No Stone Unturned: A Remarkable Journey to Identity

Nadean Stone

Book Cover

GENRE

MEMOIR ADVENTURE DRAMA FAMILY ACTION FUNNY MYSTERY

    Core Theme

    INTERNAL JOURNEY

    TIME PERIOD

    1940s & '50s,1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s,2000s,Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    LION, PHILOMENA, GIFTED, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE

    CHARACTER LIST

    NADEAN: 0-60S. LEAD. DETERMINED AND GRACIOUS.

    JUAN: 20-60S. NADEAN'S FIRST HUSBAND.

    ANDREW: 0-18. NADEAN'S SON.

    BILL: 30-70S. NADEAN'S SECOND HUSBAND.

    MARY: 60-70S. NADEAN'S GRANDMOTHER WHO RAISED HER.

    LAURA: UNKNOWN, LIKELY NADEAN’S AGE. NADEAN’S CLOSEST FRIEND AND CONFIDANTE IN ST. GUSTAVE.

    Logline

    Philomena meets Lion in this captivating memoir—the story of an orphan abandoned on Christmas Eve by her young, unwed mother and the 44 year journey undertaken to find her utilizing DNA technology and innovative detective skills.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning

    Setting

    Blind River Ontario Canada, a Caribbean island and Coral Springs Florida

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Author

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    Between 1945 and 1973, about 350,000 unmarried Canadian mothers were coerced or forced into giving their babies up for adoption. Many were illegally given away, like a puppy at the pound, for a small donation to the church. On Christmas Eve, 1952 Nadean became one of those babies.

    Ending Description

    With the help of a Search Angel, utilization of DNA technology on Ancestry, 23 and me, Gedmatch and a newly created "Village of 150 cousins" from these sites Nadean found her birth father in 2017. He had passed in 2000. Armed with his name, she then employed detective skills to find her mother.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    9798734226964

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending,Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Quest,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Rags to Riches,Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Nadean Stone

    Age: Birth to 64

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Funny,Strong Moral Code,Faithful,Flexible,Religious

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Juan Rivero

    Age: 23 to 67

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Narcisstic,Educated,Charming,Heartthrob,Villainous,Power Hungry,Unapologetic,Manipulative

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Mary Tessier

    Age: 60 to 74

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Religious,Strong Moral Code,Obedient

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Bill Stone

    Age: 35 to 70

    Gender: Male

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Patriotic,Religious,Skillful,Funny,Romantic,Strong Moral Code

    Development Pitch

    No Stone Unturned is an inspiring memoir which contains all the elements for a great movie or Netflix series: Drama, pain, suspense, romance, royalty, politics, and more. In life, the protagonist might experience a personal challenge that alters the trajectory of his/her life forever. Nadean experiences numerous life altering personal challenges that would break many a spirit, including the kidnapping of her son and a harrowing escape from a Caribbean Island, her tormentors in hot pursuit. Her personal trials from abandonment at birth to marriage into a powerful, wealthy political family build upon one another in her growth and personal development, so would be difficult to capture in a film. A Netflix series of 5 to 7 segments would do justice to this captivating story. It is a saga of personal hardships, triumphs, enormous loss and ultimate love. The audience will ride the unending roller coaster that is her life, rejoicing in its miraculous ending. This story will inspire the viewer to find faith, hope, strength and the courage to persevere despite the odds. To continue to dream. To never ever give up!

    Genre

    DRAMA

    Brief

    An abandoned baby girl is taken in by another woman who dies shortly after, and is then raised by her loving adoptive grandmother. She meets a charming man from St. Gustave while away at college, and they marry and have a son. Things soon turn sour, and they divorce and enter a lengthy custody battle which she wins. Following the death of her son at a mere 18-years-old and a career change to help her cope, she sets out on a dogged search that leads to a relationship with her birth mother.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, the Book Profile accurately reflects the book and draws the right attention.

    Draw of Story

    The author does a great job of including interesting and relevant history straight away within the book. The reader is given a great preview as to the resolution of the novel, but it’s not too obvious. Instead, it’s satisfying when we learn from Nadean’s birth mother that it wasn’t her in the window. It all comes full circle from this opening, which is smart. The first chapter is a strong entry to the story, and it might be better if the book started with it rather than the prologue, which is a bit confusing and repeated later anyway.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Nadean’s voice as she tells the story is a little more flat than it could be. Some things are simply stated as simple fact, and this isn’t fully allowing the audience to really connect and be in her shoes. It’s easy to see this decoupling happening as the author is telling her own story. It’s natural to have that happen, in an attempt to create distance — either in an attempt to seem more rational or creditable, or because some events are taxing to recall. The audience takes their cues from the protagonist, which in this case is the narrator, and investing more emotion into the voice will help with this immensely. There are also moments where the story doesn’t feel very tied together from chapter to chapter, whereas at other times the chapters almost directly follow one another on the timeline. This creates a slightly disjointed read. The writing is also sometimes repetitive, such as when the audience sees a scene occur, and then hears a characters talking about the same scene afterward.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The fact this is the author’s true life story is a great hook for a feature or TV adaptation. There are a large amount of memoirs out there where nothing particularly interesting or engaging occurs to the writer, and that is not at all the case here. So many things, both amazing and tragic, have happened in her life, and it’s a great draw into the story. She, as a protagonist, is so empathetic. She’s a fantastic protagonist because she’s so determined. She refuses to give up, whether it’s in a fight for her son or a fight to find her birth mother.

    Fanbase Potential

    It’s easy to see an adaptation of this book garnering a fairly large fanbase, as the story of Nadean’s life and her emotional response to everything she goes through is so relatable. A film or TV series would make for a vulnerable and memorable experience, and it’s very believable that audience members would spread the word.

    Awards Potential

    Yes, an adaptation of this has clear awards potential, because it’s a true, emotional drama. Many biopics have seen awards success in the past.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    LION, PHILOMENA, GIFTED, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE

    What’s New About the Story

    As mentioned above, that this is the author’s own story makes it so original. No one else has her exact experience, and it makes for a fresh and unique protagonist and narrative. Leaning into a more emotional voice in the telling of what’s happened will only increase that feeling. No one can or could tell this story better than the author, so the author’s voice needs to be powerful. Balancing the structure more, in terms of what time periods are covered and for how long, will help. There are two to three main events that occur within the book — the trial, the hunt for Nadean’s mother, and possibly Andrew’s death (which less time is spent on) — and a lot of the other interesting details and anecdotes can unfortunately be lost between these hills.

    Lead Characters

    We want nothing more than for Nadean to succeed, in every fight she finds herself in, and that makes her stand out a great deal from similar protagonists. We want to see her win custody of Andrew, to see her find her birth mother. She’s put through the wringer again and again, and she refuses to back down. At the same time, she’s not afraid to show her vulnerability. There’s a moment in the novel where Juan’s family is surprised by her showing her true feelings after Andrew’s birth, but the audience gets to see (and thus feel) those throughout.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Yes, this story could be a rare gem. The trials and tribulations Nadean must face are extreme and unique, and that helps this overall a great amount. The voice is sometimes a bit anticlimactic and/or unemotional on the page, which is a shame given the crazy and intensely emotional things occurring. For example, Nadean sneaks out of the country in, basically, the trunk of a car! This makes for a wild ride where you’re holding your breath, hoping she’ll escape, and pushing this further with the word choice, voice, and structure will ensure this all comes across on the page (or in an adaptation). This can be a really hard thing to nail, and sometimes an outside editor can make all the difference.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-SeriesF

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    There are so many ups and downs, and they help this story to be compelling throughout. Nadean tracking down her birth mother is a rollercoaster. It’s a frustrating but fascinating mystery, and every time she hits a dead end, the reader feels it, too. It’s impossible not to be drawn into her story, which is a superb draw for an audience. Even at her darkest moments, Nadean never truly loses her spirit. She feels almost like a friend in some moments of the novel, imparting her deepest secrets and memories. This makes her an unforgettable character who would easily translate onto the big or small screen. There’s so much to explore here, both in multiple storylines and several supporting characters. It’s easy to see this as a limited television series, as well as one that would draw an audience.

    Brief

    An orphaned girl abandoned on Christmas Eve by her young, unwed mother grows up searching for family. After her own successes and several heartbreaks over the years, she undertakes a journey utilizing new technology and her own innovative detective skills to finally reconnect with her birth mother.

    What We Liked

    This memoir represents a remarkably compelling and emotional story. The protagonist is determined and courageous, yet at the same time so much of her strength comes from her deep feelings. The willingness and ability of the author to share with the audience the vulnerability in her own story is what truly makes this a must read. She is honest and heartfelt on every pages, and it effortlessly sweeps the reader along for the ride. The anecdotes within are at turns comedic and tragic, and they’re all unique and specific to her experience. This is a story that will stick with you.

    Film: There are multiple avenues to consider when adapting this memoir as a film. One could include most of the protagonist’s life, bridging the story across several decades to make thematic connections before bringing the narrative back to the beginning with Nadean’s discovery of her mother. Alternatively, this would even be successful focusing only on Nadean’s search for her mother. There are so many twists in that search alone, and the shocks, failures, and triumphs would be extremely cinematic. Truth is stranger than fiction, after all, and the story here is always surprising. There is something in this story to touch any audience member — without leaving a dry eye in the house.

    TV: There is a good deal of meat within the book to easily support a TV show, especially a limited series. The desire to find a family, no matter which stones must be turned, is a universally relatable one. Thanks to the fact that the memoir covers some 65 years of the author (and protagonist’s) life, there’s a lot to choose from and pull out into individual episodes or multi-episode arcs. There’s no shortage of material to mine, and each bit of it within the book is fascinating in its own way. Both the long custody battle and the arduous search for Nadean’s birth mother are key events that a satisfying story can be woven around.

    Key points:
    1. True story
    2. Multiple unexpected twists and turns
    3. Female protagonist
    4. Unique setting on a Caribbean island
    5. Emotional narrative throughout

    Synopsis

    NADEAN is born to an unwed mother just before Christmas in 1952 in Blind River, Ontario. Her BIRTH MOTHER leaves shortly afterward, and RITA and SID adopt her. Rita has cancer and dies when Nadean is only two, leaving Nadean to her own mother, MARY. Mary is a loyal guardian, and she does everything to protect Nadean and raise her right. Mary is so proud to see her go to college and then on to get her MBA, opportunities she never had herself. Nadean meets JUAN in college. She visits his family on St. Gustave with him, and he proposes quickly. Mary can’t attend the wedding on the island because of her failing health, and she passes shortly after. Juan’s family is wealthy and influential on the island, and they often host diplomats Nadean gives birth to a baby boy, ANDREW, and everything seems ideal.

    Nadean learns she has cancer soon after. She’s forced to have a hysterectomy to possibly save her life, despite her protestations. Juan is negative about how long it’s taking her to recover, and they often butt heads over parenting Andrew. Juan begins a relationship with CHANTAL. He tells Nadean he plans to start a new life with Chantal and leave them behind. However, Juan quickly changes his tune and decides Andrew should live with him. Juan is controlling and cruel at times, but she’s tied to him because of her son. Nadean is introduced to BILL through friends, and they begin a mostly long-distance relationship as he lives in the United States. Juan decides he wants to move to Australia with Chantal, and he wants Nadean and Andrew to come with. Nadean only agrees as their CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST says it’s best for them to be in the same country. Nadean can’t get approval to immigrate, though.

    Juan considers moving to Orlando, so Nadean makes all the arrangement for her and Bill to do the same. Soon after, Juan gives her whiplash by deciding he wants to stay on St. Gustave. Nadean and Bill make plans to live in Florida full time with Andrew, and Juan will have him over holidays and the summer. Following Nadean and Bill’s wedding, Juan kidnaps Andrew so that Nadean can’t take him to Florida. Nadean has no recourse but to take their custody battle to the courts. She gets a fair judge in JUSTICE WARNER, who can’t be bribed by Juan’s family. He recognizes the difficulty she’s faced thus far, but she’s still up against ROBERTO, Juan’s brother and a formidable lawyer. Throughout an arduous legal battle, Juan is still up to all his manipulative and illegal tricks. Luckily Nadean’s LAWYERS pull out all the stops.

    Warner eventually grants Nadean full custody and permission to take Andrew out of the country. However, the case won’t be officially closed until they can reconvene. Warner asks Roberto to not appeal his decision prior to then, but Roberto does anyway. This means that once the verdict is official, Nadean and Andrew have only an hour to leave before the appeals court opens. They’re successfully snuck out of the country, and Nadean is finally free of St. Gustave. After five years of happily living in Florida, Andrew decides he wants to go back to St. Gustave. Nadean agrees, because she doesn’t want Andrew to have any regrets. When Andrew is 18, fresh from a happy visit with Nadean, he’s killed in a car accident. Nadean is gutted, and she can’t find the will to move on for a long time.

    Nadean has tried several times to track down her birth mother, but because her birth, and subsequent adoption, were never officially registered, it’s been impossible. Fueled by advances with DNA tracking and ancestry websites, she meets so many people who want to help her, and they track down every lead and loose end possible. Thanks to a DNA test that connects her to a half-sister, Nadean learns who her now deceased birth father was. His family is angry Nadean is accusing him of having a child when he was already married, and refuse to speak with her. It’s a lengthy process that involves a lot of detective work, but Nadean finally tracks down her BIRTH MOTHER. She’s still alive, and she’s been looking for Nadean for years. Her mother’s FAMILY readily accepts Nadean into their fold.

    About The Author

    Nadean Stone was born in Blind River, Ontario, Canada, graduated from Windsor University in 1973 with a BA and McMaster University in 1976 with an MBA. She obtained her Certificate in Journalism in 2002 and her Certificate of Legal Management, CLM, in 2011. In 2004, Nadean helped launch a weekday one-hour talk show on NBC Miramar, FL as the show’s booker and celebrity producer. Nadean is a legal management consultant and author. She works as an advocate for children and adoptees, with an interest in public policy and legislation. In July 2018, she filed a petition with the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child illuminating numerous Articles of the UN Convention that the Province of Ontario has violated in its treatment of illegally adopted children. Nadean spent 44 years searching for her birth mother, challenging the current law in Ontario, Canada regarding non-adoptees' access to their birth records. She is currently working on a series of children’s stories about her adventures on her grandmother’s farm, as well as a story about her much-loved Aunt Roberta.