Society tells us that we love our mothers. But what happens when that love isn’t there? Justine Cowan felt no love for her mother. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t feel that emotion. What Justine felt for her mother started out as fear. Over time the fear turned to anger and the anger turned to hatred. Hatred that held her back from learning a secret that her mother had tried to tell her. A secret that Justine’s mother had kept for decades.
Justine was in her 50’s when her mother died. She had grown up knowing a couple of things about her mother: her mother was illegitimate, and she came from aristocracy. Throughout her life, there was never any discussion about family. Her mother’s death changed all that. The woman who was known as Eileen Thompson was in fact Dorothy Soames. For the first 12 years of her life, Dorothy had lived at the Foundling Hospital short for London’s Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children. Established in the 18th century, its mission was to save “bastard” children from death or a life on the streets. In reality, they were treated to a life of physical and emotional abuse.
Justine Cowan is the author of The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames – A True Story. Her first book is riveting, heartbreaking, and healing. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, Justine became an accomplished environmental lawyer. She has spent most of her career working to protect our nation’s natural resources. Justine received her law degree with honors from Duke University School of Law and has received numerous awards for her public service.