Mary Perez at Reflections of the Heart asked me to introduce my readers to her new book. To that end I’m including a picture of the cover and a synopsis of the story Mary tells about her life. Above is the link to the site where you can pre-order her book, and I’ll bet you will after reading this synopsis of her narrative.
My life growing up in the 60’s mirrored the thrashing and howling winds of a Miami hurricane, and the sting of Hoboken’s winter bitter cold. When my parents separated, Divorce was the given name of a new storm brewing, with me as a three-year old, at its center. Because the judge awarded my older brother RUBEN to live with our father BENNY, our mother, RUTH was granted sole custody of me. Neglect, filth, kidnappings, racial tension, and alcoholism were my constant companions. Hunger pangs, roaches and mice infestation became my unwelcome companions. Intimately acquainted with an empty stomach, I also carried hunger in my heart, starving for love. I became a teen bride to DONNY, a man from the Caribbean who was twice my age. His melodious accent and take-charge attitude deceived me into believing I had found a better life. “I bought and paid for you, gal,” he reminded me often in drunken rages that escalated with each drink. His words pierced my heart and whirled in my head like a tape stuck on replay. Donny, I discovered, was a ruthless, raging alcoholic. I suffered under his possessive, domineering hand and physical abuses in secret. Our volatile home became so chaotic that Child Protective Services took our small girls to foster homes for three wretched months. In 1982, at the age of twenty-two, I had four children fathered by Donny, and felt like a single mother. Eavesdropping on a strangely timed phone call early one morning, I heard the sultry voice of a strange woman he was calling “baby,” and my fragile heart was broken apart. Again. That night when he returned drunk, I stared down the barrel of Donny’s .357 Magnum, with a single thought running through my head: God, I can’t die! Protect my babies! Thank God, he missed. He left me on the staircase landing, a gaping hole in the plasterboard and my ears ringing from the gunshot. Terrified and alone, I turned to the God of my grandparents where I found solace and healing. As my faith grew, I discovered redemption and self-worth, and learned to forgive, even after my fifteen-year marriage ended in painful divorce. After a year of figuring out how to stand on my own two feet as a single mother of four, I met Mark who became my helpmate. Mark’s stability, unconditional love, and acceptance for my children and me restored my hope and renewed my dreams. It became an aphrodisiac I could no longer resist. Three years later, our marriage marked the beginning of my long awaited happily ever after. But I was not prepared to face the ominous cloud—in the form of my ex-husband—to re-enter my life. That I survived is startling; that I thrived is miraculous.