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My Mothers' Secrets



252 Pages, 6 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $24.99 (US $24.99) (CA $33.99)

Publication Date: September 2023

ISBN 9781739879433

Rights: US, CA & CAR

Muswell Press (Sep 2023)

Price: $24.99


‘The most amazing and remarkable story’ Today Show, NBC

‘A family scandal straight out of a Hollywood film noir…what a story it is. I look forward to seeing it on Netflix’ Spectator

Adoption, Family and Fraud…

Donna was six years old when her sister casually told her that she and her siblings were all adopted. It was a revelation that fractured her sense of identity but  remained one of those things left unsaid within the family. Later, when her complicated and unconventional adoptive mother died, Donna was left feeling exposed, her life un-witnessed without a mother to look over her.

So, she decided to investigate her origins and began the search for her birth mother.  Trawling through records she discovered that she had been adopted through the notorious Louise Wise Adoption Service based in Manhattan and since exposed as corrupt and unethical, but that was just the beginning.  As she dug deeper she discovered that her birth parents had been involved in an explosive and salacious story, one of the biggest true crime stories to grip the USA in the late 1960s.

Previously redacted records from the infamous adoption agency revealed that Donna’s mother (27, Jewish and single), her father (40, Catholic, married with 4 children), had hatched a plan to defraud an insurance company and run off to Spain to raise Donna. Further investigation revealed that in 1967, Donna’s mother, Mira Lindenmaier, faked her own death in a drowning accident off City Island in the Bronx for the double indemnity insurance money.


"Adoption, con artists, fraudulent child agencies, reunions… This jaw-dropping true story by Donna Freed is written with verve and heart as she creates a memoir that mixes her personal history with bigger questions about what makes us who we are." —Stylist

Author Biography

Donna Freed, a native of New York, is a writer and translator. She has lived in London since 2005. She writes for The Oldie and presents the Radio Gorgeous podcast. She appeared on the Today Show in January last year, prompted by an article in the New York Post which has revisited Miriam Lindenmaier’s story from time to time over the years.