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Monday, May 1, 2023

Girl Hidden by Jesse René Gibbs - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Jesse René Gibbs and her new book, “Girl Hidden,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Jesse René Gibbs and to increase your chances of winning!!

Thanks for stopping by!!  Wishing you all lots of good luck in this fabulous giveaway!!

Girl Hidden

by Jesse René Gibbs


GENRE:  Memoir



Echoing among the Blue Ridge Mountains were the cries of newborn babies that disappeared into the night. The screams of children nearly drowned out by the sound of crickets. A girl, hidden and waiting to be found, terrified, and confused. The fireflies sparkling in the woods, bringing light to darkled places.

The bulk of Jesse’s memories were of growing up in the farm country of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The farm folks stayed pretty much outside of town, except for visits to the feed store causing random tractors to travel down Main Street. There were beatings and abuses, manipulation and terror carried out in spaces breathtaking in their beauty. There were twenty-seven Baptist churches, three non-denominational churches, and one Catholic Church.

There were annual Ku Klux Klan rallies on the street where they would walk right by all the black families who came out to watch and the white folks who came out for moral support—whether of the blacks or the whites, no one knew for sure. Black people did not marry white people in a civilized society, and so were rarely seen socializing. There was a young woman who was pregnant with a black man’s baby, so her parents disowned her. Jesse’s family was accused of killing the child and burying it on their property.

There was the Berkley House Bed and Breakfast toward the end of town, with gold plated silverware and hardwood floors, rumored to be the local sex worker house. There was a mansion up on a hill that overlooked the other humble houses in the town. In the local cemetery, there was “Will B. Jolly” carved into the graves used by bootleggers back in the twenties. Everyone had some form of thick southern drawl, though the length of the “aw” would extend the further south you went. There was a tiny baseball field and a tinier fire department. There was an old lady in the foothills that let the family raid her garden during the summer. And in exchange, Jesse’s family helped her husband bring in the hay for their animals every year.

There was a black snake in the attic—the door opened inside the closet next to Jesse’s bed. She would find his shed skins left behind in the summer months measuring close to seven feet in length. There was a creek with crawdads and a moss-covered bridge. There were mulberry and pecan trees that filled her and her siblings’ aching bellies as the weather turned.

There were hot summer days and freezing cold winters. There were dogs that were best friends, cats that kept her warm at night, and a cow that committed suicide. There was red clay instead of dirt, hayfields instead of grass, and a favorite swimming hole: Lenny’s Mill, the local grain mill on a glacier-fed creek where you could take a dip if you were brave enough to challenge the frigid waters.

Girl Hidden is the story of an unwanted child, born nonetheless and forced into servitude, desperate to protect her siblings and find her way out from under the vicious, manipulative abuses heaped on her by the one person who was supposed to love her unconditionally: her mother.



He was standing with his hands over his face. His back was shaking. Jesse slowly walked in front of him and stood there, silently watching as the sobs wracked his body. She reached up and touched his arm, startling him for a moment. Tears filled her eyes. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. She started weeping, her tears dripping onto his shirt. They held each other for a moment as the world seemed to stop turning around them.

Jesse pulled away from him and wiped her eyes. Robert looked down at her and stuttered a little as he tried to put words to his feelings.

She looked up into his eyes. “Poppa,” she said, stopping his attempts to speak. “I cannot be the grown-up for both of us. I’m not… I’m not strong enough!” Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks, washing away the last of the makeup that she had so meticulously applied earlier that day. “Please, Poppa.”

Jesse took a deep breath, pulled herself together, lifted her chin, and walked back into the room with the black-and-white tile floor. Robert stood in the hallway and watched her go. His stepdaughter would never depend on him again. His heart broke a little more, but he knew that there was nothing he could do about it. He forced himself to wipe his eyes again and walk back into the room.



Putting Yourself on a Page: What It’s Like to Share Your Most Personal Words with the World

In a word: hard. Writing Girl Hidden was a twenty-five-year challenge to all that I knew about the world.

I loved writing from the perspective of my mother; she was extremely abusive to me and my siblings, but I had all of her letters to reach into her mind and try and create a character that was honest about the abuse but also humanized her.

So often memories can be subjective and influenced by our own biases, and I was also deep in the well of the perspectives of my narcissistic mother, so research was one of the most important aspects of this book. My best friend June and I dug through boxes, did interviews, along with a lot of extraneous research to make this book come about.

June both collaborated with me and provided me with the support and encouragement that I needed through the entire experience. It can be challenging to organize and write about personal experiences, but having someone who believes in you and is willing to help can make all the difference. Writing a memoir can be a cathartic and rewarding experience, but it is also emotionally taxing. And she was my rock through the whole experience.

My mother worked hard to rewrite the truth and my story in every way imaginable. As an example, for the nine months that she was pregnant with Faith, I was thirteen years old. I managed the farm, milked the goats and the cow twice a day, cleaned house, watched and raised four boys, taught school (we were all homeschooled so that Momma could micromanage what we were allowed to learn) and took care of her; from feeding her to cleaning up after she threw up multiple times a day to helping her to and from the bathroom – I did everything. When she tells the story of being bedridden for nearly a year, she only talks about the fact that the eggs from the chicken coop weren’t clean enough before they went into the fridge. That’s it. That’s the only thing she remembers from all the work that I did at such a young age. And that’s how she told my story.

From the book: Dolores announced to the family that she was pregnant again. She had been ill for a few weeks, so no one was really surprised. Once again, Jesse began hoping for a baby sister. Dolores’s morning sickness quickly became unbearable, and she was relegated to bed full-time.

The creaky old farmhouse was filthy on any given day, and as time went on, it got worse. At age thirteen, Jesse milked the goats, fed and watered them, and put them out to pasture. The boys helped care for the bunnies, and the eggs were brought in by whoever was told to do it that day. The acre and a half yard, tilting at a frightening forty-five-degree angle, had to be mowed on a near-daily basis in the summertime.

Summer found her caring for baby chicks, pushing the lawnmower up and down the long hill, and airing out the house to keep it cool. She taught school and read books to her four brothers, washed dishes, did countless loads of laundry, and emptied her mother’s vomit bucket several times a day.

Luke chopped wood, helped his sister as much as they fought, and took on helping with the animals. The resident rooster hated him, so Luke had to fight to get into the barn every morning, and often he came back to the house with bloody claw-marked legs. He’d grab the halter of the nearest goat, tie a rope to it, lead it to a tree or stump, knot it off and haul a five-gallon bucket of water over. He was so little the bucket was nearly as tall as him. The goat, meanwhile (large enough to knock him over), would munch happily on the grass in the yard, and boom: free lawn mower plus added fertilizer.

Dolores had gestational diabetes, kidney stones, and the worst morning sickness she’d ever had. She was angry at her husband for abandoning her to go to work and leaving her alone with the kids; she was angry that selling the Rockwell house didn’t magically make her millions; she was angry at the kids for existing; she was trapped inside her own body with no one to rescue her from her thoughts. She made countless phone calls and tried to keep herself occupied, but anger battled with severe depression for her time.

Jesse fixed Dolores her food, kept the kids quiet, potty trained her youngest sibling, fixed three meals a day, and tried to keep up with a farm. Luke jumped in to help, taking the place that Robert left during his absence.

One particularly busy morning, Jesse hurried about the kitchen as the littles got in the way, and eventually managed to bring her mother a full plate with a bowl of her special tuna and a sleeve of Saltines. She set the plate next to her mother’s bed, quietly gathered a handful of dirty dishes and an armful of laundry, and, shooing the ever-present little ones out of the bedroom, closed the door behind her and headed to the laundry room to switch the laundry. By the time she was done, lunch would be cool enough to serve with nobody getting burned, but all the noodles would be soggy. She hated even the smell of ramen noodles, but you could feed a family of eight for less than two dollars, so it was a staple. That and mac n’ cheese, or whatever Poppa brought home from the food salvage: could be lunch meat, could be a boxful of dented soups with no labels.

Jesse served up lunch for the kids. As they all gathered around the table in their assigned seats, Dolores emerged from her bedroom, an empty plate in hand. Jesse looked up, terrified. Would Dolores throw things, beat them, scream at them, or send them all outside to play for the day? There was never any knowing.

Dolores went to the dining room bookshelf, which held her collection of blue speckle-ware dishes, Noah’s ark figurines, and bird’s nests that she’d collected, which also had her children’s hair from the previous summer’s haircuts woven into them. (A particularly macabre and curious collection, to be sure.) She reached for book three in “The Little House on the Prairie” series and sat down in her place at the head of the table. The kids let their breath go. Reading. They could handle reading, and the younger ones thrived on it.

Dolores, who dearly loved the sound of her own voice, finished the chapter that she was reading, and allowed the kids to leave the table, insisting this time that they clear their places. The children did as they were told and then scattered. Jesse returned to the kitchen and the never-ending task of washing dishes.

“Jesse,” Dolores said, initiating a conversation with her oldest daughter from her seat at the dining table. Jesse froze. She could tell just by the tone that this was going to be bad. “Jesse, I’m concerned that you’re trying to take MY place in the family. I just need you to know that you are a CHILD, young lady. And this is MY house. Just because you occasionally clean means nothing here.”

Dolores went on to berate her daughter’s looks, clothes, and attitude, insinuating that she – Jesse – was going to try to steal Dolores’s husband. Jesse just kept her eyes on the floor, hoping that words would be enough for her mother. And they were, for now.

Her mother headed back to bed. Jesse put “Little House on the Prairie” back on the bookshelf, and then walked back into the laundry room to change the laundry once again. Tears leaked from her eyes, but she brushed them away with one hand, angrily forcing herself to move forward; the kids needed her to be safe. They didn’t need to see her blubbering.

Dolores made it out of bed a few more times in that nine months, but it was a rarity. Physically she just could not take it. The children collected eggs, milked the goats and tried valiantly to run a farm on their own. The boys forgot to feed the rabbits for so long that they died. Jesse knelt in the grass with them, trying to get them to eat while her brothers cried in shame. All of the kids lived in fear of Robert coming home to carry out the many beatings earned in his absence – at least, the ones that Dolores could not drag herself out of bed to complete.

Evenings found Jesse exhausted, huddled under her stepfather’s coat, in her nightgown and boots, in the cold dirt basement praying for the fire to start in the woodstove. For all that Jesse worked to compensate for her parents' lack of help, she was just a child herself. In so many ways, she knew that she came up painfully short.



My name is Jesse René Gibbs and I am the author of Girl Hidden. I am an artist, designer, dancer and survivor. I am a stepmother to four, Amma to four more and blessed beyond measure with the family that I chose.

This book is based on the true story of my life, gleaned from years of my mother’s writings, my grandmother’s journals and my own experiences. I did my best to showcase the depth of damage that growing up with a narcissistic parent can have on a person, and how hard it is to come to terms with the amount of gaslighting that comes with that life. My siblings all have their own stories of being played against each other, bullied and even emotionally tortured by our parents. We were trained to not trust our own intuition, raised in a life of poverty, a lack of privacy and the endlessly traumatizing purity culture.

I was hunted in my own home by the man my mother married and escaped at nineteen only to land in an intentional community in Chicago that did nearly as much damage. My best friend in the book is also real, and she did more to walk me through my trauma, and she is the main reason that these stories were finally published.

My new life in Seattle didn’t start until well into my thirties, and I’m still working on deconstructing my life up to that point. I wrote this book to organize my life in my own mind and to undo years of lies. I also wrote it because others need to know that they are not alone.











Jesse René Gibbs will be awarding a $25 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card (Winner’s Choice!!!) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Enjoyed the post. Sounds like a good book.

  2. I enjoyed the excerpt the book sounds like a great read.

  3. The book sounds very interesting. Love the cover.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.