Book Title and Author: Keeping Lucy by T.Greenwood
Publication Date and Publisher: August 6, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 320 pages
Buy on Amazon.com
Date Read: July 25, 2019 (e-arc)
From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter.
Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on.
But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.
For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.
Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood is a touching and often very heartbreaking story about a mother’s plight to save her young daughter, as well as makeup for her own past mistakes.
In 1969, Ginny and Ab are happily married, parents to 4 year old Peyton, and expecting their second child. After Ginny has her baby, she’s briefly allowed to hold her daughter who she names Lucy before the baby is quickly taken away, the Dr telling her she’s “mongoloid” but never does Ginny expect to wake up from the tranquilizers and find her baby completely gone! Ab, an attorney at his father’s high powered law firm, has followed his father’s orders and had Lucy placed in a state-run school for the “feebleminded” called Willowridge and signed away Ginny’s parental rights without her knowledge or consent. The Dr has said Lucy has a heart defect and won’t survive long and back then, those born with Down Syndrome were completely misunderstood and institutionalization was commonplace.
Ginny soon discovers that Willowridge is not the kind of place she thought when her best friend Marsha brings her newspaper expos that shine a light on the horrific conditions and mistreatment going on at the facility. She immediately decides to go see her daughter for herself (for the first time) to see if the expo is right and what she finds sickens and horrifies her. Instead of just taking Lucy for what was supposed to be a long weekend, she ends up “kidnapping” her and soon Marsha, Ginny, and the kids are on the run.
This book was so disturbing in places that I couldn’t help but cry. My heart broke for Lucy and what she had to have endured the first two years of her life, and I was so happy to see Ginny stop being passive and doing everything her husband and his father said to do. I know it was 1971 but still, as a mother of three, there would have been nothing to keep me from seeing my child during the two years she was away from me, so I felt like Ginny was a very weak character at the beginning who you see over the course of the novel develop into a character with much strength. Greenwood really characterizes in Ginny how a mother will go to any lengths for her children.
A highly emotional, character-driven read that I greatly enjoyed as my second book by Greenwood.
**Thank you NetGalley and St.Martin’s Press for the ARC. All opinions are my own.**