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SACRED HEARTS RISING: BREAKING THE SILENCE ONE STORY AT A TIME

“These are the stories that nobody wants to discuss. They are the hushed stories, the ones everyone wishes weren’t there. But, they are. And they need to be told.”
Brenda Hammon

In Sacred Hearts Rising you’ll find a collection of essays from women who have overcome all manner of struggles: abuse, loss, near-death experiences, mental illness, abandonment, heartbreak, and more. Through this diverse mix of stories, a bright thread connects these women: no matter what befell them, they are not fallen and they will not be silent. Their voices, their hearts, and their lives are rising. Here in these pages, you are invited to join them.

Foreword by Jo Dibblee

Sacred Hearts
by Colleen Songs

Missing Footsteps
by Brenda Hammon

Roots
by Daphne McDonagh

The Decision that Changed My Life
by Becky Norwood

Today I Am Free
by Patsy Davis

I Heard Your Voice
by Marta Clay

I’m Not Crazy
by Martina Soderquist

Sometimes You Have To Heal Yourself
by Holly Holmberg

Somewhere Over The Rainbow
by Laura-Lee Harrison

In the Shadows
by Ahstyn Bigam

A Journey To Freedom
by Jannet Talbott

Opening the Invisible Drawer
by Thyra Whitford

The Broken Porcelain Doll
by Elizabeth J.O. Gagnon

Coming Out Again and Again
by Brigitte Lessard-Deyell

The Journey Home
by Colleen Herbst

You Are Enough
by Michele Noordhof

The Present I Choose
by Bonnie Todd

On the Wings of an Angel
by Tannis Soderquist

Girl, Interrupted
by Charlene Lumsden

Courage to Heal
by Sheryl Rist

Here and Now!
by Tenshy Perdomo

Silver Lining
by Jordan Guildford

Quest for Happiness
by Kathy Smith

Finding My Wings
by Carolyn Block

Secure in Love
by Susan Janzen

REVIEWS

Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time is a non-fiction collection of short tales from a variety of women from all walks of life. The book provides a brief introduction at the beginning to inform the reader on what the book is about, what inspired it, and a little bit about the theme of the book, which is about women overcoming obstacles in their lives. The book then contains many short stories by individual women from all walks of life and backgrounds, and how each of them has overcome or dealt with adversity in life. The adversity can take many forms including physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, assault, mental illness, trauma, grief, loss, thoughts of suicide, terminal disease such as cancer, etc. All of these and more have been explored in the words of these women themselves. The stories are also accompanied by photos and a brief life sketch about each of them.

I really liked the idea behind Sacred Hearts Rising of consolidating these stories of courage and hope about women in the words of the women themselves. They are all so different, but the underlying link between them is they have all faced extraordinary challenges in life. The unique voice and writing style of each also brings a nice flavor to this book and turns it into an educational and, at times, even entertaining read where I found myself genuinely happy for the ones who truly found peace. This is a very inspirational book that I would certainly recommend, especially for those who may have undergone similar hardships in life.

Gisela Dixon
Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time by Brenda Hammon is an anthology of stories told by women. The stories vary considerably, but each is told in its own individual way to inspire, encourage, enlighten, or empower its reader. There are those who struggled to deal with personal loss of a loved one, or rape, or abuse, or sometimes all of those. Others have faced and overcome illness such as cancer. Each story is emotive and shows how the writer was able to come to terms with their particular situation and learn ways to deal with it and, more importantly, to overcome and to rise above their individual trauma and to go on to lead a fulfilling life.

Brenda Hammon, who spent time researching and compiling this anthology of short, personal stories, has done a credible job in bringing together heart wrenching accounts of the awful situations that many people go through. But these stories are not just accounts of often life-threatening situations, but detailed explanations on how they were able to make a better life for themselves, notwithstanding their past. Each story is well written and told from the heart. The reader is left feeling empathy for each writer, and encouraged that it is not necessary to accept any type of negative or abusive behaviour, and to take control and direct your own path. Acknowledgement must also be given to each writer for having the courage and inclination to relate their experiences with the intent of bringing hope to others who might unwittingly find themselves facing similar experiences.

Jane Finch
Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time by Brenda Hammon is a compendium of stories from different people, stories about their journeys to inner freedom, stories about the things most women suffer and keep hidden in their hearts, and stories about their silent sufferings. The stories in this collection are well-crafted and touching, and it is no wonder that most of us will feel echoes of the voices in this book in our own lives. The stories are courageously shared and one can find in them some form of therapy. After reading some of these stories, I said: “I am not alone.”

Brenda Hammon’s book is a wonderful offering to women of all ages suffering from abuse of any kind, a gift that began as her personal experience of grief and morphed into something big and transformational. In this book readers will find stories — some disturbing while others are very encouraging — about “various forms of abuse, grief, suicide, cancer, near-death experiences, mental illness and abandonment, and more.” The stories are well-written to have a friendly feel, with a narrative that readers will find familiar. Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time is one of those books that will encourage you to take your own journey to freedom courageously and to face the reality of your life. It’s a book about healing and one that communicates the powerful message that our pain doesn’t define us, that our experience of neglect and abuse doesn’t define us, and that we can choose to embrace ourselves and move towards the inner light of healing. It’s very inspirational, a book to read and pass on.

Arya Fomonyuy
Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time by Brenda Hammon is a non-fiction anthology of short stories by various authors. These inspirational true-life stories are all about “breaking the silence” and are actually the first ones in a series. This book, as one is reminded in the introduction, “is not intended to dispense psychological or therapeutic advice, the information is provided for educational and inspirational purpose only.” It is composed of authentic life-stories which are all powerful, heartrending and are easy to immerse yourself in.

Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time by Brenda Hammon is a collection of short stories which moved me at so many levels, sometimes to tears. It broaches so many major topics such as alienation, power, and believing in yourself and in your dreams, expectations, self-esteem, manipulation, anxiety, depression. I particularly loved “I’m not crazy” and cannot but share these short quotes: “I am trapped. Helpless. A prisoner of my mind”; “the anxiety, depression, panic attacks crippled me”; “living in a shroud of darkness.” The manipulation of which the main character is the victim is tremendous but also progressive, and this type of story is bound to help a reader face what they had avoided seeing and help them realize what they are going through. I would like to add that this is what I liked the most about this collection: the stories will definitely help numerous women realize that life can be different, that they too should break the silence and get a grasp on their own lives. Thank you so much for these moving stories!

Marie-Hélène Fasquel
Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time by Brenda Hammon is a beautiful collection of stories of personal transformation, stories of different women who choose to break the silence and look at the dark experiences of their past with utter honesty. In this book, readers listen to different compelling voices as they share their stories of betrayal, abuse, abandonment, divorce, and a lot more; those experiences that leave a dark cloud in the heart and leave it broken. These are stories about healing, hope, and redemption, but they also consider the consequences of trauma and abuse in our lives. The collection features stories from twenty-five women, each unique in their experience of pain, but they share something in common — the desire not to let their past determine who they are.

They understand that they can choose their responses to the tragedies and traumas of their lives. Brenda Hammon has done a wonderful job in putting together these stories and making them available to readers, because there is a lot in this book that the reader will resonate with. We all have our traumas and, at times, they pursue us in ways we don’t even understand. This book communicates the hope that we can be free by courageously confronting our past and determining how it should affect us. The stories are filled with many insightful passages and lessons for readers. Written in a style that anyone can understand, these are compelling stories. Sacred Hearts Rising: Breaking the Silence One Story at a Time will change the way we read our stories and how we look at others.

Ruffina Oserio