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.
A captivating and thought-provoking read. It is difficult to imagine that the time when women were powerless to this extent is not that far away (in some places or in some aspects it is still here with us).
Ginny Richardson is told that her newborn daughter Lucy has Down Syndrome and a heart condition that will not permit her to live long. Ginny’s husband Ab, forced by his overbearing wealthy lawyer father, agrees to place Lucy in an institution for ‘feeble-minded’. Ab tries to persuade Ginny that this will be in Lucy’s and everybody else’s interests and they just have to grieve and then continue with their life.
Ginny’s heart daily goes to her daughter but for two long years she doesn’t see her (something I find both heart-wrenching and incredibly passive), until her friend Marsha tells her about a newspaper article exposing deplorable conditions children in Willowbridge live in. Ginny decides to check the situation and is shocked to see that it was true. She signs Lucy out (effectively kidnapping her daughter) and embarks on a road trip together with Peyton, her six-year-old son, and Marsha, her larger than life, reckless, swearing, big-hearted, loyal friend. Ginny has to grow a backbone in order to protect her children.
The story is beautifully-written (although perhaps a bit melodramatic, how can it be anything else with this plot that is bound to tug at your heartstrings?) and is essentially about love, guilt, family, and friendship. Ginny has to go through an enormous character evolution in short time to become stronger and capable to fight for what is right.
Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s Press for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read Keeping Lucy or is it on your tbr? What did you think of the portrayal of little Lucy?
- Have you read any other books by T.Greenwood? which ones would you recommend?