Destruction of Innocence
by Rosalie Hollingsworth


iUniverse, Inc, 2009. ISBN 978-1-440-12502-7.
Reviewed by Mary Jo Doig
Posted on 11/16/2009

Nonfiction: Memoir

In the late 1950s Rosalie Hollingsworth met Franco Allatere, a handsome, charming Italian citizen working in Portland, OR, who completely swept her off her feet. His attentions caused her to feel the most beautiful and desirable woman in the world, one who had entered into a fairy tale.

Within a mere few days of their marriage, though, the fairy tale was shattered. Franco's charms were replaced by periods of intense rage toward his bride caused by his misconceptions of small daily situations that arose. Yet gentle, loving reconciliation followed each.

Within weeks of their marriage, Franco, now an American citizen by virtue of their union, took Rosalie to France to meet his mother and, there, their marriage improved. Carmen Allatere loved her only child without reservation and, it soon became apparent, had indulged his every whim throughout his life. After the couple returned to America, Carmen came to live with the newlyweds, keeping their home while both worked. For awhile Rosalie was as submissive to Franco as her mother-in-law.

When Rosalie ached to have a child, Franco was willing. Following several miscarriages and then the death of their prematurely born daughter, Danina, Rosalie remained tenacious (a personal characteristic that would be absolutely necessary in future events that life would bring) in her desire for motherhood and was soon pregnant again. On April 7, 1964, Triana was born, a perfect, beautiful, endearing child.

The family's home situation deteriorated rapidly once again as Franco insisted Rosalie return quickly to work; his mother assumed complete care of Triana; and, evidence of Franco's infidelities surfaced along with other very serious problems. Six months after Triana's birth, Rosalie left Franco and moved into her own apartment with her daughter. Then, just a few months later on one of his visitation days, Franco kidnapped Triana and disappeared along with his mother.

The subsequent story of Rosalie's daring, successful plan to locate and recapture Triana is compelling. Yet that is not the end of the story. Several years later, Franco returned to America with his mother, ostensibly to seek reconciliation with his wife and daughter. Though Rosalie was firm about not resuming their relationship, in time she began to permit brief visits because Triana wanted to spend time with her father.

Throughout the book the author shows us slices of her own childhood that explain how she was deceived by Franco's charms and resumed areas of trust that proved, in the end, unwise choices. It was simply a matter of time before Franco again kidnapped his daughter and this time fled with her, his new wife and her two daughters, to South America. There the family endured living in exceedingly primitive conditions, moving frequently to avoid being discovered by officials. Four miserable years passed for Franco's family, well reconstructed by the author, who continued with a second, much more difficult search that eventually brought Triana home.

Hollingsworth has written a gripping story that engaged me throughout. In her epilogue, she says:

"Why did I write this book? Why all this effort? It was, in large part, cathartic therapy. But the primary reason was I wanted to tell our story because I believed that somehow it may give courage to others, not only in their pursuit of locating their children, but to have the courage to share their stories with others."

Hollingsworth is, above all else, a deeply courageous woman.


Rosalie Hollingsworth grew up in Oregon and California. She attended Pierce College where she majored in art design. She currently lives in the Hill Country in West Texas. She has two daughters, three stepsons, and five grandsons. Her memoir, Destruction of Innocence, marks her debut as an author. Visit the author's website.

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