About the Author

CAROLINE WHITEHEAD
Caroline Whitehead (née Marshall) was born in London, England. Abandoned in infancy, she was raised as an orphan in the County of Kent. At the age of sixteen she was sent out to work as a domestic servant. With World War II in progress she was soon conscripted into an aircraft 'munitions factory in the County of Surrey. She married in 1944. When hostilities ended, she enrolled in a commercial college. After emigrating to Canada in 1967, a long and 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 Sidney, British Columbia, Canada.



About The Book

SURVIVING THE SHADOWS
Sidney author's tale exposes emotional hardship -- and her lifelong quest to track down parents and siblings

Caroline Whitehead's Surviving the Shadows is the true and inspiring story of a young girl brought up in the strict 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, and discouraged from asking more, Caroline 'Carrie' Marshall nevertheless 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 learned the identity of her parents, whom she had spent a lifetime searching for, only to learn both had recently died. A further discovery sent shock waves through her: the birth certificate of a previously-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 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 for which I had not been prepared. 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...."


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Reviews/Appearances

RECENT AND UPCOMING APPEARANCES

  • There will be a book-signing at Shopper's Drug, Sidney, on Thursday July 30 between 10a.m. - 2p.m.
  • August 27, at 7 a.m., Caroline Whitehead will be speaking at the Rotary breakfast meeting in Sidney.
  • September 9 at Beechwood, Sidney, 2.30 p.m., the author will be giving a speech.

To arrange an interview with the author, please contact Bruce at Agio Publishing House.





About The Book

ROWLAND: A HEART OF SUNSHINE
Rowland: A Heart of Sunshine is a tribute to living with grace despite orphanage upbringing

Sidney author continues the unique family saga begun in Surviving the Shadows
(Sidney, BC) -- In the sequel to her 2009 book, Surviving the Shadows, author Caroline Whitehead meets her long-lost elder brother, Rowland Marshall, for the first time in 1991 when he is 72 years old. Rowland had heard about Caroline's existence when he was thirteen, but had been denied any details. He'd searched for her in vain for almost sixty years.

Caroline tells Rowland about how she was raised as an orphan by nuns, forced into war work in 1942, and of her struggle to exist on low wages and wartime rations. He learns about her thwarted political ambitions, emigration to Canada, raising a family, and always searching for her roots...

Caroline reveals to her brother the existence of three other siblings raised as orphans -- William, Kathleen and Elizabeth -- about whom he was totally unaware. Rowland's boyhood vision of living with his sister Caroline becomes a reality when the two of them decide to share a home together in Canada. This realized dream continued for the next sixteen years.

"I wanted this book to reveal the characters, events and settings that portray an era and culture that few today could imagine," says Caroline Whitehead. "Each of the siblings had a unique response to being raised as an orphan, and I wanted to record how that affected their character for the rest of their lives. Rowland and I had identical telepathic senses that allowed two siblings who had been complete strangers to understand each other in their later years, sharing laughter, fun and sorrow..."


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About The Book

UNDER THE OLD RAILWAY CLOCK
Local author completes family history trilogy with reminiscences of a time, a place, and a very dear brother, William Marshall

(Sidney, BC) -- Following up on her earlier family stories Surviving the Shadows and Rowland: A Heart of Sunshine, author Caroline Whitehead chronicles the life and times of her other brother, William Marshall, in Under the Old Railway Clock.

In 1933 at a summer holiday camp in Dymchurch, Kent organized for children in Church-run orphanages, destiny deemed a ten-year-old boy and a eight-year-old girl would meet under the most bizarre circumstances. What the camp leader was to divulge to the children, would change their lives forever. Pointing one finger at the girl, then at the boy, she said simply, 'You two are brother and sister.'

This bizarre isolated meeting of author Caroline Whitehead and her brother William Marshall in their childhood years would develop, in times to come, into a tight-knit relationship that spanned decades. UNDER THE OLD RAILWAY CLOCK deftly illuminates for readers a time and place - England from the 1930s through to 2007. William was a sailor, hero, husband, father, gambler, coin collector, cook, flirt with the ladies... and a very dear brother.


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About The Book

The Boys of St. Mary's: Keep On Keeping On
They were mostly infants or toddlers, brought out of extreme poverty and classified as "orphans", to St. Mary's Home for Boys in Gravesend, Kent, England. This Catholic Church-run residential school began in 1926 and continued on into the 1950s. For these youngsters, the only upbringing they'd know was the strict and structured discipline laid down by the Sisters of Charity. The boys were given food, clothing and shelter, but never love.

In this remarkable book, members of a worldwide network of "old boys" have recorded their personal memories of childhood during the time they were in care at St. Mary's. The group, which adopted the motto of "Keep On Keeping On", was formed in 1988 by (Delvin) John Flynn of North London. Some remembrances are chapter-length accounts, others are poignant anecdotes emailed between KOKO members. The book was edited by Caroline Whitehead.

For many, tracing their parentage became a decades-long challenge, as the Southwark Catholic Rescue Society steadfastly refused to release personal information. Included in The Boys of St. Mary's: Keep On Keeping On is a chronological account of KOKO members' recent lobbying to ensure records are appropriately archived when transferred to Diagrama, the latest records keeper. Those records - and the stories in this book - are vitally important to the social history of the era, St. Mary's legacy, "The Boys of St. Mary's" and their descendants.


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