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Donna Friess with her new novel, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Schmitt
Donna Friess with her new novel, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Schmitt

The Capistrano Dispatch

Local author Donna Friess drew from her personal life experiences of a tragic childhood to a life of fulfillment and happiness to create her first novel published earlier this month, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest.

Friess rose to international attention in the early 90’s when she and her sisters’ intervention put a stop to their father’s ongoing molestation. Their actions resulted in the creation of several California and U.S. laws to bring safety to women and children. Friess’ autobiography published in 1993, Cry the Darkness, depicts the reality of growing up with their closely guarded secret and the difficult 15-month long trial to protect their youngest family member.

The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest follows six nonfictional publications authored by Friess. The psychological journey follows one woman’s experiences as she struggles to come to terms with her past choices and a looming secret. The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest is available through Kindle and in print or e-book.

A special book launch will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 29 at the San Juan Capistrano Library (La Sala Room) located at 31495 El Camino Real. The event includes wine and appetizers, a speaker presentation, book signing and live music. All book sale proceeds will benefit SJC Friends of the Library which built THE Bookstore in 2014—San Juan’s only bookstore. Reservations are required by calling 949.218.4512 or visit

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