Surviving the Shadows is the true story of a young girl brought up in the strict and harsh life of a Catholic orphanage in the 1920s and 1930s, and of her struggle for emotional survival. Told by the nuns she was an orphan, Caroline "Carrie" Marshall set out to search for her roots.
Caroline's monumental struggle against the Catholic authorities in her search for kith and kin lasted over sixty years. Gradually, with the help of genealogists, secrets were prised from the archives and the mysteries began to unravel one bizarre piece at a time. In 1990, Caroline finally received news that her parents, whom she had spent a lifetime searching for, had passed on.
A further discovery sent shock waves through her: the birth certificate of an unknown elder brother. Born in 1919, he would be seventy-two years old. Was it possible that, by some miracle, he was still alive?
'Most would prefer to put it at the back of one's mind, rather than acknowledge the stigma of being raised in an orphanage and being denied a birthright,' says the author, Caroline Whitehead. 'But, for social history, these stories must be told.'
'By the time I reached sixteen years of age, I had spent all but two years of my young life in the somewhat questionable care of the nuns at an orphanage in a small village in the County of Kent. From there, I was sent "out into the world" of which I knew little about, and had not been prepared for. My first place of employment was a reformatory school for unruly boys staffed by Christian Brothers, some of whom seemed intent on breaking their vows of chastity....'
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline Whitehead (née Marshall) was born in London, England, in 1925. Abandoned in infancy, she was brought up as an orphan in a Catholic institution in a small village in the County of Kent. On reaching the age of sixteen she was sent out into a world she knew little of, as a domestic servant. With World War Two in progress she was soon conscripted into an aircraft factory in the County of Surrey, on 'munition work. She married in 1944. When hostilities ended, she enrolled in a commercial college to train as a secretary. After emigrating to Canada in 1967, a long emotional journey began as she regularly travelled between England and Canada over the years, in a desperate attempt to learn the truth about her parents, and find her missing family. Caroline has one child, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.