A Mother’s Promise, a review by Di

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A Mother’s Promise
KD Alden
Published on January 19,2021 by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading A Mother’s Promise. Such a compelling read!

It is about a very dark period in the 1920’s when a young girl, Ruth Ann, was sent to The Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded. Ruth Ann had the misfortune of being pregnant (as a result of rape) and as a young, unmarried girl this caused her to be sent to this “home”.

Ruth Ann was judged as having very little mental capacity or moral fiber. And, because of this, she was scheduled to be sterilized in order to not reproduce any offspring of similar “flawed genetics.” The hardships and abuse of the residents in this home is very hard to read about. Ruth Ann is adept at letting her mind escape during the abuse. But when her sterilization procedure is scheduled, she shows the reader how smart and resourceful she can be.

Even at her young age she understands that it simply is not right that she be sterilized against her will. I love Ruth Ann… so much intelligence even though she only got to grade 6. She is resilient, loving, vulnerable, imaginative and diligent. I think she is one of my favourite characters I have ever encountered in a book.

The book is both character and plot driven, a combination I love. So many unique characters besides Ruth Ann. Good characters and bad ones. The plot is horrifying and interesting at the same time. The story is loosely based on the case Buck vs Bell. The author did extensive research on the case and changed a few things to suit Ruth Ann and the story better. The changes are explained at the end of the book, as is the case Buck vs Bell.

The use of a basket full of laundry to rate this book will become evident if once the book is read. Thank you to NetGalley and the author for providing me with an Advance Readers Copy.

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