Tag Archives: mothers










Dear Reinfried,

I so love this photograph you sent me from Austria…

it reminds me of the hopelessness my mother felt, her loneliness; she was also a heavy smoker.

You captured all of that desolation in one image for me. – Anne Frandi-Coory


Anne Frandi-Coory








Reinfred Marass certified photo


Well, that was my intention. That’s why it is entitled Abandonné.

The original went to Aix in France to a woman who writes for a Jazz Magazine.

The woman pictured told her story in the book Welcome to Hell … similar to the story of  your book,  Whatever Happened To Ishtar?

See, I am surrounded by writers 🙂 – Reinfried Marass



Reinfried Marass

Dear Penny

I just had to put this down on paper, because I know you love Elena Ferrante’s books as much as I do.


Frantumaglia…wow Penny, I don’t know if you have read this book, but Elena Ferrante’s words keep punching me in the stomach.
As you know, Frantumaglia translates into English as ‘a jumble of fragments’ but this book is far from a jumble. I don’t read a lot of modern fiction because I find that non-fiction has more ‘punch’ ’emotion’ and less hollow creative writing. But much of Ferrante’s life is in her books of fiction; so much of the streets of Naples, and of course, so much about our mothers. I can identify with what she says, even though I spent my infancy and childhood only with nuns, while dolls were my security until my teens. I was close to no females until the birth of my daughter when I was 23 years old… and as Ferrante says: “Dolls are not merely a miniaturisation of the daughter. They can be stand-ins for women…” Perhaps real women was what I needed, women whose bodies I could see?  Ferrante talks at length of the ‘shapelessness’ of mothers’ bodies, and I know full well what she means, although in a completely different context. And of course, nuns were also subservient to their men; god in heaven, priests and bishops here on earth!
I had decided, after reading the Neapolitan Novel Quartet  and The Days Of Abandonment not to read Ferrante’s two other earlier books Troubling Love and The Lost Daughter. That is until I read Frantumaglia; then, how could I resist?
Ferrante says of mothers she knew in Naples, including her own: ‘They are cheerful and foul-mouthed women, silent victims, desperately in love with males and male children, ready to defend and serve them even though the men crush and torture them to become even more brutish. To be female children of these mothers wasn’t and isn’t easy. Their vital, obscene, suffering subjugation, full of plans for insurrection that end in nothing, makes both empathy and disaffected rejection difficult. We have to escape from Naples [Italy] to escape from them as well. Only later is it possible to see the torture of women, to feel the weight of the male city on their existence, feel remorse of having abandoned them, and learn to love them, to make them, as you say, a point of leverage in order to redeem their hidden sexuality, and start again from there.’ And in my case, to forgive them.
Frantumaglia – A Writer’s Journey, is a collection of correspondence between Ferrante and her Italian publishers,  interviews with film makers, and responses to readers’ questions, all conducted by email through her publishers to protect her anonymity. Every piece of writing in the form of correspondence between Ferrrante and her readers is full of passion, and I believe, she exposes her very soul to us. Here is an example in which Ferrante discusses with a reader, her insights into the fragmentation felt by mothers. Her own mother used the term ‘frantumaglia’ to explain her feelings of ‘disintegration’. The Days Of Abandonment is the story of Olga’s slow disintegration and fragmentation after her husband informs her that he is leaving her and their children for a much younger woman.
Interviewer: Do you think that this emotional journey, this coming apart into a jumble of fragments and then putting oneself back together, is an inevitable passage in the lives of women, with or without analysis?
Ferrante: In the women I feel close to it was. In some cases it seemed to me that feeling literally in pieces could be traced back to that sort of original fragmentation that is bringing into the world-coming into the world. I mean feeling oneself a mother at the price of getting rid of a living fragment of one’s own body; I mean feeling oneself a daughter as a fragment of a whole and incomparable body. 
Ferrante then goes on to say: What counts in the end is the collective flow of generations. Even when there is both merit and luck, the efforts of a single individual are unsatisfying.
Ferrante could easily have been writing about my Italian mother, grandmother and great grand grandmothers. I researched and studied their lives from their childhoods, to try and understand why my own mother abandoned me in an orphanage, and why so many mothers in my family tree had such fragmented and brutal lives. Everything Ferrante writes deeply resonates within me. Thank you Penny, for introducing me to Elena Ferrante.
-Anne Frandi-Coory 13 February 2017

Also here on Facebook:

Maria Grego cropped 2

Anne Frandi-Coory’s maternal Italian grandmother Maria Cajetan Grego Frandi

EVA Exiles

Anne Frandi-Coory’s paternal grandmother, Eva Arida Fahkrey (Coory) 15yrs old & married, Bcharre, Lebanon



Exiled from home. The far sea rolls

between them and the country of their birth;

the childhood-turning impulse of their souls

pulls half across the earth. Exiled from home.

No mother to take care that they work too hard,

grieve not too sore;

no older brother nor small sister fair

no father any more.

Exiled from home; from all familiar things;

the low browed roof, the grass surrounded door;

accustomed labours that gave daylight wings;

loved steps on the worn floor.

Exiled from home. Young girls sent forth alone

when most their hearts need close companioning;

no love and hardly friendship may they own,

no voice of welcoming.

Blended with homesick tears the exile stands;

to toil for alien household gods she comes;

a servant and a stranger in our lands,

homeless within our homes.


– Charlotte Perkins Gilman. (1914)

AUDIO: Exiles 


See later post: Italian Villa With Virgin

See Immigration & The Promise

Motherhood - The Ideal. Massimo Stanzione, Naples 1640s

Hello Elizabeth,

I do empathise with you although I wasn’t adopted myself, but two of my half siblings were. I wrote about them in my book Whatever Happened To Ishtar?. See more on my blog about the negatives of mother/child separation, adoption under category Adoption & Separation. I was abandoned by my mother and placed in an orphanage, but I at least knew who my biological parents were. In all the years I have met and spoken with adoptees, I only ever met one man who did not wish to trace his biological parents. What came of my talking to adoptees was that it didn’t matter how good or bad their parents were; what mattered to them was knowing who and what their bio parents were, and why they were given up for adoption. It seems to me that adoption itself isn’t always bad, it is how it is carried out.

In the past, women like my mother, were forced by Catholic nuns to give up their new born babies, and most of these mothers never recovered from their loss. See Philomena’s and Sheldon Lea’s stories on my blog. The nuns never allowed these mothers to contact their lost children; refused to pass on information about the adoptions or the mothers’ names. The suffering in these cases, for mothers, and children,  was  life-destroying.

I understand what you are saying when you talk about your dad’s spirit being with you. The father you didn’t get to meet. I feel the same about my mother. The emotional pain she transmitted to me, persisted until I finished writing the book and she finally was at peace. Take care. Anne.

Visit Adoption Critic for ‘Dear Incubator‘ letter and comments…….



Imagine having to wait for results of tests to find out  whether or not you have contracted Hep C at the hands of this monster James Latham Peters,  who really has no right to call himself a doctor.  Mary (not her real name) has three children and her life could be at risk.  How many other women in Melbourne are are having to go through this hell?  I think Mary is very brave to come forward.  The fact that  she was  having a procedure done for contraception and not for an abortion, may indicate that Mr Peters’  hatred for women runs much deeper than deranged support for the anti-abortion lobby.  There is obviously much more to come out about the background of this man.  And it will be interesting to find out why the Medical Board ever allowed Mr Peters to continue practicing as a doctor and why the clinics  employed this drug addict, prescription forger and possessor of child pornography (see post 27th October 2010).

Top News Brief:

A mother living in Melbourne has spoken of her fright because she thinks that even she is now a victim of hepatitis C epidemic related to anaesthetist, James Latham Peters.

As health authorities received almost 700 calls at the weekend from concerned people about their contact with Dr Peters, Mary said that she decided to get herself tested for a hepatitis C outbreak connected to Dr. Peters’ Clinic, where he purportedly infected twelve patients with a strain of the blood borne illness.

The mother of three children informed The Age that she went to Croydon Day Surgery in the month of August to have contraceptive equipment fitted.

Though Dr. Peters did not have any involvement in her case, yet she is afraid that while undergoing her treatment, non-sterilized devices may have been used.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. John Carnie, said that the Health Department had been trying to get in contact with those people who had been there in Dr. Peters’ clinic for their treatment.

A spokesperson for the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria said that Dr Peters had been suspended on 15 February, three days after the panel was informed about the accusations.

The Book  ‘Sons & Mothers’ – eds: M & V Glendinning

Updated 14 July 2014


Until the birth of  my long awaited daughter, I had three adorable sons.  But they were born to a mother who had been an emotionally damaged child.  As a little girl and teenager, I was quite frightened and mystified by the ways of boys and men.    What did I know of life, but especially of males, with my background of nunneries, convents and Bible stories?  But there was no doubt I loved each of my sons  deeply.

The relationships between sons and mothers can be intense and very, very loving, although sometimes fraught, and from this perspective of safety and comfort, as my little boys grew into men,  I learned the intricacies of the male psyche gradually over time. The sibling rivalry; the competition for dad’s respect and mum’s cuddles; the fisticuffs with each other and the wonder at the complexities and mysteries of the female.  When their sister arrived unannounced on the scene, (my eldest son was only four when I brought her home) my boys were aghast that she didn’t have a penis as they watched her first bath time at home, their eyes wide like saucers. Their male centred home  changed over night with this new fascination.

Then there comes the heartbreak they have to endure during adolescence and beyond, over this girl or that.  If only I could  spare them the pain they have to experience in life to become well-adjusted men, was then my angst.
My three boys are each very different personalities, so there is never a dull moment not even now when they are married with their own children.  How could a woman not understand men after raising three boys?  And now I am privileged indeed to have three grandsons to delight in and share anew their experience of life.  It is not an automatic right to share in your grandchildren’s lives as many grandparents will tell you.

As Victoria Glendinning tells us in a book of several mother/son personal stories edited by her and her son Matthew:  If I am anything to go by, all mothers are in love with their sons…it’s a savagely loving business.

-Anne Frandi-Coory 14 July 2014

Updated print 4th edition plus ebook of

Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations of Defeated Mothers …

Whatever Happened to Ishtar_cover 2020

Will soon be available from …

AMAZON and other online stores


See *****15 book reviews below….

*Updated December 2015*


Anne Frandi-Coory – 10 years old

This story about an abandoned girl will  lead you to  stories about generations of defeated mothers …

Anne blog

 Anne Frandi-Coory – 2010


 WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ISHTAR?; A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations of Defeated Mothers…



Anne Frandi-Coory is interviewed by Chris Morris of the Otago Daily Times November 2018 for project ‘Marked By The Cross’ – Part One and Two Here: 


Anthony Gina David Doug

‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’  is dedicated to my four beautiful children: Anthony, Gina, David, and Douglas, whose births helped to heal the broken child buried within me and so allowed me to share with them the wonders of growing up and learning.



Anne Frandi-Coory with three of her four children


Lebanese Settlers Reunion Dunedin, NZ 2011

Photos: Catholic Churches, Schools & Orphanages

Anne in convent clothes

Anne in Mercy Orphanage clothes aged about eight years old


Copy of Doreen &amp; Joseph's wedding day

Joseph Coory and Doreen Frandi at their marriage ceremony


 Whatever Happened to Ishtar? is made up of two books:

  • In Book I, Anne Frandi-Coory traces her father Joseph Coory’s Lebanese family history back through the mists of time to various places in the Middle East, including Iraq and Damascus, then to Bcharre, from  where her paternal grandparents Eva and Jacob Fahkrey (Coory) emigrate to Melbourne in 1897.  Khalil Gibran, Lebanon’s most famous poet,  came from the same village as Jacob and was related to him through marriage. The couple eventually travel to Dunedin, New Zealand and subsequently had twelve children. Family members live on in the same house at 67 Carroll Street for a hundred years.  In many ways it becomes a house of horrors for Anne’s mother Doreen Frandi and her children.


Anne & Tony

Doreen Frandi’s two children Anthony and Anne during their years in Catholic institutions


Kevin blog 1

Kevin Coory, son of Phillip Coory and Doreen Frandi, adopted by Joseph Coory after his marriage to Doreen.


Lebanese Family Tree here


In Book II, Anne Frandi-Coory traces her mother Doreen Frandi’s Italian roots back decades to such places as southern Italy, Sicily, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa, Florence,  and northern Italy’s border with Switzerland.   Anne’s personal story begins when her mother, a former nun, falls pregnant to a Lebanese soldier, Phillip Coory, at the close of WWll.  Phillip, already married with a small son, abandons Doreen, who then decides to follow him to Dunedin, New Zealand. Phillip’s older brother Joseph marries Doreen against the extended Coory family’s wishes, and adopts Phillip’s second son. Anne’s subsequent birth sets off a series of consequences still reverberating through several generations. Anne also documents her mother’s tragic descent into  severe bipolar disorder when her marriage to Joseph disintegrates following Anne’s birth.


Italian Family Tree here


  • 21 Black and white photos in the book
  • Extensive Lebanese and Italian family trees
  • Some of Anne Frandi-Coory’s favourite poems are woven into chapters; each poem relevant and poignant

Song Of Ishtar


Most of all, this book proves two things: Our lives can be pre-ordained by the tragedies of our ancestors’ lives, and a child’s spirit can survive the cruelest of beginnings, to take on the world


ishtar rear cover

Rear Cover 3rd edition of  Whatever Happened To Ishtar? A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations of Defeated mothers  Published by Ishtar Artworks September 2014…

*********************FIFTEEN BOOK REVIEWS***********************

5 star ***** AMAZON BOOK REVIEW by Deianira 11 January 2015


When I started reading  Whatever Happened To Ishtar?, I expected to finish it quite quick but in truth, it took time to digest the words and their significance. It is a journey, both biographical and autobiographical in approach. The author seeks to find her place not only in society but who she is. This is an extraordinary search which uncovers the history of her maternal and paternal lineage.

What is revealed is both heart-rending and powerful, a personal narrative. Ms. Frandi-Coory’s pursuit as to why her mother abandoned her while a baby is a difficult journey of self-discovery. How could a mother leave her children is the driving question behind the author’s plight. That, and trying to understand who she is and to identify with the family nexus and her place within it.

Her father, ill equipped mentally and economically to rear his daughter and son, placed them in an orphanage run by catholic nuns. It was not a pleasant time for either and the author gives vivid descriptions of her time incarcerated. Her father’s family weren’t the most pleasant people, abusive both verbally and physically. Why? Her mother was considered a harlot and mentally unstable, therefore she was of the same ilk. The cultural mix of Italian and Lebanese blood, the author is driven to learn more about both sides of the family and why they behaved in such a contrary manner.

I admire Ms. Frandi-Coory for writing this book. She revealed secrets most families would prefer to remain hidden to detriment of those who were and are victims. This is a brave expository, which shows the cycles of abuse can be stopped with determination and strength of character.


4.5 Stars ***** AMAZON BOOK REVIEW by Gerald Gentz USA 30 December 2014

Gerald Gentz

Gerald Gentz

Whatever Happened To Ishtar? is more than a book and more than a story. It is the telling of a remarkable journey of discovery of one person’s difficult life. Anne Frandi-Coory spent much of her life trying to find a place and the love of a family. Book ended between a caring but weak father and mentally ill mother unable to care for her financially or emotionally, Anne and her brother, Kevin, suffered childhoods that no child deserves to experience. In the end, even the scars would not prevent them from making stable and successful lives.

Anne’s long research into both the paternal and maternal sides of her family is remarkable for it’s depth and acceptance. In doing so, she exposed her demons and the dysfunctions of her maternal and paternal families. The result is a culmination of her difficult journey to understand herself. Her greatest victory is her coming to understand the love of her mother and the realization of her love for her mother. Anne’s was a journey of discovery and healing.

This can be a difficult book to read at times because of the emotions it elicits. It was particularly emotional for me because of my realization that Anne is actually my cousin that I was not aware I had, her mother being my mother’s older sister. Anne’s book gave me a deeper awareness of my maternal family, and thus my mother, than I had before. So Anne Frandi-Coory’s journey of discovery was also mine in 373 pages.


“An amazing journey – challenging, painful, and ultimately unforgettable”  

– Tanith Jane McNabb, Owner of Tan’s Bookshop Marlborough NZ, 27 October 2014 on  



Goodreads 5 Star ***** Book Review by Susan Tarr  – 14 October 2014 

Author, Editor and Proofreader


Susan Tarr

Susan Tarr

“WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ISHTAR? By Anne Frandi-Coory is a remarkable portrayal of New Zealand’s earlier Lebanese and Italian Catholic families. Although I was raised in the various vicinities this book covers, I had no idea there were established Lebanese families in New Zealand. And, for me, the whole Catholic religion was shrouded in mystique, so I had very little understanding of what was involved in being a part of the Catholic faith.

Set in New Zealand, the spartan buildings of the Catholic St Vincent’s orphanage mirrored in some part those of Seacliff Mental Asylum (Otago, NZ) in both outlook and care of those in their charge. Both would seem to have lacked a close affection for those who needed it most: the vulnerable and unloved.

This work is an amazing testimony for all mothers, a testimony we can probably all relate to. How many times do we feel inadequate, or feel we could have done better? We should never have such constraints placed on us as a mother to feel either of these. Whatever a mother is capable of at that time, for her child, is sufficient for that time.

As Frandi-Coory bears out, it is always possible to break mindsets, or break the mould, as it is said. I.e. the sins of the father… All it takes is an invincible will, which clearly she had and has.

Frandi-Coory recounts the histories of both her Lebanese and Italian families. She explains how the various mindsets occurred and how they were passed down through the generations.

I found I kept referring to the photographs as I formed opinions on the various players in this tapestry of life.

What is astonishing here, is that Anne Frandi-Coory and I never made a connection until after our respective books were published, in separate countries. It was through reading each others work that we realised our lives were very closely linked. In fact we may well have known each other through a mutual friend (Italian) during our college years in Dunedin, NZ. That is why I can vouch for the events, scenery, time frames and cultures in this amazing work.

It’s absolutely raw in its honesty.

Very well written, it’s a compelling read, from start to finish.

Kudos to Anne Frandi-Coory.”


AMAZON BOOK REVIEW  16 August 2014:

Whatever Happened To Ishtar? is a raw and powerful memoir/family history by author Anne Frandi-Coory.  She spent 15 years travelling, researching her family tree, interviewing extended family members, haunting libraries and museums.  Some of what Anne discovers is devastating, but mostly she is proud of the cultures and heritage of her ancestors.

Anne believes that the Catholic Church’s Dogma with its divine elevation of the ‘Virgin Mary Mother of God’, changed the image and value of the female across the world. Gone forever were the powerful, pagan goddesses. Instead we humans were left with the Roman Catholic black and white dichotomy of whore/virgin. Anne Frandi-Coory was born into a Lebanese Maronite migrant family in Dunedin, New Zealand. Prior to Anne’s birth, her Lebanese father, Joseph,  married Anne’s Italian mother who’d already given birth to a son whose father was Joseph’s younger brother, Phillip. Unfortunately, Phillip was already married with another son! From the time of her birth, Anne is caught up in a vortex of hatred, neglect, physical and sexual abuse. At only ten months old, she is separated from her parents when she is placed in a Catholic orphanage for the poor run by the Sisters Of Mercy.

Anne’s research into her mother’s, grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ lives reveal their extreme hardships largely brought about by giving birth to too many children, xenophobia, and abusive husbands.


Book Review by Roseann Cameron;

Christchurch, New Zealand. 25 November 2013

Roseann Cameron

Whatever Happened to Ishtar? by Anne Frandi-Coory  is a necessary read for any mother in order to help make an adjustment to your mindset in this information age filled with books on how to parent better.

Anne tells, in an honest and direct way, the reality of her childhood where her mother was largely absent; suffering neglect and abuse in the hands of the Catholic Church and her extended family.  Despite this absence by her mother, the rare moments Anne shared with her still gave her something enormous.

It is a balanced account such as she does acknowledge the education the catholic church introduced her to.

Why Anne’s story is one of redemption and healing is that, despite what she reveals of her childhood and subsequent adult quest to reach a place of understanding, Anne has in her, a life blood and intelligence that is vibrant and strong.  Anne knows how to live in the moment and embrace love and laughter to its full.

Anne is giving back to her children the opposite of what she was given which is a massive testament to her strength and sheer force of character.  So if you ever feel you are not giving enough to your child take a read of what Anne didn’t get from her biological parents.  Be encouraged by Anne’s story that even the most meagre rations her parents were able to give did make a difference to her.  How much more so, an available parent with intent to actively love her children, despite the inevitable mistakes you make along the way?  Such a mother  Anne has turned out to be, despite all odds.


Note from my nephew, Dean Marshel-Courté 1 May 2013…….


Dean Marshel-Courté


Hi Anne, l’m sitting at a cafe in Sofia, Bulgaria, and thought l’d let you know that l just finished re reading properly, Whatever Happened To Ishtar?  last weekend and like l’ve already mentioned to you, your work is outstanding. l have a complete picture now of yours and Tony’s and my dad’s lives in that difficult time. l just can’t believe how terrible your situation was and the way they treated you all. Just for your info, my adopted mother lived in Dunedin too and was a dress maker for your aunties; she remembers them very well.

 Luv. Deano


MOMOBOOKBLOG REVIEW   of  Whatever Happened To Ishtar? 22 June 2011…  How much can a person endure, especially a little child. This heart-rendering account of Anne-Frandi Coory’s life is a proof that we can live through a lot of hardship and still turn out to be passionate and affectionate people, in this case a wonderful woman and mother of four children even though she was an abandoned and abused child herself.

The author goes back to the history of her Lebanese-Italian family and all the troubles her ancestors went through before reaching New Zealand… MORE


Rita Roberts

Rita Roberts,retired archeologist, Crete, and author of  ‘Toffee Apples & Togas’ 

Whatever Happened to Ishtar?  by  Anne Frandi-Coory  is a book I could not put down. It tells of Anne’s terrifying upbringing as a child and later on in life the long quest to trace her family. Written with such passion that once read one thinks of the old saying, ‘There for the grace of god go I’. This book I would recommend to all families,especially mothers, in fact, to everyone. – Rita Roberts 2011


I am loving  Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – I started reading it straight away… Isn’t it amazing that when you know someone, you don’t know what is really going on in their life? I always saw you as a fun loving mother of 4 busy kids, with the wonderful Paul by your side. I loved staying with you all. I loved your home and its romantic decoration, I loved your sense of warmth and your zest for life. When you went off to Uni, you inspired me to be a life long learner – its never too late! You are amazing and have had the most incredible journey to become and even more amazing grandmother and mature woman. I love you and will always hold you in such high esteem.- 2011

Rachael Dunphy Van Asch, Marlborough on her facebook page


MOMO – International Book Group Online 2011– Location: The Netherlands:

Whatever happened to Ishtar? by Anne Frandi-Coory, the biography of a woman from New Zealand with Lebanese-Italian parents. This book was recommended to me by a person in Australia. Not for the faint-hearted but very good.

Dean Marshel-Courté

        Dean Marshel-Courté, Hungary  facebook comment:

Reading my Aunty’s [Anne Frandi-Coory] book; Whatever Happened to Ishtar? Its fab and very informative regarding the family history. Dad [Kevin Coory], its worth a read buddy. (-:



Marion Groves’ Tweets:

30/08/2011 > Night girls, dying to get back to my book. Am reading Whatever Happened to Ishtar? by Anne Frandi-Coory @afcoory … Highly recommend! @lunarchic @externallylaws

6/09/2011 > @PhilosophyQuotz @MarionGroves Your descendants shall gather your fruits. Virgil (ping @afcoory ) > Maybe I should have used this title for ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’

6/09/2011 >No, your title is provocative & thought-provoking, as is your book. I was sorry when I had finished it. @afcoory


*****Book Review by Wendy O’Hanlon –   Click – A Cultural Connection [September 2010]: Whatever Happened To Ishtar?

Wendy O'Hanlon

Wendy O’Hanlon

ISHTAR, according to Phoenician legend, is the great mother goddess. But author Anne Frandi-Coory grew up without close contact with her mother. In this painful re-telling of her family history, the author explores how generations of her family have lived thwarted, sad and unfulfilled lives because of a cruel twist of fate and even crueller family behaviours.

The author grew up in an orphanage, ostracised by her Lebanese father’s family. She rarely saw her Italian mother who spent many years in asylums and endured horrific shock treatments. She has tried to trace her siblings and re-establish relationships – with and without success, with heart-rending surprises and tragedies.

The author is now living a fulfilled life but needed to face these demons of her family history to try to make sense of life and purpose. There is true courage in her words. Her childhood was very lonely. Hers is such a searing, heart-tearing story.

The author painstakingly documents the history of her family back through the generations of Italian and Lebanese faces and stories. What is ironic is that she uncovers the rich cultural history of these families and the fact that such wonderful traits and traditions were all but lost to modern generations as her family tree fractures again and again.

For the reader, there is much to learn about the history of these great cultures as Frandi-Coory meticulously delves into ancient stories and legends. There is also much to learn about the strength of the human spirit – that a life with purpose can be lived despite a crippling beginning.

–                                               ………………………….


This is an autobiography cum family history from a strong woman who has overcome the odds to come out a successful and wonderfully strong person.

There are not many happy childhood memories when Anne recalls her earlier life in Dunedin.   Anne spent her formative years at the Orphanage for the Poor.  There she was indoctrinated into the world of the Roman Catholic religion. Prayers, bible study and chores were not the practical things that would prepare a damaged young girl for life out in the wide world.

Anne’s story is a revelation of cruelty and mind games which set her on a path of self-doubt.  It is little wonder that she has been on a life journey that has been harrowing, but ultimately, triumphant.

Anne’s story is painful and, at times, difficult to read.  However, she has my absolute admiration for rising above the adversity of her childhood to become the confident woman she is today.

Thanks Anne, for sharing your story.


Click Here: for more of the latest reviews for  ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar? 


Anne Frandi-Coory… Author Photograph: Robb Duncan 2010


Growing up in an orphanage, raised by strict Catholic nuns, abused by her father’s Lebanese family in Dunedin. This beginning did not prepare Anne Frandi-Coory well for the realities of life.  But she overcame the continual threat of hellfire and brimstone, escaping into marriage and children as a teenager, while trying to find out who she was.  Then followed divorce, and diverse short careers;  interior decorator, estate agent, joint owner of a café/caterer. Always looking for new challenges while becoming bored with the old, Anne then went to university and gained a degree in Sociology after which she worked for a short time as a child case worker in the NZ Dept of Social Welfare.  Not content with that, she travelled the world with her partner and daughter, and then wrote her first book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’.   The book was the result of fifteen years of research, interviews, and note-taking, and is selling worldwide.


  • ****The 3rd edition of my book published on 20 September 2014 by CREATESPACE / ISHTAR ARTWORKS is also available


    and other online stores


%d bloggers like this: