At the age of fourteen, author Anne Branch is faced with a horrific situation-she must marry the man who raped her.
Her rapist husband, Manny, is a close friend of her stepfather's. Almost eleven years older than Branch, Manny enjoys the company of many young women on their home of Cape Verde Island, located off the western coast of Africa. But after Manny assaults Branch, her mother forces her to marry him. Soon after their marriage, the couple leaves the island for the United States, where she eventually gives birth to four daughters. It's not long before her husband abandons her for another woman, and at the age of twenty-one, Branch is a single mother of four.
With no means of support, Branch depends on welfare benefits to feed her young family, always longing for the day when she can shop at any supermarket without the shame of having to pay for her groceries with food stamps. Instead of succumbing to despair, Branch is determined to give herself a better future. At the age of twenty-nine, she is accepted at Rhode Island College.
Though faced with nearly impossible circumstances, Branch refuses to settle for a life of misery, emerging triumphant despite the odds. Beyond the Shadows tells her compelling true story.