Mary Helen Fein is a writer living in Northern California. Her books are, in large part, biographical or auto-biographical.

She is currently writing her fourth book, an “as told to” biography of her mediation teacher of thirty years, John M. Travis. John has been a Spirit Rock Teacher since the retreat center was founded, and he was very important in bringing Buddhism to the United States. The book will be ready for publication sometime late in 2024.

Her third book was a memoir entitled Moments of Knowing. It’s about the moments in one’s life of knowing love and creativity. The book is a memoir of Mary Helen’s life. It has been accepted for publication in early 2025, by publisher She Writes Press with distribution by Simon and Schuster.

Mary Helen’s second book is entitled Stitching a Life, An Immigration Story. It was published in June 2020, by She Writes Press. This historical novel is the story of her grandmother, Helen Breakstone Fein, who came to New York City from Lithuania by herself at the age of 16, in 1900. Lithuania was part of Russia at that time, and life for Jewish families was becoming more and more dangerous as anti-Semitism grew. Many Eastern European Jews came to the United States at that time.

Stitching A Life is not just the story of Mary Helen’s grandmother. It is the story of each one of the millions of immigrants who crossed the ocean and entered through Ellis Island to find a better life in the New World. Like many, her grandmother worked hard in the garment industry on the Lower East Side. For her first few years in America, she was completely focused on earning enough money to buy one more ticket, to bring one more family member to safety. She was driven to reunite the entire family in the promised land. You can purchase Stitching A Life here on Amazon.

Mary Helen Fein’s interview with the Tenement Museum about her book Stitching A Life, is available here.  Tenement Museum. The museum provided great inspiration on how newcomers to New York lived at the time of her grandmother’s entry into the country in 1900. The museum includes apartments typical of many different immigrant influx times. One of the apartments is just like her grandmother’s family would have lived in on arrival to New York. The living spaces of New World immigrants from many different times can be visited, toured and understood.

Mary Helen’s first book, Loss of Deliverance was published in 2014. It is a fictional coming of age story about a young woman in the 1960 hippie years who follows a boyfriend into the drug trade. Circumstances shift and the drug trade moves from small sailboats and smaller quantities of Jamaican pot to major cocaine buys in Columbia. The heroine feels a strong motivation to find her way out of living an illegal life and into a life’s work that is constructive. It might keep you up all night. You can purchase Loss of Deliverance here on Amazon.