Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Where you can find Keeping Lucy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

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 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.

My review

Keeping Lucy is a tale of a mother’s love and how powerful it could be. Ginny’s heart was broken when she was told that her baby had Down’s Syndrome. It was crushed even more when her powerful father in law arraigned for the newborn to be taken to Willowridge, a school for feeble-minded people. Ginny was never allowed to see Lucy and was told that she should mourn for Lucy like she was dead. Two years pass. Then Ginny’s friend Marsha shows her a series of articles that expose Willowridge as a hell on earth for its residents. Horrified at what she saw and read, Ginny, can’t leave Lucy there. After seeing the school and the conditions for herself, Ginny is determined never to bring her back. But her actions have consequences that soon have her and Marsha racing towards Florida with the children. What will happen to Lucy? To Ginny?

Keeping Lucy was a hard book for me to read. As a mother, I couldn’t even begin to fathom what Ginny went through in the 2 years after Lucy was taken from her. I don’t know how she could live with her husband after he forced that decision on her. But, then again, this was the late 60’s/early ’70s. Men still made the decisions, and women’s feelings were not thought about.

Ginny’s character development through the book was terrific. She went from being this meek, compliant housewife to a person who stood her ground when threatened. I loved it. She became an enraged mama bear protecting her cub. The ultimatum that she threw down to Ab was epic. Even better was what she said to her overbearing, control freak of a father in law.

I didn’t care for Ab. He let his father rule his life. In doing so, he allowed his daughter to be placed in a “school” with deplorable living conditions. He did love Ginny and Peyton. I also understood where he was coming from when he made the decision to send Lucy away. But, it was everything after the fact that made me go “WTF.

Lucy was the innocent victim in all this. I shared Ginny’s horror when she saw (and smelled) the conditions of that “school.” The scene when Ginny first changed Lucy’s diaper broke my heart. How long did she sit in that diaper for the rash to get that bad?? There are other examples of the severe neglect that she endured, but I won’t go into them.

I didn’t like Ab’s father. He was a controlling jerk. I don’t understand why he thought that he could separate a mother from her child. I don’t understand why he thought that bullying his son into complying was alright. I do believe that he was one of those rich people who thought money and connections solved everything. He was a jerk and deserved a knee to the crotch.

Click N Play 18 Piece Beach Sand Toy Set

The main plotline, Ginny going on the run with the kids, was well written. It did get off to a slow start, but it gained steam. By the time everyone reached Florida, it was flowing nicely. I could taste her desperation. I could feel her horror and fear. But, more importantly, I saw the fierce love that she had for her children. She was willing to do whatever it took to prevent Lucy from going back to that hellhole.

The end of Keeping Lucy was different. All I have to say about it is that I am happy with how things ended up.

I would give Keeping Lucy an Adult rating. There are sexual references but sex is not described outright. There is mild language. There is mild violence. There are triggers. They would be extreme child neglect. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.


I would reread Keeping Lucy. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the publishers, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Keeping Lucy.

All opinions stated in this review of Keeping Lucy are mine.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Rust & Stardust

5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 7th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Trigger Warning: Kidnapping, sexual abuse, physical abuse

Where you can find Rust & Stardust: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Camden, NJ, 1948.

When 11-year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52-year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says. 

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San José, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

My Review:

As I stated in another review, I do not like historical fiction. It bores me. It takes a well-written book in that genre to captivate me. That is exactly what Rust & Stardust did. Captivated me. I couldn’t put this book down. I had to read what was going to happen to Sally. I needed to know if she was ever reunited with her mother. I needed to know what was going to happen to Frank.

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What I wasn’t expecting, when I started reading this book, was the connection it had to Lolita. The author explains it in the author’s note at the end of the book. That was something that made me go “Hmmmm” when I read it. Without this awful kidnapping, that book wouldn’t have happened. It would have been burned.

The plot of Rust & Stardust was rather easy to follow. Sally was caught stealing a notebook from Woolworth’s as part of a dare from a group of girls she wanted to be friends with. Frank sees her, tells her that he is with the FBI and she will go to jail if she doesn’t do what he says. Within the next few days, Sally is on a train to Atlantic City with Frank. She convinced her mother that Frank was her friend’s father and he was taken her to the shore to meet up with her. When Sally isn’t home by the time Frank said she would be, Sally’s mother becomes concerned. Then frightened when the police tell her that Frank is a bad man (read the book to find out how bad). Sally is moved across the country. She is beaten and raped. She is under Frank’s control. Until she meets Ruth. But can Ruth help Sally escape Frank? Will Sally go home?

Rust & Stardust was told from 12 different POV’s. Yes, 12 different POV’s. I usually can’t handle more than 2 before I start getting confused. But, in this case, it worked. I was able to go between POV’s fine and wasn’t lost. What I didn’t like is that some POV’s were only once. Then they were dropped from the story. But those POV’s added more insight to what Sally was going through in the book.

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I felt awful for Sally during the book. She went through hell with Frank. I wish that she had been rescued earlier in the book but it wouldn’t have matched up with real-life events. She did have an inner strength that was showcased throughout the book. No matter what Frank did to her, she was able to keep a small bit of what she used to be alive.

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I could not believe that Sally’s mother went with her to the bus terminal and let her get on the bus with Frank. I know that the world was different back then. There was no stranger danger. People like Frank existed but were never given much thought. Still, as a mother of a 12-year-old, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t pick up that something was wrong. That Sally didn’t want to go with him. I also thought the way she treated Sally after she came home was awful. I had zero sympathy for her.

The author did a great job of covering the abuse scenes. She gave enough detail at what was happening but didn’t get graphic. The rape scenes were tastefully written. Still shocking and left me in tears but tastefully written.

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I was not expecting what happened at the end of the book. I truly wasn’t. It threw me for a loop. In the last scene (not with Ruth but before that), I was praying that what happened was to someone else. I put my Kindle down and cried when I realized who it was. Very sad.

What I like about Rust & Stardust:

A) Captivating story

B) The tie to Lolita (which I didn’t know)

C) Sally’s strength

What I disliked about Rust & Stardust:

A) Frank.

B) Sally’s mother. I had no sympathy for her

C) The end of the book.

I would give Rust & Stardust an Adult rating. There is sex but it is not graphic. There is mild violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read Rust & Stardust.

There are trigger warnings for Rust & Stardust. They are kidnapping, sexual abuse, physical abuse. If you are triggered by any of these, I suggest not to read the book.

I would reread Rust & Stardust. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Rust & Stardust.

All opinions stated in this review of Rust & Stardust are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**