In the days when having a child out of wedlock was considered shameful, many unwed mothers turned to adoption which was kept secret as a means of protecting reputations.
Journalist Caroline Clarke was born to a single mother and was adopted by two very loving parents. But unlike many adopted children of her day, she was able to find her birth mother and writes a very poignant account of her reunion with her biological mother in her book, "Postcards from Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles and a Whole Lot of Mail." (HarperCollins, 311 pages)
For medical reasons, the author decided to discover more about her biological parents. The adoption agency told her that her birth mother was raised in a very wealthy family and that the father had been a show business professional who had died of lung cancer not long after her birth on Christmas day in 1964.
Given that her biological mother was African-American, the clues to her illustrious grandfather pointed to the very talented Nat "King" Cole. In a stroke of irony, the author was already familiar with her birth family as she had been a college friend of Timolin "Timmie" Cole, Nat's daughter.
It turns out that Caroline Clarke and her biological mother were both adopted as children. Caroline's biological mother Carole (nicknamed "Cookie") was adopted by her biological aunt, Maria, and her husband, the singer Nat "King" Cole.
Through a series of phone calls and post cards through which family secrets are unveiled, Caroline discovers that the precious bond of love of a mother for her child, was never completely severed. Their journey of reunion is captured with sensitivity, as Caroline describes all the anxieties (including those of her adopted parents) in this touching diary which reveals the joys and sorrows of adoption.
Caroline Clarke treats her biological family, the Coles, with tenderness. After finishing this book, the reader is sure to be touched with a bittersweet feeling whenever the rich voice of Nat "King" Cole sings his unforgettable "Christmas Song."