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Saturday, August 3, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood @stmartinspress @tgwood505 @jessmapreviews

Keeping Lucy 
by T. Greenwood 

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this incredible read.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: August 6, 2019
Kindle Edition
304 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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.
My Review:

MY HEART! I think I went into this expecting to learn more about Willowridge and while I did NOT get that, what I got was a heartfelt story of one mother's journey to protect the daughter no one else would. 
I couldn't imagine living during this time, as a mother who just gave birth to a daughter with Down Syndrome - who is called mongoloid and retarded and told would be best sent off to be taken care of elsewhere.  Whose rights were signed off before I even woke up.  This blending of true events and fiction of Ginny's story grasps you from the very first page.

Women and their rights during this time/inequalities, misunderstanding of Down Syndrome, social injustice, legal rights.... just a few of the things we come across during this emotional road trip Ginny takes with her best friend, Marsha.  Their friendship on its own is wondrous and beautiful.  Two completely opposite women who do not judge and just love each other.  Opposites attract on many levels and sometimes you really do need that yin to your yang to keep you balanced.

You fall in love with Lucy.  Your heart swells for Peyton.  You root for Ginny and Marsha. You hope for the best from Ab - both junior and senior.  You may or may not try to sniff back tears at a certain scene towards the end.  Beautifully written, Greenwood truly showcases Ginny who surprises herself by standing up for what is right for her and her daughter, despite the world being against her.

Highly recommend.  Greenwood's prose will steal something from you while giving back so much more.

Jessica's Review:

When I picked up RUST & STARDUST by T. Greenwood I fell in love with the writing and the story we got to experience. So when I saw KEEPING LUCY was coming out, I immediately knew I had to get a copy. I was not disappointed. A moving story about the lengths a mother will go to to protect her child – even from her husband and in-laws.

It’s 1969, and we open with Ginny going into labor two weeks early and during a Blood Moon. Which everyone around her warned her would happen. We experience her confusion and panic when the doctor explains to her in her groggy state that her daughter was born with defects, what they called mongoloid. She isn’t allowed to see her daughter for days and they continue to force her to rest. Her husband, Ab, finally is at her bedside and explains that he and his parents have sent their newborn daughter, Lucy, to an institution that cares for children “like her”.

Fast-forward two years, and her world turns upside down when an article is written about the institution she was sent to and they inhumane conditions the children live in. Determined to save her daughter, and finally meet her, Ginny, her best friend Marsha, and her six year old son, Peyton, all make the journey to get Lucy. After seeing what poor health Lucy is in and the obvious neglect she has been subjected to, Ginny makes the decision to keep Lucy and check her out for good. Things get complicated when we learn that her husband signed Lucy over to the state – Ginny is no longer seen as her mother or guardian and can be arrested for kidnapping if she doesn’t return Lucy. Here starts the desperate journey to keep Lucy safe.

Greenwood takes us across the country as Ginny tries to stay a step ahead of her husband. There was that slight feeling of cat-and-mouse, but this would definitely fall under the fiction category. You just feel for Ginny and her undying need and desire to keep her only daughter. As I was reading, I completely forgot the time period and was shocked how people treated children with mental/physical disabilities. I loved seeing Ginny grow in her independence from page one until the end. Having never gone against what her husband wanted, this was a story of growth and finding her strength. I’ll continue to pick up whatever Greenwood releases, and I would highly recommend this one for your summer TBR!

5 stars

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