The premise of “A Corner of My Heart” is a tale about a young Jewish girl, Ruth, who, following her surviving the death camp at Auschwitz Birkenau and arriving in England, becomes pregnant where her child, Rebecca, after being born in a home for unmarried mothers, is forcefully removed from Ruth and placed up for adoption. Rebecca, renamed Mary by her adoptive parents, grows up rarely questioning her adoption until, as an adult and mother herself, she is asked by her own daughter about her real Grandmother, thus triggering Rebecca’s search for both Ruth and the detail of what happened so many years earlier to necessitate the two of them being separated in such a traumatic way. The story continues to unfold as we learn more about Ruth and Rebecca’s individual life journeys and of their efforts to rediscover each other.
I was moved to write “A Corner of My Heart” after watching a TV programme regarding forced adoption in Britain during the early part of the 20th Century up to the late 1960’s, where young girls who became pregnant, often through no failure or fault of their own, found themselves seeking support and shelter in the grim and austere surroundings of a home for young unmarried mothers. These were traditionally funded and run by either factions of the Church or the less than caring local authorities, both of whom offered little, if anything, in the way of comfort and solace to the sorry and desperate individuals entering their doors. The girls were expected to work long hours to pay for their keep, such as it was, and as penance for their apparent shameful disregard for both their bodies and their moral failing. Their babies would be offered for adoption within a few weeks of being born without n either the mother’s approval or consent and, once placed in a suitable home, the child and birth mother would have no further redress or legal right to any form of contact. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the law was officially changed to allow both parties any legal right to seek access to each other’s whereabouts and, in so doing, gain the necessary approval to then meet and develop a recognised relationship.
Before writing “A Corner of My Heart” I spent some time in reading and researching the accounts and detail of a number of women who had either been adopted themselves at an early age, or were unfortunate enough to have found themselves, as young girls, pregnant and forced to survive in bleak and equally unforgiving surroundings. There will be many women today who will identify with both Ruth and Rebecca’s stories.
I also have a keen interest in both the First and Second World Wars, and especially the holocaust, along with its place in world history, the effects of which still resonate in modern society today. It was in studying the atrocities carried out against the Jewish community during the Second World War that I was inspired to develop the character of Ruth for my novel and to recount the experience of her surviving such a brutal existence in Auschwitz Birkenau. Whilst Ruth, as an individual, is of my imagination the narrative and detail of her experiences in the death camp along with her time in the home for unmarried mothers are both based on recorded factual accounts and events.
© Mark Seaman
[HH. Events that should never be forgotten or brushed aside.]
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More about Mark
Mark Seaman lives in Gloucestershire and focuses on his love of drama, writing and acting. Mark has had a number of his scripts for one act and full length plays published, including two Pantomimes which are performed on a regular basis, and has also gained some acting roles in a variety of productions on stage, TV and in film. Mark’s latest role was as Sir John Tressida in the first series of the BBC production of Poldark. Prior to this, Mark worked in broadcasting for TV and radio for 30+ years, both as a presenter and producer, and to board level in senior management.