Title: Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical (60s & 70s), Fiction
Length: 306 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The heartbreaking and uplifting 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.
Based on incredible true events, Keeping Lucy is the searing, heartfelt, and breathtaking story of just how far a mother’s love can take her.
Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood is a heartrending yet ultimately uplifting novel.
Ginny Richardson and her husband are from very different socio-economic backgrounds but the first years of their marriage are mostly happy. Ab’s wealthy family helps them purchase their first home while Ab finishes law school and Ginny stays home with their son Peyton. After law school, Ab joins his father’s law firm and he works long hours moving up through the ranks. Their delight at Ginny’s second pregnancy ends in despair when their daughter Lucy is born. She has Down syndrome and frightened by their physician’s dire prognosis, they immediately put her in Willowridge School.
Fast forward two years and Ginny is growing more unhappy with her life. She has no friends in the local area and since Ab works long hours, he is rarely home with her and Peyton. Ginny’s relationship with her in-laws remains distant and she continues to feel inadequate. But when her best friend Marsha calls to tell her a reporter has exposed horrific conditions at Willowridge, Ginny goes against Ab’s wishes when she takes Peyton and Marsha to check on Lucy.
Immediately sickened by what she discovers at Willowridge, Ginny leaves with Lucy for a long overdue visit. She also hopes to convince Ab that it is time for them to bring Lucy home. However, Lucy is angered by his refusal to even consider her request. Although Ginny does not want to go against her husband’s wishes, she also cannot surrender her daughter for a second time. Needing time to figure out what she is going to do, Ginny makes an impetuous decision that will alter the course of her life. But will she ruin her marriage in the process?
With Marsha behind the wheel, she, Peyton and Lucy embark on a journey in which Ginny decides to regain control of her life. Having completely surrendered to her husband’s and father-in-law’s will, the distance and time away provides her the opportunity to reflect on what she wants for herself and her family. But defying her husband is not easy and she often second-guesses her decisions. When a crisis strikes, will Ginny find the strength she needs to protect her daughter?
Keeping Lucy is an emotionally compelling novel that is based on true events. The storyline is engaging and the characters are well-developed and likable. Ginny is fundamentally changed by her experiences and her fierce desire to protect Lucy once she knows the truth about Willowridge. The various settings and the time period are vibrantly developed and realistically portrayed. T. Greenwood brings this deeply affecting novel to a heartwarming conclusion that is quite gratifying.