Norristown, Pennsylvania, 1958: the only advice Sherry’s mother ever gave was to never marry an Irishman, for if she did, her lot would be her own making, and she deserved all the misery she’d find in it. Twelve-year old Sherry watches from her safe space while listening to her parents’ bristling conversation concerning their recent move from an upscale suburb of Chicago to this one-horse town. Her father sips his scotch and soda cocktail. Her mother leaves for the evening. Sherry keeps a safe distance from her abusive father whose glass of clinking ice cubes grates her nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. He barks an order, Sherry disobeys. He lunges, misses, then chases her down. Sherry’s mother escapes the madness only to find herself back in it when she runs off with her daughters to Chicago to live with Sherry’s Irish-born grandmother. Forced to live in the psychiatric arena of their grandmother’s world creates a new kind of hell fraught with inevitable failure. Sherry and her sister discover early on how to navigate these treacherous emotional storms by keeping family secrets, honoring their mother’s veil of silence. Until one day when it all unravels.
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Veil of Silence is a brilliant and honest take on growing up in a dysfunctional Irish family. The author paints a harrowing portrait of loss, poverty, and the tragic consequences of her mother’s battle with the twin demons of mental illness and alcoholism. Survival took resilience, and through it all, Sherry learned to ride that wave of adversity rather than be pulled under by the deluge.
Sharon Shea Bossard is an Irish citizen who earned her master’s degree in Education from Chicago’s Northeastern Illinois University. Curious about her Irish family’s experiences as struggling immigrants in Chicago, she meticulously recorded their lives. That venture took an interesting turn with the successful publication of her first book, Finding My Irish, where she not only reveals to her readers the difficulties and rewards of the search, but also tells the story of her grandparents’ journey from rural County Roscommon to the modern city of Chicago in 1903 and from County Kerry in 1880.
Her second book titled, Finding Your Chicago Irish, has been recognized as the most comprehensive “to do” list for Irish culture in Chicago. The book received the following awards: First Place in the Illinois Woman’s Press Association and recognized as Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Earning excellent reviews in all major Irish and Irish American publications, her books have been featured on numerous radio and television talk shows in Ireland and in the United States. Her writing has appeared in the Irish Genealogical Society International magazines.
Sharon’s books have been placed in the Chicago Newberry Library’s extensive collections on Irish history, genealogy and history of immigration and added to the Abraham Lincoln Research Library in Springfield, IL for their collection. Her latest book, Veil of Silence, is an honest account of growing up Irish in a family where alcoholism and mental illness thrived.