Updated: Dec 30, 2019
A heartwarming story of a mother’s love and redemption.
Ginny Richardson‘s was devastated when her newborn infant girl that she named Lucy, was ripped away from her just minutes after her birth. It was October 1969 and Lucy had been born with Down’s Syndrome. The doctor, Lucy’s husband, Ab and Lucy’s powerful father-in-law thought it was for the best that Lucy be taken away to Willowridge immediately, a special school for the “feeble minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny they should just move on, they had a son to think about and besides they could have other children.
Two years later, Ginny’s best friend Marsha shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth. The walls were smeared with human waste, the kitchen was full of cockroaches and the food was inedible. Photos showed the children were left unattended and huddled in corners, sewage spills and elevators were filled with dirty laundry. After seeing the photo’s Ginny knows she can’t leave her daughter there one more day. With Ginny’s six-year-old son Peyton, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets them 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 a domineering father-in-law for the right to keep Lucy.
KEEPING LUCY is a moving book about family, loss, betrayal, and a mother’s love, and redemption. My favorite part was when Ginny walked out of Willowridge with her daughter in her arms, and later when Lucy spoke her first word—“moon.” This is an ironic coincidence given that the moon, or more precisely the “blood moon” was according to superstition, responsible for Lucy’s curse. Yet here is little Lucy proving to all she is not cursed.
While reading about a child with Down Syndrome might be a difficult subject for some, the theme of the story is really about a mother’s love for her child and her willingness to go to battle to keep her child. It’s a heart-warming story that every mother should read. We are captivated by Ginny’s realization that it’s never to late to do the right thing.
Author, Tammy Greenwood skillfully transports us to 1969 in Dover, Massachusetts and from there it’s a wild and crazy road trip two years later from Willowridge, to Atlantic City, to the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains to a mermaid show in Florida. Ginny and Marsha are brave for going on the run, and while they don’t alway make the best decisions on the road they are doing their best. The road trip reminds me a little of the Thelma and Louise movie. Little Lucy is the star of the book, she steals your heart with every word she speaks. Keeping Lucy is a gem of a book.
Tammy Greenwood is the author of over twelve novels, most recently RUST and STARDUST (2018) and THE GOLDEN HOUR (2017). I have read and reviewed both these books and am quite enthralled by Greenwood’s writing and ability to tell a story. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors.
Thanks to Netgalley, Tammy Greenwood and St. Martin’s Press for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher St. Martin’s Press
Published August 6, 2019