In May 1998, Veronica and Doreen travelled on a journey that would be the catalyst that changed their lives. Believing themselves to be adult orphans, having grown up without an extended family, they had become intrigued by their parents’ early lives. With few clues to help them, that first journey took them to a house in a small village in Essex where they knew their mother had lived as a child. The current owner invited them in for a cup of tea and a chat where the sisters learned that a man they believed to be their grandfather had built that house. Many questions were asked, but the lady had only scant knowledge because such a long time had passed. On taking their leave, the sisters’ gave the lady a contact number in case she thought of any other information.
Moving on, exactly a year later in the month of May 1999, Doreen had a phone call from the owner of the house their grandfather had built. The lady was very excited to relate how she had had a visit from an American family who had asked the same questions and showed the same interest as the two sisters. Catching on to the excitement, Doreen asked what the contact details were so that she could get in touch. Suddenly, disaster! The lady had not thought to ask for them. So here was someone who may well be a relative but with no way of communicating them and from America. It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. The two sisters were devastated. This was impossible. What were they to do? The answer came in a most unexpected manner.
Veronica was a keen internet ‘surfer’. About a week after the impossible news, she spotted a genealogy website she’d never seen before even though she had been researching their family history for several years. The site asked for names of the people being researched. Out of the scant knowledge they had, she remembered the names of their mother’s parents. Without any expectation, Veronica inserted ‘William Davies married to Annie Bedelia Wightman’. She then went on with her surfing. Suddenly, her eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw that another person had given their email address showing they were also interested in those names. Her heart now pounding, she sent her details to the email address. Imagine her surprise when within minutes a reply email came soaring through the airwaves.
This person was indeed searching for anyone interested in William and Annie Davies. Veronica had even more of a shock when she discovered that Denise had been the visitor to their grandfather’s house just a week earlier. She did indeed live in America and within minutes, Veronica heard how Denise’s mother was the youngest sister of her mother and they had relatives all over the world. There followed more disclosures that were shocking to Veronica’s ears.
‘Unexpected Answers’ is the result of that discovery. Whenever the sister’s recounted the story, the stock response was that it would make a good book. Eventually, Doreen took up her pencil and while working part-time in a very quiet furniture showroom, scribbled in a notebook, then edited her words onto her computer at home. Using tales gleaned from the relatives, she wove flesh around the bones of their memories.
The book begins with those emails, then traverses back in time to open up the secret that Veronica and Doreen’s parents took to their graves.
This is a compelling family saga based on a true story of love, filled with heart-rending decisions, scandal, tragedy and secrecy.