Arts & Culture: How one chance meeting in the Riviera answered a lifetime of questions
This well-written narrative is both autobiographical and fiction; three stories rolled into one. There is Miriam, a young Irish woman in her 20s who falls in love with the wrong man, becomes pregnant, and feels she has no other choice but to give her daughter up for adoption.
There's Marjorie, an English woman in her forties who desperately wants a child but is unable to conceive and is considered "too old" to adopt by the authorities. And then there is Rosie, a former solicitor living in the south of France who, just before her 40th birthday, makes the tough decision to start searching for her birth mother.
These three lives unfold and inevitably intertwine in a heart-warming yet tragic series of events. It is a striking tale of the social constraints endured by women in the 1960s and an understanding of the struggles faced by an innocent child.
"Miriam was more fun to write because it was fictional," said Rosie, "trying to get into her body and mindset was very interesting. I also tried not to be too sentimental because at the end of the day she did have to give me up, but it was about trying to put it in the context of the society that she was in - 1960s Ireland."
A gap for generations
Writing the book has filled a huge gap for Rosie, but it's also filled a major void for her children. Apparently, it is not only the adopted child who suffers from the unknown, it runs through generations.
"It was actually my eldest son who encouraged me to find my real mother. The children wanted to know who they inherited their height from, their love of painting, their fiery spirit. Now it all makes sense."
As it turned out, Rosie's real mother was actually a famous fashion designer in Cork, Ireland, a particularly outgoing woman with eccentric friends and a passion for life - a very different woman from the one who desperately held on to her adoptive daughter and lead a somewhat reclusive life.
There are times in the book when you whisper "don't give her up Miriam" or "go get her back", but then as the pages turn, you feel the complete anguish and despair of Marjorie, who's life doesn't seem particularly fair either.
Brave step to take
"You often don't go in search of your real mother for fear of being disappointed," revealed Rosie. She also didn't want to hurt her adoptive mother's feelings. But thanks to that chance meeting in Vence, the journey to discovery was set in motion.
Now, Rosie has put her career as a solicitor aside and focuses on her love of the arts, encouraged by the talent of her biological mother. Writing Abandoned Love was the first of many ambitious steps she will undertake; film producers in France have suggested Rosie turn the story into a film, and she'll begin writing the script in September.
Helping her along her new path in life will be the spectacular south of France. "It is where so many artists throughout the years have come to be inspired, there is something very special about this place."
Abandoned Love is available online through various book sites including: www.amazon.com www.rosiehoughton.co.uk www.troubador.co.uk/metador VIP Subscribers of The Riviera Times are lucky enough to receive a free copy!