Renee was adopted by Walter and Frances Burt—of the notorious Burt crime family of Rhode Island—when she was just 15 months old. While the Burts are known for their crimes involving arson, welfare fraud, and assaults, Renee's own experiences are more far-ranging and horrific than any newspaper headlines suggest.
Beginning at age 6, Renee faced unspeakable instances of sexual abuse, physical beatings, and constant verbal tirades of her worthlessness, all by the “good Catholic” parents who’d adopted her. From weekly nighttime visits from her father, to lacerations inflicted by her mother’s power cord, Renee’s childhood was filled with traumatic horrors. It was not until Renee had her own child at age 17 that she finally found something to live and to fight for.
Author Renee Snyder painstakingly details every torment she faced at the hands of the Burts for a period exceeding 20 years. House of Shadows and Illusion is Renee’s own story of unspeakable suffering and, ultimately, survival.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is about good versus evil in the emotional, psychological, and abusive love of a “mother”. The triangle consists of a biological mother (Linda), evil step-mother (Francis Burt), and Linda’s infant daughter (Hope/Renee). Francis used irresolute love, control, abandonment, and abuse to dominate and terrorize Renee since her adoption at six. In living with Walter and Frances Burt, Renee suffered years of exploitation, violence, neglect, and molestation. This situation was overcome despite her fears of losing the only ‘family’ and love she ever had. She knew the consequences of crossing them, and as she matured wanted a life free of their control and daily abuse for herself and her child. Renee found a new life free of worth by taking the precarious step to freedom, deciding to cross the Burt crime family. She demonstrated courage by taking down the Burt Crime Family and succeeded because of her spirit, intelligence and intense desire to live. She gained retribution, freedom, and finally the chance to find love and start her own family. It wasn’t easy, but a life free of hate, anger, fear, anxiety, and terror is worth taking that first, precarious step to freedom. Renee survived because of her spirit, intelligence and her willingness to live.