Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood | Book Review

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“In 1960, Billie Valentine is a young housewife living in a sleepy Massachusetts suburb, treading water in a dull marriage and caring for two adopted daughters. Summers spent with the girls at their lakeside camp in Vermont are her one escape–from her husband’s demands, from days consumed by household drudgery, and from the nagging suspicion that life was supposed to hold something different.

Then a new family moves in across the street. Ted and Eva Wilson have three children and a fourth on the way, and their arrival reignites long-buried feelings in Billie. The affair that follows offers a solace Billie has never known, until her secret is revealed and both families are wrenched apart in the tragic aftermath.

Fifty years later, Ted and Eva’s son, Johnny, contacts an elderly but still spry Billie, entreating her to return east to meet with him. Once there, Billie finally learns the surprising truth about what was lost, and what still remains, of those joyful, momentous summers.

In this deeply tender novel, T. Greenwood weaves deftly between the past and present to create a poignant and wonderfully moving story of friendship, the resonance of memories, and the love that keeps us afloat.”


What an amazing book. I have been completely engrossed by T. Greenwood’s writing the last few weeks, this being her third novel I have read in a row. Her detailed characters and ability to draw you into her scenes make her books so powerful.

Bodies of Water was such a moving story about love during a time when if it didn’t fit inside a certain box, it was forbidden. This was the love story of two women, Billie, and Eva, that started in the 1960s. This book is narrated by Billie and alternates by her in the present (when she was in her 80s) and going back in time. It was raw and heartbreaking and also just breathtakingly beautiful. The story was depicted so accurately for the times and showed both the personal and financial circumstances that altered the path of their story in such a powerful way. It covered so many issues including domestic violence, loss, friendship, alcoholism, infertility, marriage, and motherhood. I didn’t want this one to end and it is a book that will stick with me for a long time.

 

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood | Book Review

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Summary from Goodreads.com:

“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.”


Wow! After reading a few books that were just “okay” I was feeling like I was in a little bit of a reading rut during these last few weeks. I started Keeping Lucy with high hopes and it was everything I hoped it would be. It was my first book by T. Greenwood and certainly won’t be my last.

I was immediately drawn into this story and the characters. Greenwood’s storytelling was wonderful and her attention to detail made me easily picture the scenes and the amazingly well-developed characters that were based in the 1960s and early 1970s. I have been wanting to read a book that just captivated me and this one did from the start.

I felt emotionally connected to the characters and was rooting for them all in different ways. Within the very powerful main storyline (that was based on real events) were smaller ones that also were very timely and powerful in their own right. Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, the last 1960s were shockingly different in many ways and I was impressed at how Greenwood could bring me there with such vividness in her writing.

This book was filled with themes of fear, persistence, friendship, hope and the most wonderful thing of all, the power that we can all learn and change. The ending of the book all came together for me in a very satisfying way and I was sad it was over which is a sign of a book you really loved.

Thanks to NetGalley, T. Greenwood, and St. Martin’s Press for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest opinions.