“Parts of Hadler’s family tree was shrouded in darkness.  When she was only a few months old, she lost her father at the end of World War II to a mine explosion, an event that so shattered her mother that she refused to talk to her children about him, instead starting a new life and family by marrying again.  Hadler’s search for her father as an adult, a journey that took her to the last places on earth that he walked, serves as a prelude in this meditative memoir to her quest to discover what happened to her mother’s estranged sisters.  What she discovers is a legacy of loss and mental illness, with repercussions for the generations that followed.  Her years as a psychotherapist are evident in her measured, sympathetic treatment of the struggles faced by those in the family who used silence to cover tragedy.  Both an exploration of loss and a celebration of discovering connections, The Beauty of What Remains is a moving account of one woman’s efforts to make her family whole.” Booklist

“This book is about the power of absence.  Can we miss people we never even knew? . . . This book is also about silence.  Why did Hadler not know anything about her father or her aunts when she was growing up?  Why was her mother so secretive about her first family, actively rebuffing Hadler’s requests for information . . . compelling.” Isthmus

“. . . Her story is inspirational for anyone who has ever been met with silence when they asked about their family’s past.  The reader is left with a promise that, while disrupting that quiet may be initially, and inevitably, painful, perseverance and being present to what surrounds us – even that which is invisible – will fill any holes we possess with a transformational sense of belonging.” Washington City Paper

“Susan Johnson Hadler’s memoir is a thoughtful, irresistible journey covering an expansive personal landscape.  Many of the experiences Hadler shares will resonate with her readers in her skillfully crafted book, The Beauty of What Remains: Family Lost, Family Found.” John Busbee, Host, The Culture Buzz

“All families have mysteries and perhaps dark corners.  The lesson in The Beauty of What Remains is to turn those troubles into happiness, darkness into light.  Those are the results of AWONer Susan Hadler’s adventure into her mysterious past in The Beauty of What Remains.  The Star: Journal of the American WWII War Orphans Network

“The narrative is gripping in the premise alone, but the entire story is hauntingly universal. We learn how Hadler’s mother’s choices were connected with hidden family history. Silence cuts deeply into soul, splinters and slices and cuts us off. Hadler’s story toward finding herself through her father leads to learning about her mother’s sisters from whom her mother had chosen to disconnect.

Reading like detective fiction, this memoir holds truths for all of us. Discovery is at the core, not only about family but equally about the larger world events that surround and shape us through ignorance, misinformation and denial.” – NUVO

The Beauty of What Remains is a wonderfully written story of Susan Johnson finding her father’s history and family.  I was taken in right away as she learns more about her father’s death during WWII. . . this book is a must read for anyone with a family history that they want to learn more about.  If you don’t, you will once you start reading this book.  I guarantee this story will inspire you to learn more about your family tree.  This is a fabulous tale.  – The Write Review

We can use Susan’s journey as a model for how to stay honest and authentic while we uncover the wounds and hidden places in our own family histories and in ourselves. We can take heart from Susan’s story as we try to stay clear-eyed, traveling through our own past. We know this is crucial work; when we heal our wounds and those of our families, we help to heal our children and future generations. If you need a nudge of inspiration or a guide to help you on your way, this book may be just the ticket.  Barbara Casey in The Mindfulness Bell

I think what appealed to me the most about this memoir was the author’s navigation of all things family. Navigating the waters of family secrets and wading through repressed memories, Hadler speaks her truth – painfully, cautiously, but always honestly. The Beauty of what Remains is a beautiful story, compellingly told.  From a review by Laurie in This Is My Symphony 

The Beauty of What Remains: Family Lost, Family Found is Susan Johnson Hadler’s memoir about discovering missing members of her family and then bringing the family back together. Hadler’s family once held its hurt close and kept pain private. After her father was killed just before the end of WWII, his memory was all but erased by Hadler’s mother, a woman too grief- stricken to bear even mention of him. Hadler’s youth, and much of her adult life, were marked by unanswered questions, unsettling silence, and absence. At age 50, just before the 50th anniversary of her father’s death, and against her mother’s will, Hadler went in search of her father.

In this remarkable remembrance, Hadler travels to Oklahoma, to Wisconsin, even to France and Germany—all in search of one man. What her process yields is a father—and two aunts, who were torn from the family by the shame of mental illness and by disagreements and rejections. The Beauty of What Remains is a haunting, thought-provoking, and deeply moving book. It is also healing—full of forgiveness and hope. Guided by her meditation and Buddhist practice, Hadler transforms the family brokenness, making it possible for her to find the forgotten and embrace them with open arms.  A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI