Book Title: No Names to Be Given
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +)
Genre: Vintage Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Admission Press Inc
Release date: 08/2021
Content Rating: PG + M. No bad language, but mature subjects like suicide and a rape scene. These are both mild and not explicit. Fade to black kind of scenes.
Today’s young women will not understand how our families made us feel shame so intensely; we surrendered our first-born children to strangers. Faith Reynolds, No Names to Be Given
The widely anticipated debut novel by Julia Brewer Daily is a glimpse into the lives of women forced by society to gift their newborns to strangers. Although this novel is a fictional account, it mirrors many of the adoption stories of its era.
When three young unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans in 1965, they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired. Twenty-five years later, they are brought back together by blackmail and their secrets threatened with exposure—all the way to the White House.
Told from the three women’s perspectives in alternating chapters, we are mesmerized by the societal pressures on women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant without marriage.
How that inconceivable act changed them forever is the story of No Names To Be Given, a novel with southern voices, love exploited, heartbreak and blackmail.
Three girls in completely different situations end up roommates in a home for unwedded mothers and have their babies on the same day.
Sandy ran away from home to get away from an abusive stepfather, and she became a stripper. Eventually, she ended up in New Orleans and met Carlos and fell in love. Unfortunately, shortly before she found out she was pregnant, she found out that he was a mob boss and was going to prison. Even worse, he was married. He ordered her to get an abortion, but she decided to have her baby and put it up for adoption.
Becca met a black boy in college. When her parents found out that they’d slept together, they pulled her out of that college and planned on sending her to one in Mississippi. Unfortunately, she found out she was pregnant and they sent her to the home in New Orleans to have her baby.
Faith’s father was a famous evangelist, and she sang at his revivals. His close friend and employee raped her. She didn’t tell her parents about the rape, but when she turned up pregnant, they were very disappointed in her and sent her to the home.
Being in the sixties, it would have been difficult but not impossible for the girls to keep their babies. I was an unwed mother in the eighties, and I kept my son, but even then there was still a stigma attached to not being married. I know it would have been much worse in the sixties.
The girls didn’t even get to see their babies when they were born, and they each had to deal with that in their own way and move on with their lives. Not even getting the chance to meet their babies would have been hard to accept.
They were each able to move on and become successful at what they chose to focus on in life. When the past came to knock on their doors 25 years later, though, they each had to figure out how to handle it Two of the mothers would face scandal if the truth came out, and I was impressed with how most of the characters were able to work things out for the best of the birth families as well as the adoptive families.
I do think with so many characters that it may be easier for the reader if some of the chapters were combined so that there isn’t so much jumping around. I don’t read a lot of women’s fiction but this was a good one, and I definitely recommend it.
“A gorgeous, thrilling, and important novel! These strong women will capture your heart.” Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas.
“An insightful and sympathetic view offered into the lives of those who were adopted and those who adopted them.” Pam Johnson, author of Justice for Ella.
“A novel worthy of a Lifetime movie adaptation.” Jess Hagemann, author of Headcheese.
“Readers can expect deep knowledge of the world the characters inhabit.” Sara Kocek, author of Promise Me Something.
“I found myself thinking about Becca, Sandy, and Faith frequently as I went about my day—I was always excited to sit down and find out what happened next.” Sarah Welch, author of Austin Brown Dogs: The Shelter Dogs Who Rescue Us.
About the Author
Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.
She has been a Communications Adjunct Professor at Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, MS.
She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart.
As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public.
Daily is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans. She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well. A lifelong southerner, she now resides on a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband Emmerson and Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.
Enter to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Julia Brewer Daily, author of NO NAMES TO BE GIVEN! (one winner/USA only)
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