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“Joan Kendall’s memoir speaks to a time and place too often recalled in false rosy tones, exposing the traumas of her Southern family during a time of racial unrest.”

-Foreword Clarion Reviews

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle.

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“A deftly written memoir of an interesting and troubled life lived out in interesting and troubled times, Secrets on Saulter Road is unreservedly and especially recommended.”

-Midwest Book Review

Praise for

Secrets on Saulter Road

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About the Book

Nothing is ever as it seems...

Secrets on Saulter Road is a story of growth, resilience, and hope. With remarkable honesty and wit, author Joan Kendall nimbly explores her upbringing in the prim and proper segregated South during the 1950s with an outrageously unpredictable and destructive alcoholic mother.

Joan and her two sisters—Linda, the perplexing spendthrift, and Susan, the practical optimist—never knew which mother would appear on the scene: the charming Mary Poppins or the spiteful Cruella de Vil. Their loving father did his best, but behind closed doors, his criticism of their mother’s drinking fueled her bizarre and neglectful behaviors and further withdrawal into an ocean of whiskey.

The sisters often had each other’s backs, and the family maid and daytime buffer, Jadie Bell, provided a fortress in their domestic war. Although Jadie Bell loved them as her own, she could not rid their home of gloom and shame.

In Joan’s adulthood, a lamentable family secret is divulged, and the pain and trauma of the past becomes clear. In this beautifully written memoir, Joan reveals her own brokenness, and shares her path to redemption, healing, and joy.

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About the Book

About the Author

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Joan Kendall was born and bred in Birmingham, Alabama. She was a member of the Board of Contributors with "The Birmingham News." Her work has appeared in The Citizen Magazine and the anthology The Short and Sweet of It, and she has appeared several times on PBS’s For the Record

Joan twice served on the Alabama State Textbook Committee at the request of the governor, and at the request of the state superintendent, she served on the steering committee of the Alabama Reading Initiative. She has spoken at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Conference, Alabama Veterans of Foreign Wars (keynote), Leadership Alabama, Policy Exchange Foundation, and Kiwanis Clubs. 

She received a national award for involving the community in education. In 2003, Joan helped launch an after-school program for inner-city children, which is now in over thirty schools serving 2,000 children. 

Joan and her husband, Henry, still reside in Birmingham, Alabama, and have three daughters and eight grandchildren.

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About the Author

Praise for Secrets on Saulter Road

“I have been privileged to know Joan for many years as a friend and, most recently, as a patient. Reading her book was like being invited to sit on her back porch with a glass of tea and meeting the characters of her intriguing family.

“Her story is told with a courageous vulnerability that peels back social façades and carefully crafted niceties and lets the souls of the people spring to life. Walking down the interwoven paths of these family members reminds us that, while life is hard, the difficulties do not have to define us. We can choose redemption, even in the decisions that at the time may appear to be small, everyday things of life. 

“Pull up your own chair with a glass of tea as you come close to the story of Joan’s family, which is, in many ways, a picture of all our journeys.”

Wayne (Bill) Krug, PhD
Practicing Clinical Psychologist
Birmingham, Alabama

“Joan has written more than a mere memoir. It is a wonderful account of one who has experienced some of life’s biggest challenges and who found the answers that all of us need. I hope her powerful story finds broad readership, not just among her friends, but also among the millions who are searching for life’s real meaning and purpose.”

Sandy Willson
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Birmingham, Alabama

“Joan takes us along her journey on Saulter Road from despair and heartache to a place of joy. The reader is left with great hope that no matter the course, one can rise above their circumstances. Her life is a great illustration that what happens to you is not as important as your reaction to what happens to you. The lessons learned within these pages apply to people of every age.”

Mary Glynn Peeples
Author, Speaker
Peeple’s Passion, Worldwide podcast
Birmingham, Alabama


Contact the Author


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