Loving Natalee: A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith

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This is the story no one should have to tell, about the nightmare no one wants to live, told by the parent no one wants to be.

In May of 2005, Beth Holloway received the worst phone call a parent can imagine. Her beautiful daughter, Natalee, had disappeared without a trace in Aruba during her high school senior class trip. Two years later, for the first time, Beth Holloway steps forward in this astonishingly candid and inspirational memoir to tell of her harrowing ordeal and ...

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Loving Natalee

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Overview

This is the story no one should have to tell, about the nightmare no one wants to live, told by the parent no one wants to be.

In May of 2005, Beth Holloway received the worst phone call a parent can imagine. Her beautiful daughter, Natalee, had disappeared without a trace in Aruba during her high school senior class trip. Two years later, for the first time, Beth Holloway steps forward in this astonishingly candid and inspirational memoir to tell of her harrowing ordeal and her never-ending belief in the power of faith that gave her hope against all odds.

Natalee's senior class picture was splashed across the front pages of the country's newspapers and on television. Desperate for a clue as to her daughter's whereabouts, Beth and an army of faithful volunteers searched tirelessly for the missing eighteen-year-old. In their pursuit of Natalee, they encountered many roadblocks. As the horror stretched out, Beth stood on her foundation of faith, which at times was all she had to give her strength against a barrage of unbearable questions with no answers.

Natalee's disappearance remains unsolved and her location unknown to this day. Beth's search continues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061452277
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/2/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth Holloway is the mother of Natalee Holloway, who vanished on the last night of her senior class trip on May 30, 2005. To this day Beth continues to search for the truth of what happened. She grew up in Arkansas, then lived and worked in Tennessee, Mississippi, and finally Alabama where she now lives with her son, Matt. Today Beth addresses schools, churches, law enforcement groups, and other organizations on personal and travel safety.

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Read an Excerpt

Loving Natalee
A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith

Chapter One

In Natalee's Room

It's early morning, and the house is quiet. I'm still lying in bed, eyes closed. I don't want to open them, because when I do, I'll have to face the day I've dreaded the most for the past twenty months. Today I have to pack up Natalee's things for the last time. Today I will have to say the final good-bye. And I'm not ready.

Eyes still closed, I hear an occasional car pass in front of the house. Another one stops across the street, and I hear the car door open, letting music and cheerful muffled voices escape for a moment. Then close again. The stillness in the house is interrupted by the harmonious tapping of little paws as Macy the dog and Carl the cat move across the hardwood floors. Stopping for a moment. Then tapping again. The cold morning brings the sounds of life's activities as people step into another day of their routines. Maybe if I don't open my eyes this day will just pass, and I won't have to face what I have to do. The painful inevitable chore that has been looming over me since my beautiful daughter, Natalee, disappeared on the last night of her senior high school trip to Aruba. The day has come to take her room apart and box it up. I have to go through her belongings, which have remained untouched since she left home on May 26, 2005. The movers will be here day after tomorrow.

Nothing from my life before Natalee disappeared in Aruba has remained intact. Not my career. Not my home. Not my marriage. My husband, Jug, and I are divorcing after six years. My son, Natalee's younger brother, Matt, and I are moving in two days. I havea lot to do. I manage to swing my legs off the bed and sit up. Reluctantly, I open my eyes and sit on the edge for a few moments. I feel like concrete. Heavy. Very heavy. Finally I stand up and slowly walk a half dozen steps or so down the short hall and turn right at Natalee's bedroom doorway.

The morning light shines in through the wall-length windows at the far side of the room illuminating all her neatly organized things. It used to be in disarray most of the time. But today everything in here is in order. It's cheerful and sad at the same time. Light purple—her favorite—and delicate greens. A crisp white bedspread. Pillows with special sayings about friends and love and life. In the corner a purple-painted curio cabinet with four shelves holds all of her treasures. Her collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia is prominently displayed in the tall narrow cabinet. To my right I see her white high-school graduation robe hanging on the outside of the closet door, the honors cords still around the neck. Inside this closet are two beautiful sundresses we bought for her to take to college, the tags still on them. And behind those is the little black dress she wore to her proms, both junior and senior. Photos of friends and certificates of her many achievements are visible everywhere. A bulletin board over her daybed is covered with reminders of meetings and events and parties coming up. She had big plans.

It's an average, modest bedroom. It was just right for Natalee, and she loved it in here. It was her place to work and her place of solace. It's where she giggled with friends and studied for tests. It's where she dressed for the prom. Where she donned her graduation robe. Where she packed for her trip to Aruba. It's Natalee's own space, and everything in it represents her. She was a hardworking young lady, full of life. Smart, gutsy, determined, and very dependable. She had always been that way.

Natalee and her younger brother, Matt, were born in Memphis, Tennessee, where my first husband, Dave, and I had moved after college. Natalee was three years old and Matt was one when we left Memphis and moved the family to Clinton, Mississippi. Dave and I divorced shortly thereafter. It was a long arduous battle, but I was finally awarded sole custody of both children.

The three of us were tight-knit. Matt and Natalee were very protective of their mother. One night when they were elementary-school age I was going to go out for dinner. I discovered my escort sitting on my front porch with his head buried in his hands. I looked up to see my two children pounding his car with Matt's metal cleats. I was so embarrassed! And very surprised—shocked—that they would do such a thing. They apparently didn't want anybody at their mama's house. They were punished accordingly, and I had to repair his paint job. I don't remember that guy ever coming back. The story must have gotten around, because I dated rather infrequently in the years that followed.

After I had been divorced from the children's father for about seven years, I met George "Jug" Twitty while he was on business in Mississippi. We dated for about three years before marrying in 2000. Matt and Natalee absolutely loved his two older children, Megan and George, and looked forward to moving to the lovely bedroom community of Mountain Brook in Birmingham, Alabama, to join their new family and start their new life. Mountain Brook is about as stark a contrast to where I grew up as one could imagine. Back in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I was the only white girl in my ninth-grade study hall, and one of about three in my history class. Many of my friends were black in this small, unassuming town. All my life, including seventeen years teaching in Mississippi and Arkansas, I have lived in culturally and racially diverse communities. So have my children. It never occurred to me that it wasn't like that everywhere, because I simply never thought about it.

Loving Natalee
A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith
. Copyright © by Beth Holloway. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    Compelling and Revealing

    Exceptionally well written with new shocking details revealed. Finally the truth about Aruba's 'investigation' comes to light. There are many heartfelt passages which chronicle the pain and frustration of courageous Beth Holloway, who only seeks answers and justice. Many questions come to mind, such as, 'Why did Aruba wait ten days to arrest the last persons seen with Natalee?' and 'Why did police fail to collect important forensic evidence at the start of the case?' Highly recommend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    Insight

    This book gives you insight that you might not of seen on the news. Its the real story, and from Her Mothers point of view. I did not know a lot of the details learned from this book, yet I followed the case very closely. I will never travel back to Aruba, because of what I have learned. My heart goes out the Beth and Matt and everyone else affected.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2007

    Avoid Aruba At All Costs

    I came away from reading this book with a message that was loud and clear to me: Avoid Aruba. I've been to many Caribbean islands - never particularly enjoying any of them 'not when we have Hawaii' but i will NEVER go to Aruba. Never been there/never will go. Beth and her entourage were bamboozled and hoodwinked at each bend in the road. I enjoyed hearing a bit about her background as well as Natalee's. I understand that she is now datng John Ramsey. If nothing else, I hope her story keeps people from travelling to Aruba.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    A Loving Tribute in the Face of Tragedy

    I thought this was a beautiful, loving tribute to a daughter lost in a senseless tragedy. This is a story of how true faith in the Lord triumphs over EVIL that pervades our daily world. True-this could happen to anyone's daughter and what a gift Beth Holloway gives us in warning others about the dangers of travels to other countries. I have been to Aruba and was at the Carlos and Charlie's bar just 3 months prior to when Natalie Holloway was there. After reading this book, I will never set foot in Aruba again and I will tell everyone I know of my decision. No mother should have to go through what Beth Holloway and her family have suffered.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    Natalee and Beth I pray for you!

    I have written letters to Beth and sent her presents. I know that doesn't help bring her daughter back. This is a great book. You should read it. I hope this book gets out to the people that heart her and makes them feel even worse. I will never go to Aruba.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    Important message for young travelers, but book lacks substance by not correcting her public false statements.

    What an interesting story Beth tells in her book. The problem I am having is based on some of what I know her stories differed in many instances from what she has told previously. That is what has plagued this case, so many stories, what to believe? Most people however, will read this and feel her pain. And there is nothing wrong with that. Because after reading this book I do believe that the Aruban authorities in many instances were not doing all they could for Natalee's family. If even half of the incidents are true that Beth writes about, regarding those first few days, it is really a sad tale for any parent to have to deal with, if their child is missing. I certainly came away from certain parts of the book quite unsettled over what they faced down there. So, that part of the book I will give Beth the benefit of the doubt about, in regard to law enforcement. Beth and Dave have many good reasons to be outraged! Everyone has to be careful though where we allow our precious young people to travel. Many, many places, not just Aruba, are also incapable of handling such a disappearance. When one travels out of the United States, you have to realize that you are beyond the protection of our government, so you make that decision before you go, not after, trouble arises. There is so much about the book that just does not seem to ring quite true to the Beth we saw nightly on TV. It makes you wonder, what she is up to now? I have a feeling, based on the way this book was written, she does have some deviously, interesting plans in her future (perhaps a new religious career). I think they are much grander than her hastily created 'safe travels' organization. For me though, she really offers nothing for what she thinks happened to Natalee, other than the rehash of those statements, which she has been referencing for years now. And what do we know for sure about them? Were they signed, were they legit, what were the questions asked to get the answers stated, do we know anything about any of that? No, and neither does Beth, for sure. She is still going down the same road that has led to nothing so far, same old 'original perpetrators' and the 'going in and out of consciousness,' (a phrase she made up out of whole cloth) that we have been hearing forever! She also fails to mention the Skeeters recordings and explain how she heard things that clearly were not there to be heard. In my opinion, she needed to deal with some of that, since it was what she seemed so outraged about for almost a year. So, no revelations at all regarding the case! In the summer of 2005, she said she had information that would shock the world. I am still waiting! And Beth still does not seem to want to deal with her daughter's own partying in Aruba, which at this stage has been well documented by the other Mountain Brook teens. Does Beth still not understand that when Natalee began the day with Red Fires for breakfast, that she didn't need to have Joran or the Kalpoes to force strange drinks laced with anything down her throat 14 or more hours later? She showed that she was totally capable of that on her own. Beth, of course, knows all of this (it is well documented). And based on the the way she wrote this book, it is apparent, she still does not wish for the truth, as far as Natalee goes, to be told. That does not however, mean that Natalee deserved anything bad to happen to her! I have always felt very badly for the loss of Natalee, as a parent we all should. It is very sad. I cannot say whether people should read this book or not. I did, because I have been following this case since day one and I needed to see for my own eyes what Beth now thinks. I was surprised to see that Beth didn't mention boycotting Aruba, although she has called for it publicly. Her public tactic lately has been not to mention it... maybe she has been advised not to (that's not forgiving enough, I guess for her new religious tactic). I would have like to have seen her di

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    Inspirational

    My friend told me about the book 'Loving Natalee' and how she just loved it and how I should read it because of my tragic loss.I immediately got the book from her and could not put it down.The writing was fantastic, not repetitious and not boring, as it held my attention to the very end.It brought back the tragedy of losing my son on May 13, 2005, just 2 weeks before Natalee went missing.I cried and felt empathy for Beth Holloway.I felt so inspired to write my own tragic story about losing my son.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    A MUST READ FOR ANYONE CONSIDERING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

    Loving Natalee is a riveting true story of a mother's love and dedication to finding her kidnapped daughter on the island of Aruba. In this true account of Beth Holloway's horrifying encounters with a corrupt infrastructure that seeks to conceal from public view the violence inflicted upon Beth's daughter, Natalee as a means of avoiding negative publicity that might negatively impact tourism dollars to the island, Beth Holloway encounters corrupt police officials whose notion of law enforcement, led to slanderous accusations hurled at the victim, Natalee, her parents, her friends, even the FBI, while Natalee's parents were painfully ignored in their repeated pleas for help from Aruban island officials. Despite clear facts of suspicious evidence pointing to the three men eye witnessed as taking Natalee Holloway away, Aruban police instead pursued the arrests of two innocent black security guards, while creating opportunities for the real suspects to destroy evidence, rehearse false statements, destroy all traces of Natalee, and laywer up. This gripping true story will forever change the way you look at international travel, while providing a treasure of painful and frightening lessons concerning the infrastructure in Aruba, the painful truths about the island, gripping lessons suffered by Natalee's family, and safety tips offered by the author from a vacation turned into a nightmare from hell, for a beloved daughter, that Beth Holloway has not seen, since Natalee visited Aruba over two and a half years ago. To this day, police have failed to hold responsible, the men implicated in numerous lie-statements and conflicting reports concerning what they did to Natalee Holloway, while a confession made by one of the suspects to the killing and burial of Natalee was then retracted by police officials, and ignored as evidence. Amidst changed statements, numerous lies, and what appears to involve corrupt conduct on the part of law enforcement officials, - a corruption admitted to by one high ranking tourism official, no one to this day, has ever been held responsible for the disappearance of Natalee Holloway while the privileged sons of Dutch and island officials, believed to be involved in crimes that involved targetting Natalee, were permitted to lie repeatedly in their statements to police, and then allowed to go free. This book will forever change how you look at international travel, while the author provides generous insights for the reader to consider about how travel destinations are chosen, through the chilling realization that once you leave United States borders, you are at the mercy of the infrastructure of the nation that you visit. When that infrastructure involves corrupt police and judiciary officials, the notion of safety is seriously challenged, as the reader realizes that safety in travel is viable, only when integrity to law enforcement is a value operative within the infrastructure of the destination point to which one travels. Loving Natalee is a beautifully written and profoundly moving book, that every family with young children should read! Loving Natalee's message is for young and old alike: for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, grandparents, business travelers, and young people everywhere. If coming home from your vacation, is something that matters to you or your loved ones, then reading this book is a must!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Should every child be so blessed to have such a couragous mother

    This book was amazing! Ask yourself, what would you do if this happend to your child. It is inexcusable how this investigation was handled. It is remarkable how this family fought for their child. I don't care if Natlie drank herself silly, no one has the right to violate, harm, abuse, murder another human being. Shame on Aruba for the mental anguish, the abuse, the threats, this family was dealt. I will NEVER travel there or any island close to it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    Stay away from Aruba

    The review posted on October 9, 2007 and the one posted in April, 2008 appear to be written by the same person with the same personal beef about Beth Holloway. Kids on a cruise are going to drink. It happens. Kids don't deserve to die because of it.

    In fact, these two reviews gave me the incentive to buy the book, which I found fascinating.

    The important take-away from this book is the purposeful and shameful inaction and misdirection from the Aruban police and government. I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been for Natalee's parents. We take justice for granted here in the US; justice is bought and paid for in the rest of the world.

    Stay away from Aruba.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2008

    This mother is in denial

    This terribly sad, unfortunate incident could have happened anywhere in the world. There are plenty of missing young women right here in Alabama. What Beth is not facing though is that her daughter was drinking way too much, and therefore being an easy target. I know several families in Mountain Brook who did not send their teens on this trip. One mom told me that she wasn't going to send her child on a trip to drink. All and all, the book is not that well written, and what upsets me most is that it is so full of anger. I was expecting a sad book.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    I can't understand the pain of a parent whom has lost a child, but I expected a different reaction from the people involved. This 'book' did a good job of discrediting the island of Aruba and its people. Nowhere there is any proof that the girl was kidnapped, which is why I don't understand why that is on the cover of this 'book'. Three 'books' have been written since this case began and not one of them offers any real evidence of what really happened. This is poorly written and not based on facts or evidence.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    a must buy if you are a mom or dad

    this story is wonderful for moms and dads and even teens should read..to show that when we go outside our country we need to keep our mind in tacked..i will say one thing i will never go to this aruba and will tell other not to either..it doesnt seem that when you need help the most there you dont get it...i dont agree with the other reviewer on how its a sham and it all for the money..get real..everyone can have there own view on this but just the fact that she is a mother looking for answers and cant even get cops to do anything and when they do they stumble anlong through it...and to say that a crime didnt even happen umm...id say her baby is missing is a big crime and the guys who were last with her lied to cops is a crime...over all this book should be read with open hearts..this is written by a mother just looking for answers...this is a must buy..lets find what happen to natalee whatever the answer maybe

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2007

    North Korean Connection

    Beth Holloway claims to have told Condaleeza Rice that Aruba has connections to North Korea for purposes of money laundering and financing N. Korea's nuclear program. This somehow had an impact on the disappearance and alleged coverup of Natalee's disappearance. This is but one example of the fairy tales contained in this book that provides no factual evidence of Holloway's accusations that her daughter was drugged, kidnapped, gangraped, murdered, chopped up and put into a fish/crab trap and dumped at sea. Holloway's purpose is to continue to seek the destruction of Aruba and promote her baseless persecution of the named suspects. There has never been a scintilla of evidence that a crime was committed against Natalee Holloway. This book is a sham, merely another in a long line of Holloway's moneymaking ventures on the back of her missing daughter.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2007

    scary

    A sad warning of what can happen on a graduation celebration when the amount of corruption at the destination vacation is unknown. Could happen to any of us and change our lives forever. Be informed.

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