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How can a mother abandon her children?
Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed her husband, turned her back on her family, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa, and unless she can convince a judge to allow her to see them, unless she can convince her children to allow her to be their mother, she will not be able to find the peace she desperately wants.
Her attorney tells her that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that a mother would not be allowed to see her children, but, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.
True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: entering therapy, taking medication, returning to school, finding a job, and joining a church.
But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then.
Her daughters have busy lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie, and Christa recalls nothing at all. Neither has any interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them.
As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to now be a different person is attacked.
The judge is reluctant to grant Jennie’s request, but ultimately orders three trial visits. Jennie fears that if persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, then convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives may be impossible.
What happens as she reaches out to them tests her confidence in herself, and threatens their very lives.
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David Burnett lives near Charleston, South Carolina, where he walks on the beach almost every day and photographs the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that he loves. Three of his four books are set in Charleston, and he has always enjoyed the Carolina beaches.
David enjoys photography and has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. He and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on the Isle of Barra, the home of his McNeil ancestors.
He reports that he went to school for much longer than he wants to admit, and he has graduate degrees in psychology and education. He and his wife have two daughters and a blue-eyed cat named Bonnie.