About the Author
About the Book
The author received an A.A. from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and a B.S., R.N. from Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing. At Central CT State University, she completed the coursework for an M.A. in Community Psychology. Employed over the years as a nurse, a Realtor, and an employment counselor for individuals with mental illnesses, she also worked as a freelance writer when time allowed. In that capacity, she contributed articles to publications such as Boston Magazine, Spotlight Magazine, and Military Lifestyle; wrote the content of newsletters and websites for several nonprofit organizations; and produced material for B-to-B websites. The mother of three daughters, she lives between Naples, FL, and Southington, CT, with her dog, Daisy.
In Maracaibo, Venezuela, Ava locates a cousin in the terminal stage of the family illness─a genetic disease that rampaged through several generations of the family as its members migrated from Venezuela to Florida—and pitches in to help his wife, Mariella, care for him. Despite losing her home, her job, and any hope for a future with her terminally ill husband, poverty-stricken Mariella lives in a one-room shack in an alley. She has surrendered everything in the name of love. Mariella is the yardstick by which Ava measures her own fortitude.
Professional pianist, Ava Skinner, is living a near-idyllic life with her husband, Langdon, in their Naples, Florida, Gulf Shore Drive mansion until disturbing symptoms cause her to feel and behave uncharacteristically.
When an unshakable dread of the future invades her every waking thought, desperation and suspicion drive her back to the orphanage where she was reared to search for information about her family, especially a medical history. In a dusty file, she discovers an unopened letter from her mother, Isabella, who writes about a tragic family legacy. After a doctor confirms Ava’s worst fears and reveals a second shocking surprise, she hides the dreadful revelations from her husband and makes plans for the future.
Wrestling with a world that is collapsing around her, burdened with lies and guilt, and frantic to conceal her worsening symptoms from her husband, Ava flees to Maracaibo, Venezuela, on the pretext of searching for information about her family. Determined to protect Langdon from learning the truth, she vows to take her secrets to her grave.
As Ava’s journey continues, she becomes intimate with the challenges endured by some members of her family, and Langdon makes his own incredible discovery in Naples. In spite of Ava’s deception, her unbounded courage and extreme sacrifice afford her story an ending in which love endures and hope remains.
The novel set, in two different cultures—Naples, Florida, and Maracaibo, Venezuela—provides a startling contrast between the rich and the poor and touches on the plight of migrant farmworkers. A realistic picture of the psychological burdens borne by individuals who suffer from terminal or chronic diseases and the effect their struggles have on the members of their families is woven into the story. Most important, Twisting Legacy puts a face on a little-known, hereditary disease, including finding the causative gene, managing the illness, and counseling individuals at risk. Despite progress, there is still no cure.
REVIEW: "Compulsively readable and deeply heartfelt, Twisting Legacy casts a poignant, illuminating light on the scourge of one particular genetic disease and the courageous people who are forced—every day—to deal with its inhumane ravages." —David M. Carew, author, editor