Keeping Lucy: A Novel

· Sold by St. Martin's Press
7 reviews

About this ebook

"This story will have readers not only rooting for Ginny and Lucy, but thinking about them long after the last page is turned." -- Lisa Wingate, New York Times Bestselling Author of Before We Were Yours
PopSugar's 30 Must-Read Books of 2019
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The heartbreaking and uplifting story, inspired by incredible 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.

"A heartrending yet inspiring novel that kept me reading late into the night.” —Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday and The Edge of Lost

Ratings and reviews

7 reviews
Becky Baldridge
August 10, 2019
Keeping Lucy isn't normally my kind of read, but I remember the scandal that inspired this one, so it drew me in. The story absolutely broke my heart while simultaneously infuriating me to no end. I know that places like Willowridge existed. As I said, I remember the scandal, but that didn't make it any easier to read. Ginny's visit to Willowridge doesn't take up as much space on the page as I had expected, but her problems with getting Lucy well and reasonably fit do, and none of it was easy to read about. There were things that happened that bothered me - Marsha's actions and language even around children, Ab's father and his high-handed treatment of his family, that kind of thing - but the things that bothered me the most were Ab's and Ginny's actions at the beginning. I really wanted to give Ab a good shake and tell him to just man up, and it was equally hard to understand Ginny and the way she bent to Ab's wishes, or more accurately, Ab's father's wishes. And then there's Marsha. She's a little over the top in that she's almost everything we think about in a bad role model for children. So much so that she's almost caricature-like, which was the biggest drawback for me. Marsha aside, when I stopped to think about the generation of people here, I wasn't quite so upset with Ab and Ginny. I still wanted to shake Ab, but Ginny's action made a little more sense given the circumstances. The stigma surrounding children like Lucy was a huge factor in life in that time, and certain things were expected of people. That doesn't excuse any of it, but it was what it was, and I believe that stories like this one do have their place. We should always remember our history lest we repeat it. I think Keeping Lucy is going to be one of those books that you either like or you don't. I don't think there's going to be much straddling the fence on this one, especially in this day and age when we know so much more about what's good and bad for a child, or at least we think we do. In the end, I do wish there had been a little more peeling back the layers surrounding Willowridge, but the author has still written a compelling story that I found hard to put down.
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August 6, 2019
This is a very special work. It is hard, in our iPhone, WorldWideWeb world with every conceivable question answered at our fingertips, to imagine just how limited the knowledge that parents were exposed to in the 1960s when their child was born with complications. There was no foreknowledge - no prenatal testing, no ultrasounds, to time to get prepared, to research choices. Lucy is the second child of Ginny and Ab Richardson, a comfortably situated family with resources who are good, caring, loving parents to their 4-year-old son Peyton. Their home is in suburban Dover, Massachusetts, and Ad works in his father's law firm in Boston, a 45-minute train ride away. Lucy is born with Down Syndrome. Within twenty-four hours, Ginny still groggy from the anesthesia, Lucy has been removed from the hospital of her birth after her parents were counseled by both their doctor and Ab's family to place Lucy in Willowridge Children's Home in Amherst. They were told repeatedly that they would not be able to care for Lucy themselves, that her needs were more than could be handled at home, that she would never speak, never walk, never learn even basic life skills and the stress of caring for her would destroy their family, would rob Peyton of his youth. This was a safe children's home, they were told, well run by social friends of Abbott Sr. But visiting was not encouraged - not recommended at all as Lucy's probable health problems would more than likely take her within a couple of years and further contact would only break their hearts. Especially Peyton's heart. Ginny is never content with this plan but other than mentioning occasionally that she really wants to visit Lucy, see the world she inhabits, she allows herself to be distracted. Ab is frantically busy working in the city for his father's law firm and life is set in a pattern that doesn't allow time for a trip to Amherst. Genny doesn't drive, doesn't have a sitter for Peyton, is afraid to expose Peyton to a sister he will have to face losing to death before she has a chance to live. Until Ginny's old friend Marsha, a nurse in Amherst, calls with the breaking news about the atrocious conditions, neglect, and abuse, at the Willowridge Children's Home where Lucy, now almost two years old, lives. Martha drives over to Dover and picks up Ginny and Peyton, and they make the trip to find that the newspaper articles are more than true. There is a class action suit being prepared by many of the parents which Ginny could join - until she finds out that her father-in-law is representing the Home in said suit. And that her husband gave up their parental rights to Lucy at her birth. The only thing she can think to do is grab her children, and run... I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, T. Greenwood, and St. Martin's Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.
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About the author

T. GREENWOOD's novels have sold over 250,000 copies. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, Christopher Isherwood Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Her novel Bodies of Water was a 2013 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist; Two Rivers and Grace were each named Best General Fiction Book at the San Diego Book Awards, and Where I Lost Her was a Globe and Mail bestseller in 2016. Greenwood lives with her family in San Diego.

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