From Book Excellence Awards - Contest winner - "It is with great pleasure to announce that you have been selected as a Book Excellence Award Finalist for your book in the Biography category.  There were hundreds of entries from around the world and your book was selected or its high quality writing, design and market appeal."

A Matter of Survival - The Story of Frances was reviewed in the January/February Newsletter of Carolina Retirement Planners as follows:

​"Arleen has told the story of an extraordinary woman, her mother.  Frances was born in 1917, faced hardships that would crush most of us.  She was a gentle soul who thought of herself as ordinary, but had the wisdom and fortitude to know that she just had to put one foot in front of the other and carry on.  Not everyone has the emotional resilience to do that, in fact, the story includes that of Frances's mother who allowed her unhappiness to destroy her.  She abandoned her child to an orphanage and lived out her life in anger and poverty.

"Frances spends most of her childhood in an orphanage run by nuns, her husband abandons her and their child, and she not only survives, but rises to executive level in the retail world (an unusual achievement for  a woman then).  Time after time, she rebuilds her life on the foundation of love and family, even though both had let her down.  Arleen has celebrated her mother's life in a heartwaming book.

"I found this story to be surprisingly compelling.  I had an extraordinary woman in my life, my grandmother, who lived through the same time period in the same area (Queens, NY), and I could see much of my grandmother in Frances.  Perhaps you know someonelike Frances.  If you do, this book will resonate with you long after you finish reading."



A Matter of Survival – The Story of Frances was recently reviewed as follows:


Note:   Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding.”
The rating of the book was:
Structure, Organization, and Pacing:   5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar:  5
Production, Quality and Cover Design:  5
Plot and Story Appeal:  5
Character Appeal and Development:  5
Voice and Writing Style:  5

Judge’s Commentary:
A beautiful story, rich with details and the author’s tremendous talent for capturing a bygone era with well-chosen imagery and respect for the details of that time.  Author is especially adept at giving a scene life, such as with silence in the church that allows the reader to feel the depth of being there.  I was especially impressed with the handling of emotion and inner life, from hunger to hope.  Very well done…

We follow Frances’ experience with great interest, heartbroken at the tougher times such as when she scratches the hives to the point of bleeding.  We feel her discomfort and pain, as well as that of her caretakers.  Gripping, and described well to the right point of graphic.  The journey into Alzheimer’s is handled with particular grace, a very comforting segment of France’s life, and a comfort to the reader, with the book ending on a very moving thought that France’s strength may have evolved from her convent life, her relationship with her daughter or just a matter of survival – a very relatable question and a terrific resolution that one answer may not be all there is, so embrace all.  Lovely."


"Great book highly recommended!
This book was amazing! I couldn't put it down; week nights when I had to get to sleep early for work the next day,  I would  be up till 1:30 am. I'm not really a person that reads much, but this book was different. The things this poor  woman went  through and how strong of a woman she was. I highly recommend this book, you will not be  disappointed...DP NY

 "This is a wonderful novel by Arleen Mercorella
 This is a wonderful novel by Arleen Mercorella. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story of Frances shows us the  strength of the  human spirit when all hope is gone and the importance of family!! A wonderful testament  of her life. Highly recommend  it!...AM NY"

"Page turner!
Rec'd this book Thurs afternoon. Finished it on Friday. Great story well written. You want to keep reading to see what  happens next. Thoroughly enjoyed it!...CF NC"

"It must have been the book was so good; I just couldn't put it down
I don't know how I was able to read this book as fast as I did with being in school and taking care of a family. It must have  been the book was so good; I just couldn't put it down! Every night after my studies and getting the kids to bed, I couldn't  wait to read it!! It was a wonderful story, I loved it. It was my out from my own reality. This story was wonderfully written  and a GREAT tribute to your MOM! Great story!!...KM NC​

​"Truly inspirational!

I really enjoyed this book. It is a truly inspirational story, and very well written. Mrs. Mercorella has done a great job on her first novel!...EDB"

"It was very well written 
It was very well written and I couldn't put it down at times because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I  can't  believe all she went through and didn't become bitter....LS NC​"

​"I felt great empathy, admiration
The writer's words allow the reader to journey on the emotional rollercoaster filled with shocking twists and turns not anticipated! I felt great empathy, admiration, and compassion for Frances as she travels through a life besieged with heartache and turbulence. Ms. Mercorella does an exceptional job of keeping the reader thoroughly engrossed in this gripping novel. Fantastic!...PS NY​"

 "5 star review
 Very interesting, enjoyed it!...AL NC"

"Wonderful Story! Well Written!
I really enjoyed reading the story of Frances.  She was a very strong woman and she was obviously much loved by her           daughter! A very good first book and I hope to see more from this author! I am sure she has many wonderful stories yet
to tell!  Loved it! ...M"​   

"Couldn't put the book down.
 The story of Francis is not just a quintessential story of survival. It’s a story about abandonment, heartache  and  tragedy. It’s a story of how un-diagnosed and untreated mental illness can ruin a family. The story covers  the  time  marked by prejudice and discrimination of the new immigrants, the Italians. It then takes you through the post war era  where you could  accomplish anything and nothing was impossible as long as you had a dream and were willing to work for it. Whenever you are having a bad day; think of Francis....VB NY"

​​"A great story...
This is a must read. The kind of book you do not want to put down.  Riveting, Emotional, extremely well written. I  enjoyed the read from cover to cover. I recommend this book to everyone...MT NC"      

"It was a great read Arleen

I couldn't wait to turn each page to find out what happened next in Frances' life.  It was a very touching account and I was sorry when it came to an end.  It was a great read Arleen!....Adrienne F., NC"

  For additional reviews, please visit