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Press coverage for 'Always in the Dark' by Diane Harding.


This is not an easy read – the pain of the author is tangible – but it is a haunting memoir of a childhood mystery that unfolded painfully and finally with a devastating understanding about the shocking truth of her life. Diane Berry was an English schoolgirl growing up in the leafy streets of suburban Cape Town in the 1950s. Her father, Victor, worked for Cadbury’s but he was anything but a sweet man. He went out ahead of his wife, Blanche, to find a home in Cape Town. Soon after their daughter, Diane, was born but her idyllic childhood was ruined when she and her mother returned from a holiday in England to discover Connie his mistress already installed. For the sake of her daughter Blanche accepted the fait accompli with pain and forbearance and then followed 19 years of living a lie. Diane had no idea that her ‘Godmother’ who lived with them was her father’s lover until she was much older and living in England. This book of surviving in the face of pain and suffering, is a book about courage, of putting others first; and its opposite- a cruelty by her father and his mistress who shared a small intimate space with the mother of a young girl perfectly able to ignore her pain. The neighbours were as much in the dark as was Diane. They believed that the second woman was a friend, an ‘auntie’ a long-term visitor; they had no idea of what was going on under their noses. At a time when the huge issue of domestic abuse is taking centre stage for much overdue political and legal action this book is a timely reminder of the everyday nature of evil.

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Reviews on Amazon ‘Heartbreaking, powerful and compelling. Beautifully and bravely written.’ ‘A true story, beautifully written from the heart.'

'A real page turner, I didn’t want it to end. So well written.'

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Always in the Dark: One Woman's Search for Answers from a Family Shrouded in Secrets is a deeply moving memoir that tells of secrets, scandal and survival.

After her parents emigrated post war, Diane spends her idyllic and cosy childhood in Cape Town, which is ruined at the age of three after the arrival of a visitor. Her roller coaster existence and mother’s mental breakdown when she is eight adds to her confusion. Her father works for Cadbury’s and after securing a transfer with the company, the family move back to England when she is fourteen. With each new move, of which there are many, Diane prays that happiness will return to her parents’ marriage.

It is obvious her home life is a weird one and it is only after her mother’s death that she rummages through her secret box and unearths a wealth of staggering information she does not know exists. But Diane is a young child when it all begins and the fact she has lived her life to the point of naivety is beyond baffling. And because of the hurt and embarrassment her shocking revelation is not something she wants to share with her husband.

The search for the truth sends Diane on numerous missions to talk to many people only to discover that she is the last to know about her dysfunctional family. Her goal is to hear an apology for her ruined childhood.

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About the author

Diane Harding (nee Berry) knew from a tender age that she would one day write a book. What she did not know was that it would be a brave and courageous account of her childhood that had been filled with secrets and scandal. Her naivety, and the fact she was the last to know the reason for her weird upbringing, was beyond baffling. Her memoir ‘Always in the Dark’ has allowed her to put the record straight.

Diane was born in Cape Town after her parents’ emigrated post war. She attended Herschel School and at the age of fourteen moved to England after her father secured a transfer with Cadbury’s.

Married with two children and three grandchildren, Diane lives near Bath. After a long career in education, now retired she devotes as much time as possible to her grandchildren. Apart from a passion for writing, her interests include tennis, tap dancing, gardening, delving into her genealogy and recording Talking Newspapers for the blind.

Connect with Diane Harding

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Purchase Always in the Dark: One Woman's Search for Answers from a Family Shrouded in Secrets

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