Book Review: The Ordeal by Josephine Walden

Book Details:

Author: Joesphine Walden
Release Date: 
20th August 2022
Genre: Memoir
Format: E-book 
Pages: 401
After two major floods with their financial, physical, and emotional ramifications, a car accident, several dangerous encounters while traveling and family deaths, I spiraled down into a life-changing, nursing-career ending illness.  Diagnosis:   Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a little understood illness at the time.  A single mom, I struggled to work but the symptoms slowly overtook me:   debilitating fatigue, flu-like symptoms, a pre-leukemic blood dyscrasia and a slow loss of memory.  Then a beloved sister and I inherited two estates.  She took care of probate.  As I descended into the throes of the illness, she invited me to stay with her and her husband.  While there, fun times were punctuated by unpleasant encounters and accusations of family neglect and other short comings.  Unable to respond due to memory loss and slow thought processes, I kept silent.  As probate progressed, my daughter began to warn me about my sister’s behavior in dealing with the probate issues.  I couldn’t comprehend her concerns as I trusted my sister implicitly.  I was blissfully unaware of game playing, creative manipulations, plots, thefts and acts of revenge.

Finally, there was some improvement and I returned to work.  That attempt failed after only four months.  With trepidation I eventually returned to my sister’s due to her persistent coaxing.  While there, she did all she could to make me physically, as well as emotionally, uncomfortable.  I left.  Once away her behavior became overly hostile and aggressive.  She seemed to be a combination of Baby Jane’s sister and Virginia Wolff!  My ex-husband, a state policeman, guided me through a two-estate, nine-year ordeal.  Julie’s actions would almost financially break me, deprive me of some of my inheritance and cause family members to turn against me. 

Eventually I had to retain an attorney.  He had been a former prosecutor and said it was the worst case he had ever handled.  Finally, after trying to deal with her, the attorneys asked me to meet with her.  Still ill but with some improvement I pulled myself together.  My attempted intervention wasn’t successful.  She was evasive, less than honest, accusatory and walked out of the meeting to avoid answering my questions.  The lawyers made the decision to hold a judicial inquiry so the judge would know how to rule.  Sadly, court would be the next step.

In court the findings influenced the judge to put Julie on supervision to finish the probate business and had her escorted from the parental home and out of town by a Sheriff’s Deputy.  He followed her to the next town.  My lawyer called it “Frontier Justice.”  The home was sealed, and contents and home were sold.  This final resolution brought peace and financial stability to my life.  Estranged family members were reunited with me.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Ordeal by Josephine Walden is a touching memoir about the author’s story of having been betrayed by someone she held very dear to her heart and how she had to confront the hard realities of life. But thankfully, the author is later saved with the help of her own wits and her dear daughter.

This book is a memoir that deeply resonated with me even though I still cannot understand why; I think may be because it talks about the basic fear we all harbour in our deep subconscious and unconscious minds about being betrayed by the ones we love the most. This book is a very well-written account of the author’s plight and brings out all the situations she had to endure in great detail making the reader understand the situations well and in a very engrossing way.

I would strongly suggest everyone to read this book as this book is a moving story and would make you emotionally involved in it rewarding you with a great payoff too in the end.

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