A Letter from Danielle for May ’21

Hi Everyone,

May is one of my favorite months. No matter how chilly April is, in some places in May spring finally arrives in all its glory, with flowers and green gently covering the ground and the trees after the bleak gray of winter. Everything comes to life again, in a rainbow of colors!

And May starts off beautifully right from the first day. In France on the First of May (a national holiday in France, it’s French Labor Day), everyone gives each other a sprig or a bouquet of lily of the valley (my favorite flower, so delicate and beautifully scented) for good luck. There are vendors on nearly every street corner to sell lily of the valley to passers-by, it’s a lovely tradition. May is coincidentally my son Nick’s birthday. He was a wonderful May Day present!!

And Mother’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. My children always spoil me. And whether you still have a mother present or not, you can celebrate the motherly people in your life, and the female role models you admire. It’s a happy day—and I get presents without the sting of getting another day older—now that’s a holiday I can really get behind!!

And the month ends as joyfully as it begins—with a long weekend for Memorial Day, which is the unofficial beginning of summer. It really is a lovely month.

On the book front, just four days before May, on April 27, my new hardcover Finding Ashley came out, which is a touching story about mothers, daughters, and sisters. It’s the perfect book and gift for Mother’s Day. It’s about a woman who gives up a baby for adoption at fifteen, at a Mother and Baby Home in Ireland, a deeply traumatic experience for her. As an adult, she has a family and a successful career, when tragedy strikes her again and she gives up her career and marriage to go into seclusion. Estranged from her only sister, in her lonely life, the two meet up again a few years later and her sister realizes how deeply marked she is by the baby she gave up as an adolescent. And her sister, who is a nun, goes on a journey to search for the child, with little hope of ever finding her. It becomes a journey of self-discovery of the young nun—of facing her own shattered dreams and the traumas of her past. It is a story of the lasting bond between sisters and the powerful connection between them, the meaning of motherhood (whether or not a child is biological or adopted), and the strength that families give each other to overcome the traumas of the past. It is a powerful, poignant story that I hope will touch you too, and the women you give it to. I really hope you love it!!

At the end of May, Daddy’s Girls comes out in paperback. It’s a powerful look at the connection between three motherless sisters, and their relationship to their father—each one with a completely different view of him, and experience with him. And the search, after he dies, to discover who he really was, to each of them and in the world. Each of us has a different relationship to our parents than our siblings do. Each relationship is seen through different eyes and a different lens. And in searching for who their father really was, they find themselves and a closer bond to each other. We fully become adults, at any age, when we come to terms with who our parents are or were, and all three sisters come fully into adulthood in their 30s and 40s as they come to accept their father with his qualities and his flaws. And it all happens on a ranch in the Santa Ynez Mountains, in California—I hope you love this book too!

So you’ll have plenty to read this month and discover about sisters, mothers, and fathers.

Have a beautiful month!

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