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Author and educator Anne Pearce Lehman captures intimate and poignant details of her family’s American experience, beginning with the journey of Catherine and James Dillen from Ireland to the New World in the nineteenth century and continuing up to the present. The author traces four generations of her family—rugged and enterprising settlers who carved a living out of the wilderness of northern Maine, followed the continent west in search of riches, and finally arrived in the halls of the nation’s government in Washington, D.C., in the person of “Uncle Ira” Hersey, US Congressman. Through her ancestors’ letters and her own research and conjecture, Lehman paints a vivid portrait of hardship and adventure in early America and learns something about her own past in the process—a secret that her own mother, Vera Adelma, took to the grave. Woven into the rich tapestry of Aroostook County in northern Maine, Mother’s Painful Secret is an artistically crafted portrayal of nineteenth-century American history and culture.

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