In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller Etched in Sand, Regina Calcaterra pairs with her youngest sister Rosie to tell Rosie’s harrowing, yet ultimately triumphant, story of childhood abuse and survival.
They were five kids with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother who left them to fend for themselves for weeks at a time. Yet through it all they had each other. Rosie, the youngest, is fawned over and shielded by her older sister, Regina. Their mother, Cookie, blows in and out of their lives “like a hurricane, blind and uncaring to everything in her path.”
But when Regina discloses the truth about her abusive mother to her social worker, she is separated from her younger siblings Norman and Rosie. And as Rosie discovers after Cookie kidnaps her from foster care, the one thing worse than being abandoned by her mother is living in Cookie’s presence. Beaten physically, abused emotionally, and forced to labor at the farm where Cookie settles in Idaho, Rosie refuses to give in. Like her sister Regina, Rosie has an unfathomable strength in the face of unimaginable hardship—enough to propel her out of Idaho and out of a nightmare.
Filled with maturity and grace, Rosie’s memoir continues the compelling story begun in Etched in Sand—a shocking yet profoundly moving testament to sisterhood and indomitable courage.
Calcaterra (Etched in Sand) has previously written about her alcoholic and pathologically abusive mother, Cookie; now, , in this heartrending, brutal story told with bravery and strength. her youngest sister, Maloney, shares her memories of living with Cookie after the five siblings were split up and put into different foster homes. Maloney's beloved older sisters protected her from their mother's beatings and verbal lashings until Cookie kidnapped her and her brother from foster care and took them to Idaho. Maloney, pretty and smart, received all her mother's rage, her brother spared their mother's fists. Despite her sisters' tireless attempts to help, including a short-lived rescue, Maloney's salvation primarily came from school, where she retreated into books, got meals, and literally escaped to libraries and friends' homes after her mother married a predator who molested Maloney for years. She managed to thrive in school and was accepted into college, but the abuse she suffered pushed her to become a suicidal alcoholic. Fortunately, caring teachers saved Maloney and gave her a safe place to live. Maloney's happiness is unquestionably well-deserved, and demonstrates that with a powerfully fierce will and the help of loved ones, joy and peace are possible.