Keeping Lucy

Keeping Lucy

From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking 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 spe...

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Title:Keeping Lucy
Author:T. Greenwood
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Keeping Lucy Reviews

  • Mischenko

    This book captivated me from start to finish!

    It's 1969 and Ginny has just given birth to her second child, a baby girl with down syndrome. The moment she's born, Ginny's doctor tells her that she won't be able to keep the baby, and that her baby will likely die within a few years from a heart condition or something else. Her husband wants to protect the family by sending the baby to a school for children with needs. Ginny doesn't agree with her husband Abbott, but she fe/>Very

    This book captivated me from start to finish!

    It's 1969 and Ginny has just given birth to her second child, a baby girl with down syndrome. The moment she's born, Ginny's doctor tells her that she won't be able to keep the baby, and that her baby will likely die within a few years from a heart condition or something else. Her husband wants to protect the family by sending the baby to a school for children with needs. Ginny doesn't agree with her husband Abbott, but she feels she has no choice and all of it seems to be facilitated by her horrible, controlling, father-in-law. The baby is snatched away while everyone but Ginny seems to forget it ever happened. Over the next few years, life moves forward, but Ginny hasn't forgotten about her daughter Lucy. It still eats at her as she continues to wonder about the condition of Lucy and if this was the right choice. She tries to be a satisfactory mom and wife regardless of all her concerns. In 1971 a report surfaces with claims that Willowridge--the school where little Lucy lives-- has been neglecting the children. The report is horrible and parents have now filed lawsuits against the school. It rips at Ginny's heart and she knows she has to make haste and get to the school to find out the condition of her daughter. Against her husband's wishes, she heads on a trip with her friend Marsha to examine the conditions of the school and to check on Lucy. It turns out the report is true, and Ginny is shocked. She resolves that there's absolutely no way she can allow Lucy to stay at Willowridge any longer. What will Ginny do? With no job and not much money, how can she fix this situation? How can she be the mother Lucy needs and still care for her six-year-old son without the support of her husband?

    I felt so much emotion with this story because of how well-developed the characters were. I grew to really love Ginny after her character flourishes and she finally gets enough courage to stand on her own two feet. I could even relate to the in-law pressure. Marsha (Ginny's best friend) was one of my favorites as well. She's the kind of friend everyone wants, one who's there when you need her, and one who would sacrifice anything for you. My only issue with her was her irresponsibility when it came to her reckless behavior. With that said, there were other characters in the story that I had extreme dislike for and even hate at times. I had to reluctantly put the book down more than once and ask myself repeatedly:

    It felt that real to me.

    At times the book reminded me of one of my favorite movies:

    , primarily because of Marsha. I couldn't help but think about these two characters and how their 'trip' felt similar. I was on edge often, as the book just kept getting better and better. I was captivated and it felt believable. The writing has a sense of urgency to it and I just couldn't stop until the end. I also loved that the author went back into the characters' histories so that you learn about their family relationships from the beginning. This jumping back and forth between the present 1971 and their past kept it interesting and yet the story remained seamless.

    My absolute only complaint with this book was the ending which felt really rushed after how drawn out the story was, however, I did appreciate the conclusion with how everything turned out. I was willing to overlook the rush, but it just seemed like a few of the characters have a change of heart in an instant--which isn't impossible--just highly unlikely so quickly after how they'd been throughout their history. It was wrapped up so quickly after all that intensity and just seemed a tad too abrupt.

    Overall, I really enjoyed the book and think I may have found a new favorite author, even with this being my first book by T. Greenwood. I loved the articulate writing and how I was pulled in to this story. There's nothing better than a book you simply can't put down--one that you can't wait to gush about to everyone. This is that book. I couldn't resist spilling the entire story to my mom after I finished. With themes of love, friendship, courage, fear, family, and most of all, hope, this is a favorite for 2018!

    5*****

    Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest opinions.

  • Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    Ginny Richardson had always wanted a simple life. Her husband, Ab had said he wanted the same thing. They were going to live in a little cabin in the woods with their children, enjoying nature and each other. Unfortunately, those dreams were shattered early on.

    />Once

    My reviews can also be seen at:

    Ginny Richardson had always wanted a simple life. Her husband, Ab had said he wanted the same thing. They were going to live in a little cabin in the woods with their children, enjoying nature and each other. Unfortunately, those dreams were shattered early on.

    Now they live in a fancy house not far from her in-law's fancy house. Ginny is pregnant with her second child when her water breaks during her baby shower.

    After giving birth, Ginny can tell something is wrong. She doesn’t hear the baby crying and everyone is ignoring her. She hears them whispering,

    They finally let her hold her daughter and Ginny looks at her,

    She thinks Lucy is perfect.

    The doctor won't answer her questions and just tells her to rest. Ginny wonders where Ab is as they plunge yet another syringe into her arm. The next time she wakes, Ab is finally there. His eyes are sad. Ginny asks where Lucy is as Abbott Senior walks in. Ab tells her that his father has found a place for Lucy at

    . He says it is a place where Lucy will be loved and cared for. Ginny is furious…

    She begs her husband to come to the nursery with her, but Ab tells her that Lucy’s not there.

    Two years later there is a hole in Ginny's life and in her heart. Her husband has grown distant and is usually home late. Ginny and six-year-old, Peyton often eat alone.

    Her best friend, Marsha tells her about an exposé a local reporter has written.

    The next day, Marsha brings Ginny the newspaper articles. Ginny can’t believe what she’s reading. What the reporter saw sounds horrific. Ginny tells her husband that he needs to fix this.

    She is shocked by Ab's reaction.

    Ginny decides she must go to Willowridge to see if what she read is true. What she sees there is appalling. She doesn’t know what to do next. But one thing she does know is that she will not abandon her daughter again.

    ” is a well written, gut-wrenching story that I couldn’t put down. I read it with my heart in my throat. The story takes place over many years. We learn about the early years of Ginny and Ab’s relationship and marriage, as well as the two years after Lucy was taken away. The story continues after the awful truth about Willowridge is revealed.

    This novel was filled with many well-developed characters. Some devious and some that stole my heart. The children’s characters were especially wonderful and I LOVED Ginny’s best friend, Marsha.

    In my opinion

    is a fascinating and moving book about family, guilt, loss, betrayal, and a mother’s unconditional love. I’m excited to read more from this talented author.

    I'd like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

  • Holly  B

    Honestly, I was just going to "preview" a bit of this novel, and planned on reading it next month. That never happened. - I became so absorbed in the story and so invested in the characters that I simply

    !

    It was such a compelling story line and I just fell in love with little Lucy and truly cared about her and her mom, Ginny. I had to see the story through to the end.

    It was 1969

    Honestly, I was just going to "preview" a bit of this novel, and planned on reading it next month. That never happened. - I became so absorbed in the story and so invested in the characters that I simply

    !

    It was such a compelling story line and I just fell in love with little Lucy and truly cared about her and her mom, Ginny. I had to see the story through to the end.

    It was 1969 and Ginny's baby girl, Lucy was born with Down's Syndrome. Ginny was 

    by her high and mighty family into committing Lucy to an institution named 

    .

    that come out about what has been taking place at 

    prompt Ginny and her bestie, Martha (who I also loved)! to grab baby Lucy and take off on a

    inspired road trip! I found myself cheering these ladies on and wanting to cuddle Lucy myself.

    I teared up, I took deep breaths, and I delighted in everything Lucy!

    Okay.....  I Loved Lucy!  xoxoxo

    Highly recommend you read it and fall in love too.

    Thanks to St Martin's Press for my ARC to read/review

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    Virginia (Ginny) Richardson worked in a library when she met Abbot, Jr. (Ab). He came from money because his father led a very successful law firm. Abbot Sr. had designs set on his son; he wanted him to go to Harvard Law school and follow in his footsteps. But Ab had other ideas about joining a group of aid workers for six months in Vietnam. When Ab brought Ginny to his family's sparkling and imposing mansion, Abbot Sr. made it clear that she wasn't an ideal candidate for his son's future wife.

    Virginia (Ginny) Richardson worked in a library when she met Abbot, Jr. (Ab). He came from money because his father led a very successful law firm. Abbot Sr. had designs set on his son; he wanted him to go to Harvard Law school and follow in his footsteps. But Ab had other ideas about joining a group of aid workers for six months in Vietnam. When Ab brought Ginny to his family's sparkling and imposing mansion, Abbot Sr. made it clear that she wasn't an ideal candidate for his son's future wife. But, Ab had already secreted his grandmother's 3-carat diamond engagement ring out of the family safe and proposed to Ginny, which she accepted. Then Ginny got pregnant, which helped decide how things were going to go. Despite the less than ideal timing, Ab was elated when he learned Ginny was pregnant...so much so that he began dancing with Ginny's mother in celebration upon hearing the news. Now compromises were to be made with Ab's family. Ab would indeed go to law school, Ab's family would provide a high society country club wedding and honeymoon (when Ginny had dreamed of a quiet, small affair), and a small starter home would be provided for the newly minted family.

    The dueling chapter timelines are 1969 and 1971, which serve to weave the story along to its poignant conclusion. I grew up in the sixties and seventies, so I am quite drawn to this setting. As the book begins, Ginny, already the mother of 4 year old son Peyton, is heavily pregnant with her second child. She's at the baby shower her mother-in-law Sylvia has thrown for her at the mansion. As the affair is ending, her water breaks, and she's on her way to delivery at the hospital. Back then women were still being "put out" to give birth, and when she wakes up all is not as it should be. What should be a celebratory atmosphere of elation is instead a somber and extremely tense situation with furtive glances. Ginny wants to hold her baby girl and the nurse reluctantly lets her do so. Ginny takes in the gorgeous dark lashes and marvels over her beautiful baby girl, but is told that her child has a severe developmental disability. In blunt terms, Ginny is told Lucy is mongoloid, retarded, and will have heart problems. In accurate medical terms, Lucy has Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder. The next day when Ginny is discharged from the hospital and is looking to hold her baby, Ab sheepishly tells her that Lucy's already been taken away to Willowridge School, where that facility can handle the many challenges Lucy will face.

    Four year old Peyton has been told that his little sister "went to the angels". For Ginny, it's a dichotomy where she's in deep mourning, but her baby girl didn't actually die. Ginny broaches the subject with Ab about visiting Lucy, but is told that visitation is discouraged before two years have passed. So, Ginny plods through her daily life as a mother and wife, ironing and starching Ab's shirts, caring for Peyton and their newer, more elaborate home (another perk from the in-laws). Then Ginny's best friend Marsha descends upon the home with explosive newspaper articles about Willowridge. There are photos depicting neglect, with unsanitary and inhumane living conditions at this so called "school". Now Ginny is off the rails with concern and immediately wants to visit Lucy.

    To give away too many more details would be a disservice to the future reader, as they should be discovered and savored on their own- for this is an exquisitely written story. Let me just say that Ginny and Marsha take off, in "Thelma & Louise" like fashion (if you haven't seen that movie, I highly recommend it) on a mission to find Lucy.

    There are a multitude of lessons of love told in the pages of this book. In 1972 investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera did an expose about the Willowbrook school that shocked the nation and ignited change in federal civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. Undoubtedly, this book was based on Willowbrook. Today, we see people with Down Syndrome living with their families, not shut away in institutions. On a personal note, my brother-in-law who is in his fifties lives with my husband, college-age son and I. He used to live downstairs with my mother-in-law, but when she passed away we gladly took him into our home. He does not have Down Syndrome, but has other mental disabilities as well as a profound speech impediment. He is a handsome, gentle, loving, well-mannered and very well-liked individual in our community. He loves to crochet blankets, do puzzles, paint by number and play video games. He used to be a diaper changing assistant when my mother-in-law watched our infant son! He keeps busy with regular parks and recreation activities our town provides for ability challenged residents. He also has won too many ribbons and trophies to count participating in Special Olympics. He goes on many wonderful trips with these programs. He's also a great help around the house with vacuuming and other home improvement projects, where my husband engages his enthusiastic assistance. Not to mention his mastery of the Keurig coffeemaker, when he gladly makes me a perfect cup of coffee. I digress from the book, but in summation the interaction between Lucy and Ginny, where she first received real love, was a conduit to learning. My heart is full after reading this book. I read it within two days, which is unheard of for me. It is probably the best book that I've read this year, and I highly recommend it.

    Thank you to St. Martin's Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  • Debra

    When Ginny Richardson's daughter, Lucy, is born with down syndrome, her husband has her taken to Willowridge, a school for the "feeble minded” Ginny is heartbroken, but her husband convinces her that Lucy being in Willowridge is in everyone's best interest - including Lucy's. Ginny was expected to grieve and move on. But then Ginny's friend Marsha find a newspaper article detailing neglected children, despicable living conditions and poor treatment at Willowridge, Ginny knows she must do somethi

    When Ginny Richardson's daughter, Lucy, is born with down syndrome, her husband has her taken to Willowridge, a school for the "feeble minded” Ginny is heartbroken, but her husband convinces her that Lucy being in Willowridge is in everyone's best interest - including Lucy's. Ginny was expected to grieve and move on. But then Ginny's friend Marsha find a newspaper article detailing neglected children, despicable living conditions and poor treatment at Willowridge, Ginny knows she must do something, anything to protect her daughter. Against her husband her father-in-law's wishes, Ginny decides to act.

    I really enjoyed this book which felt as if it were set in the 1950's and not the early 1970's to me. Ginny is very passive in the beginning of the book. She does not drive, she pretty much does as her husband and her father in law want. She really does not appear to have a voice. But kudos to her for finding her voice when she knew her daughter was in a horrible situation. The reader is right there with Ginny and Marsha as the two women go on a journey with Ginny's six-year-old son and Lucy in tow. I really liked the character of Marsha but did take issue with the choices she made in this book.

    Entertaining and captivating. This book pulled at the heartstrings in many ways. Ginny, as I previously mentioned, did not seem to have a voice at the beginning of this book. By the end of the book, she grew a backbone and was almost a totally different woman. She still wasn't tough as nails, but she found some inner strength and stood up for herself and fought for what she thought was right. Her confidence blossomed as she advocated for her daughter. Lucy, alone and without love at Willowridge, met her mother and older brother and was able to bond with them.

    I found this book to be a fast read and enjoyed how the story is told mainly in the present time but also in the past, showing how Ginny and Ab met and fell in love. It was nice to see Ab in a different light. He is a man who loves his wife and son. It was a different time then. Was he acting on information he was given, was he embarrassed by Lucy, or was he bowing to his father's pressure? Decide for yourself.

    An enjoyable read which sucked me in and had me turning the pages. There were some situations which seemed a little implausible, but I was able to overlook them as I was enjoying the story and the epic car/road trip of the women and children. The abuse and neglect of the children is deplorable and the reader will root for Lucy and Ginny.

    Thank you to St. Martins Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • Norma * Traveling Sister * On Hiatus

    Enjoyable, unputdownable, fascinating!

    Oh my goodness! This book was so good and so beautifully written. T. Greenwood is one of my absolute favourite authors and I never hesitate in picking up one of her novels. A totally absorbing and captivating read from start to finish.

    Would recommend!

    Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press & T. Greenwood for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.

  • Kaceey

    While giving birth to her second child, Ginny quickly realizes something is very wrong. From the nurses to the doctor…averted eyes, hushed tones. Why won’t anyone let her see her daughter?

    Ginny’s husband arranges for their newborn baby Lucy to be cared for in a full time live-in school. He insists it’s be/>Last

    While giving birth to her second child, Ginny quickly realizes something is very wrong. From the nurses to the doctor…averted eyes, hushed tones. Why won’t anyone let her see her daughter?

    Ginny’s husband arranges for their newborn baby Lucy to be cared for in a full time live-in school. He insists it’s best to put Lucy behind them and move forward for the sake of their existing family. How can you do that? Certainly Ginny can’t......

    This is a story of a mother’s unbreakable love for her child. A love so boundless she’s willing to risk her own freedom to do what’s right for her daughter.

    T. Greenwood composes a beautiful and captivating story that will tug deeply on your heartstrings. There are eye opening moments that will shock you and leave you horrified at how cruelly society treated those who were born with ailments that they deemed unacceptable.

    A wonderful buddy read with Susanne that will certainly stay with us both!💜

    Thank you NetGalley, Jordan Hanley at St. Martin’s Press and T. Greenwood for this amazing book!

  • BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)

    It's 1969 and Ginny Richardson's daughter, Lucy, is born with Down Syndrome. This is a time where institutionalizing children with Down Syndrome was common and the genetic disorder was stigmatized and widely misunderstood. Lucy is taken from her mother at birth and left at Willowridge School where unbeknownst to her mother she and all the other children are living in horrific conditions, being mistreated and ill cared for. When the horrors o

    It's 1969 and Ginny Richardson's daughter, Lucy, is born with Down Syndrome. This is a time where institutionalizing children with Down Syndrome was common and the genetic disorder was stigmatized and widely misunderstood. Lucy is taken from her mother at birth and left at Willowridge School where unbeknownst to her mother she and all the other children are living in horrific conditions, being mistreated and ill cared for. When the horrors of Willowridge are exposed two years later, Ginny finally goes to see her daughter and knows she can't leave her there another minute. Soon Ginny finds herself on the run with her son, best friend and Lucy in tow.

    While I was instantly enamored with Lucy and wanted the best for her, I never completely identified with Ginny. How could she let 2 years go by without ever seeing her daughter? I simply could not fathom ever accepting something like as a mom myself.

    I expected more to be shared about Willowridge and would have really liked to see that explored fully. It could have been such an emotional yet amazing story if explored from that angle. Google articles and photos of Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, NY where Greenwood got her inspiration for this story. They will break your heart and haunt your dreams! Sadly, this story left me wanting more.

  • JanB

    I very much enjoyed Rust and Stardust, the author’s last book, so I was excited at the opportunity to read this one.

    When Ginny’s second child is born, a daughter with Down Syndrome, the baby is whisked away by her husband and sent to a residential home, Willowbrook. Ginny never laid eyes on her daughter or held her. She grieves the baby she never met but is subservient to her husband to a fault and the subject is never discussed in their household.

    Two years later the school is the subject of a

    I very much enjoyed Rust and Stardust, the author’s last book, so I was excited at the opportunity to read this one.

    When Ginny’s second child is born, a daughter with Down Syndrome, the baby is whisked away by her husband and sent to a residential home, Willowbrook. Ginny never laid eyes on her daughter or held her. She grieves the baby she never met but is subservient to her husband to a fault and the subject is never discussed in their household.

    Two years later the school is the subject of an investigative article alleging abuse and neglect. Ginny decides to go on a road trip with a friend to rescue her daughter and takes her young son with her.

    I’m sorry to say I found the writing simplistic with tired tropes and eye-rolling scenes. In addition there were several scenes that were medically inaccurate. Simple things that a quick google search could have corrected.

    Ginny was infuriatingly passive, naïve and clueless. It was 1971 people! She drove me nuts. And her companion was supposed to be her opposite, progressive and liberated. How do we know she’s such a liberated lady? She’s promiscuous, smokes, and curses a lot, including in front of the children. Oh and she’s a nurse. How’s that for a cliched stereotype? (full disclosure: I am a nurse). Reading this book was like reading a Lifetime movie, a bad one. I gave up at 75% and just didn’t care anymore. I guessed how it would end and my friend Marialyce confirmed that I was correct.

    Heartbreakingly, places like Willowbridge, the school for the mentally disabled did exist. An institution in New York, Willowbrook, was the inspiration for this story, a place Robert Kennedy called a “snake pit”. He is quoted as saying the people living in the overcrowded facility were “living in filth and dirt, their clothing in rags, in rooms less comfortable and cheerful than the cages in which we put animals in a zoo.” Thankfully, it closed in 1987 and led to legislation for people with disabilities.

    I wish the focus of this book had been on facilities like this and the treatment and prejudices that surrounded the mentally disadvantaged.

    Sadly, I can’t recommend this one. Many thanks to my friend Marialyce for buddy reading this one with me and sending me links to articles about Willowbrook.

    ** I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jaline

    I have been a fan of T. Greenwood’s writing for quite some time. I have also been disappointed once before, but never to the degree that I was disappointed in this novel.

    For me, the pacing was off completely. As I was reading, I felt like someone sat a half-dozen young women at a table with several open bottles of wine and glasses all around, then gave them an exercise to come up with ideas for a road trip – and

    I have been a fan of T. Greenwood’s writing for quite some time. I have also been disappointed once before, but never to the degree that I was disappointed in this novel.

    For me, the pacing was off completely. As I was reading, I felt like someone sat a half-dozen young women at a table with several open bottles of wine and glasses all around, then gave them an exercise to come up with ideas for a road trip – and to just write whatever came into their heads. Then, several of these ideas were scooped out of a bin and tossed into this book willy-nilly.

    I usually bond with characters (at least one or two if not all – warts and all) very quickly when I’m reading. For the first four-fifths of this novel, only the two youngest characters made me feel close to them at all. Sadly, it was mostly because I was so sorry for them: the manner in which they were treated by supposedly responsible, educated adults was appalling.

    Giving treats to settle a child out of a tantrum? Hello? That is an ideal way to train a child to have tantrums in the first place: reward them for doing so. And cramming their little faces full of greasy food, refined carbs, and sugar. Good heavens, this was the early 1970’s when everyone already knew how those foods contribute to juvenile obesity.

    Getting drunk and smoking cigarettes while pregnant? Sure, we’ll throw that in, too, just to emphasize how ignorant and ridiculous two educated women can be – one endangering herself and the unborn child, the other playing the part of the enabler.

    Am I judging too harshly? I don’t think so. None of these incidents were resolved. None of them were redeemed. So even though the last 15% of the book was good, it was definitely not great – far too many events, mistakes, and poor judgment calls were left hanging.

    The premise of this novel held such promise, and as mentioned, the ending was good. However, that is simply not enough to call it even a fair-to-middling novel. I felt tempted to award 3 Stars for the sake of nostalgia – the times when this author wrote some incredible books – and again, because the premise held such potential. However, the execution right from the very start was so juvenile and unbelievable that I can’t in all honesty bump it up past 2 Stars.

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