, the inimitable White Queen of France; Isenbourg of Denmark; and Shajar al-Durr, the formidable Queen of Egypt.

The first publisher to bring out my new book, after Simon & Schuster in the U.S., was Beobook in Serbia. They released it concurrently with my U.S. release, and brought me over for a media tour and several (well-attended) signings. Loving Belgrade and the Serbian people as I do, it was a real treat.

Beobook gave FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS a fairytale-like cover, which I also adore.

I’m excited to see what the rest of the world does with my book.

We’ve sold translation rights in the Czech Republic, Albania, Russia, and Turkey, as well. As the new covers come to me, I’ll be certain to share them with you. Meanwhile, tell me — which of these covers do you like best?

Beobook of Serbia's version, released May 2013
Beobook of Serbia’s version, released May 2013

Wait! Are you a subscriber to my blog? Please go to my home page, www.authorsherryjones.com, and enter your email address to receive this blog in your inbox. Keep up with the progress of my forthcoming novel about Heloise d’Argenteuil and her ill-starred romance with Peter Abelard; read about other historical novels and their authors; learn about history, watch videos, enter contests, and more.

 

 

Censored! The Banning of My Books

burning bookIt’s Banned Books Week! Did you know my first novel, THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, has been banned in several countries including Malaysia and, when I went there in 2011, Egypt? Why? Because I wrote about the Prophet Muhammad and his youngest wife, A’isha. Before it was even released, the book spurred an angry demonstration in Bangladesh, death threats against me, and an attempt on my British publisher’s life. He canceled his plans to publish my book, and no other British publisher will touch it. This means THE JEWEL OF MEDINA has been effectively banned in the UK and Commonwealth countries, as well, including India, New Zealand, and Australia. (It is now available on Amazon UK, however.)rioting youth

In the US, my original publisher backed out of publishing only 2.5 months before THE JEWEL OF MEDINA’s release, citing warnings that they might be attacked by terrorists. We found another, very small publisher after 8 big New York and L.A. houses considered it — 6 of them declining out of fear! Beaufort Books, my U.S. publisher, could not afford to release the book in paperback, however, and so many bookstores don’t carry it or the sequel, THE SWORD OF MEDINA, which is also banned in many countries. This is another kind of censorship.

rushdieSalman Rushdie called Ballantine/Random House’s decision not to publish “self-censorship.”

Rushdie has also said, “Without the freedom to offend, there is no freedom of speech.”

The good news: these two books are sold in many other places around the world, and have been international best-sellers. Readers still write, tweet, and Facebook to me telling me how A’isha’s story has touched their lives. For all its effort to suppress ideas, censorship loses again.


mohammed-and-aisha

When I get my publication rights to JEWEL again in 2015, I’m going to release it all around the world. I’m also looking for an Arabic translator so we can bring it out in Arabic online. A’isha was the most famous and influential woman in Islam, and Muhammad was a big reason why — a story that ought to be told in their language.

Want to hear more about my experience and those of other authors? Come to the Auntie’s Bookstore panel on censorship tonight at 7. Jill Malone, Doug Clark, Shawn Vestal, and Chris Crutcher will join me for what promises to be a lively discussion. Hope to see you there!

Not a subscriber? Why not? Subscribe now to get the latest updates on my books, including my forthcoming novel, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, telling the story of Heloise d’Argenteuil of Heloise & Abelard fame, debuting from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books in october 2014.

Related posts:

A’isha Still Inspires Me

Courage, Islam, the West, and THE JEWEL OF MEDINA

Death Threats, Fatwas, and Feminism

 

 

Writer in the Kitchen: Bratwurst and Sauerkraut to Die For

 

The best part about fall: The food

I’m always a little sad when summer ends, but nothing chases those blues away like a good, hearty autumn meal. Oktoberfest being right around the corner, I got a hankering last night for some German cuisine – and found on Epicurious a recipe for Bratwurst with  Sauerkraut and Apples that was so good, I’m eating the leftovers for breakfast this morning.

It’s so good, I absolutely must share it with you.

The best I have ever tasted, and so easy to prepare. Mmmm...
The best I have ever tasted, and so easy to prepare. Mmmm…

Deceptively simple to prepare, this dish, as with all fine cuisine, starts with the best ingredients you can find.

You’ll need 4-6 bratwurst: I got mine at the Parkside Grocery down the street from my house, a little Hutterite-owned store with an in-house butcher. They are utterly delicious.

You’ll also want to get fresh sauerkraut, if possible. I used Bubbie’s brand, which is all-natural. When my novel is finished, I might even try making my own kraut, although it’s hard to imagine its tasting better than Bubbie’s.

The original recipe for this dish called for some things I didn’t have: Wondra flour, which is a finely ground, “instant” flour (I used cake flour, but reviews on Epicurious say all-purpose works fine); vermouth (I used red wine); beef broth (homemade chicken broth). I also had only one apple, while the recipe calls for 3. I think 3 apples would have made the dish too sweet.

I didn’t pay attention to the cooking time, which is a bad habit of mine. After the initial 45 minutes of cooking, you’ll remove the foil from the dish and brush melted butter on the brats, then cook for another 25 minutes until they are toasty brown. We didn’t eat until around 10:15 p.m., but the result was well worth the wait — crunchy and savory and tangy and salty and a little bit sweet. Bob had seconds. I really, really wanted to, but now, as I savor the deliciousness this morning, I’m so glad I exercised the self-restraint that, at the time, felt heroic.

And now, the recipe:

To make this dish, crush 1 tablespoon caraway seeds and 1 tablespoon fennel seeds and mix them with 1 tablespoon flour and about 1/2 tablespoon black pepper. You can do this in a plastic bag or, as I did, in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the bottom of a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass or ceramic dish.

Slice 1/2 of a large onion and a whole, cored apple very thinly. Rinse the sauerkraut – my jar was 25 ounces or so – and squeeze it dry.

Spread the onion over the flour-seed mixture. Top it with half the remaining flour-seeds, then half the apple slices, then the rest of the flour. Spread the sauerkraut on top of that, then arrange the brats over all.

Mix together 3/4 cup chicken broth, 2 tablespoons wine or vermouth (one reviewer said cider vinegar works well, too), and 2 tablespoons ketchup, then pour it over the dish. Tuck in four bay leaves. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Savor the aromas that will fill your house, and mouth, with gustatory anticipation.

Beer is the traditional beverage for this dish, but a yummy wine works well, too.
Beer is the traditional beverage for this dish, but a yummy wine works well, too.

Uncover the dish and brush 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter onto the brats. Cook for 25 minutes more. Serve with black bread and a hearty German beer. Or, if you don’t have beer, wine will more than suffice. We had a delicious Spanish garnacha, Evodia, which I got from my favorite wine shop, Vino!, at a very good price. (I have never had a bad wine from this great little Spokane store.)

Now, dig in! Try to avoid eating the entire dish in one sitting, though. It won’t be easy, but you’ll thank yourself in the morning.

Enjoy this post? Please subscribe by adding your email address on my home page, http://www.authorsherryjones.com.

 

 

 

My Mother, My Self

 

Malgré lui: ‘In spite of himself’

Humans are strange. The things we swore we would never do, we do. The people we said we would never become, we become.

You know, like growing up with abusive parents and then abusing your own kids.

I’ve been able to avoid doing to my daughter the things my parents did to me, but what about the way I’ve turned away from my mother? Am I treating Mom the very way she has treated me? In spite of my vows to the contrary, have I become like her?

I told my lover, Bob, about my feelings of guilt over not returning phone calls to my mother, who has borderline personality disorder but doesn’t know it (and I sure as heck am not going to be the one to tell her). Do I fear that my college-age daughter will abandon me because I deserve it, having abandoned Mom?

“Your mother abandoned you, remember?” he said.

My abandonment story

Oh, yeah. In May 2012, I went to North Carolina, which is across the country from where I live, to give the keynote speech at a college graduation ceremony. Mom knew months ahead of time that I was coming, yet found reasons not to attend my speech or to see me during my entire 10-day visit — not even on Mother’s Day. I sobbed on the night before Bob and I flew home, feeling utterly abandoned.

A month later, I called her and told her how I felt about what happened.  She lashed out verbally, as usual, and hung up the phone. A day or two later, a cousin told me that Mom had changed her phone number and unlisted it,   and that I wasn’t allowed to have it. I felt stunned, but I knew she’d be back. I’ve heard this song before, many times.

I did cry, though, on her 70th birthday, when I was unable to call her. I reminded myself: this is what she wanted. Plus, I told myself, I’m better off without her abuse. Still, I couldn’t help feeling sad.

Shortly before Mother’s Day this year, she called me at midnight. It must have been 3 a.m. on the East Coast. I didn’t get the call, but she called again on Mother’s Day. I got her phone number, told her I was on my way out the door (this was true) and promised to call later in the week.

But I never did. I don’t know why; I just don’t really care to talk with her. I love her, but I don’t trust her not to hurt me.

Borderline Personality Disorder and abandonment

In therapy, I’m working on my own “abandonment depression” and other issues BPD people suffer. My therapist says I’m not BPD, but I do have some of the symptoms, probably learned from my mother.

Doing my self work, including reading the excellent book Another Chance to Be Real, has given me compassion for Mom, and helped me to see that her verbal lashing out isn’t really about me at all.

Someday, when I’ve given full expression to my “real self” instead of acting out of fear that those I love will abandon or reject that self, I’ll call her back. Then, I think, nothing she can say will hurt me.

And perhaps I’ll be able to ease her pain by helping her to see that I haven’t abandoned her, after all, but just taken time for me — not the compliant “me” she wants or needs me to be, but the autonomous, powerful, strong, authentic me — the self I need to be.