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Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and strength at a pivotal point in America’s history. Virginia, 1927. A chance to have a family. That’s all Ruth Ann Riley wants. But because she was unwed and pregnant, she was sent away and her baby given to another woman. Now they’re Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and strength at a pivotal point in America’s history. Virginia, 1927. A chance to have a family. That’s all Ruth Ann Riley wants. But because she was unwed and pregnant, she was sent away and her baby given to another woman. Now they’re trying to take Ruth Ann’s right to have another child. But she can’t stand the thought of never seeing little Annabel’s face again, never snuggling up to her warmth or watching her blue eyes crinkle with laughter. Good thing she has a plan. All the rich and fancy folks may call her feeble-minded, but Ruth Ann is smarter than any of them have bargained for. Because no matter how high the odds are stacked against her, she is going to overcome the scandals in her past and get her child back—and along the way, she just may find unexpected friendships and the possibility of love in the most unlikely of places.


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Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and strength at a pivotal point in America’s history. Virginia, 1927. A chance to have a family. That’s all Ruth Ann Riley wants. But because she was unwed and pregnant, she was sent away and her baby given to another woman. Now they’re Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and strength at a pivotal point in America’s history. Virginia, 1927. A chance to have a family. That’s all Ruth Ann Riley wants. But because she was unwed and pregnant, she was sent away and her baby given to another woman. Now they’re trying to take Ruth Ann’s right to have another child. But she can’t stand the thought of never seeing little Annabel’s face again, never snuggling up to her warmth or watching her blue eyes crinkle with laughter. Good thing she has a plan. All the rich and fancy folks may call her feeble-minded, but Ruth Ann is smarter than any of them have bargained for. Because no matter how high the odds are stacked against her, she is going to overcome the scandals in her past and get her child back—and along the way, she just may find unexpected friendships and the possibility of love in the most unlikely of places.

30 review for A Mother's Promise

  1. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    Did you know that the 1927 US Supreme Court Buck vs. Bell decision, which legitimized eugenic sterilization laws in the United States, has never been overturned?! This is a ruling that not only led to approx. 70,000 forced sterilizations in America but also created a model that was implemented by the Third Reich. What a shocking and shameful legacy for our country. Carrie Buck was a teen girl sent to live in the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded after a series of devastatin Did you know that the 1927 US Supreme Court Buck vs. Bell decision, which legitimized eugenic sterilization laws in the United States, has never been overturned?! This is a ruling that not only led to approx. 70,000 forced sterilizations in America but also created a model that was implemented by the Third Reich. What a shocking and shameful legacy for our country. Carrie Buck was a teen girl sent to live in the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded after a series of devastating events beyond her control. Author K.D. Alden has taken her life as inspiration and fictionalized it in “A Mother’s Promise.” The story begins shortly after Ruth Ann Riley (as Buck is renamed in the novel) has a baby that the Colony takes away from her and places with a foster family. The superintendent, Dr. Price, informs Ruth Ann that he will soon be performing an operation on her so she can’t have more children. He deems her feebleminded, her mother is also institutionalized as a lunatic, and her baby is already labeled as being not right. His argument is that three generations of imbecilic dependents is enough of a burden on the state. She, and others like her, must not breed. But Ruth Ann is a fighter, and she resists this non consensual sterilization all the way to court. She wants a family one day. She wants the daughter that was taken from her. She wants to live a normal life beyond the walls of the Colony. I believe K.D. Alden is the pseudonym of an author who has previously written across various genres, and her experience shows. The time period and setting are vivid, the pacing never lags, and the characterization is spectacular. In fact, Ruth Ann is my favorite kind of character - a gutsy girl whose spirit is infectious. Fans of Diane Chamberlain’s “Necessary Lies” will likely adore this book, as will anyone looking for those diamond-in-the-rough 20th century historical fiction novels not set during WWII. The final pages include a Reading Group Guide with a brief history on Buck vs. Bell , discussion questions, and the actual Supreme Court opinion written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. My sincere thanks go to the author and Forever/Grand Central Publishing for my gifted copy. "A Mother's Promise" is now available.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    I loved A Mother’s Promise. My only problem with it was that I didn’t want to put it down. A Mother’s Promise is emotional and thought provoking. Reading about what Ruth Ann is going through because she is labeled as “feebleminded” is heartbreaking. As the story goes on the reader finds out Ruth Ann is more intelligent than anyone gives her credit. Ruth makes friends along the way. Ruth Ann doesn’t give up even when everyone tells her to. She is always looking for a solution. Clarence is a great I loved A Mother’s Promise. My only problem with it was that I didn’t want to put it down. A Mother’s Promise is emotional and thought provoking. Reading about what Ruth Ann is going through because she is labeled as “feebleminded” is heartbreaking. As the story goes on the reader finds out Ruth Ann is more intelligent than anyone gives her credit. Ruth makes friends along the way. Ruth Ann doesn’t give up even when everyone tells her to. She is always looking for a solution. Clarence is a great friend to Ruth Ann. He will do anything for her without worrying about the consequences. Glory is a kind person that is trying to be there and help Ruth Ann from the moment they meet. Glory and Ruth Ann both are lonely so I enjoyed watching their friendship develop. A Mother’s Promise is about a difficult concept that seems crazy now but was normal in the past. I had so much empathy for Ruth Ann and all of the characters in A Mother’s Promise. Alden did a great job developing realistic characters with flaws but don’t give up or lose hope. I highly recommend A Mother’s Promise. Thank you Forever Publishing and NetGalley for A Mother’s Promise. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  3. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    A Mother’s Promise is a heart-wrenching tale based on a true court case of Buck v. Bell. It is unbelievable that such an archaic law is still in existence today. Though the names and circumstances have been changed for dramatic effect, the story of Carrie Buck resonates in the novel’s character of Ruth Ann Riley. Unwed, pregnant and considered mentally challenged by society, Ruth Ann is sentenced to the Colony — an institution for the epileptics and feebleminded. While there, Ruth Ann gives birth A Mother’s Promise is a heart-wrenching tale based on a true court case of Buck v. Bell. It is unbelievable that such an archaic law is still in existence today. Though the names and circumstances have been changed for dramatic effect, the story of Carrie Buck resonates in the novel’s character of Ruth Ann Riley. Unwed, pregnant and considered mentally challenged by society, Ruth Ann is sentenced to the Colony — an institution for the epileptics and feebleminded. While there, Ruth Ann gives birth to a healthy baby girl and named her Annabel. But no sooner after the birth, little Annabel is taken away and sent to be raised at a foster family. Desperate, Ruth Ann attempts everything in her power to get little Annabel back. Even if it means jeopardizing her own well being. I won’t go into detail about the characters in this novel because that would spoil the story. However, I will say that my emotions surrounding all of the characters ran the gamut of empathy to anger. I loved some characters and hated others. Ms. Alden’s writing style really kept me engaged from the get-go. She managed to capture the essence of that tumultuous time period in America when eugenics played a major role in the sterilization of innocent American citizens. And I was surprised to learn a lot of the history of that time. A Mother’s Promise is a must read. If anything, this was one historical fiction novel not to be missed. It will be remembered and will not be forgotten. Five stars. I received a paperback copy of the book from Forever (GCP). The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I really enjoyed this powerful story. I enjoy historical fiction from time to time and was intrigued by the fact that this story was based on a true story. The fact that these events occurred less than one hundred years ago is almost shocking because everything about this story seems unreasonable and unfair. My heart ached for the things that Ruth Ann and the rest of the characters went through over the course of this story. I am so This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I really enjoyed this powerful story. I enjoy historical fiction from time to time and was intrigued by the fact that this story was based on a true story. The fact that these events occurred less than one hundred years ago is almost shocking because everything about this story seems unreasonable and unfair. My heart ached for the things that Ruth Ann and the rest of the characters went through over the course of this story. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a try. This book tells Ruth Ann's story, along with the other residents of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Ruth Ann was set to the institution after becoming pregnant as an unwed teen. Her mother is also at the institution but in a more secured area. Ruth Ann's baby, Annabel, was taken from her at birth and given to someone else to raise. Ruth Ann spends her days doing hard labor, often laundry, with some of the other residents and is punished quite severely if things go wrong. Ruth Ann wants nothing more than to raise her baby but nobody seems to want to see that happen. Instead, Ruth Ann is informed that she needs to have an operation that will make it so that she will never be able to have more children. So many things made me angry about the things that happened to Ruth Ann. She is quite intelligent but is constantly told that she is feebleminded. Her real crime is that she was born poor and had to leave school after sixth grade to work. I hated the fact that the few men in power were making decisions about who was worthy of having children and often didn't even tell the patient the real reason for the surgery that they were having. Even the court cases seemed less about standing up for the individual's rights and giving Ruth Ann a voice than I had hoped to see. Ruth Ann was a fantastic character. She was smart and resilient. She has been through a lot in her life but doesn't stop trying to do the best she can given her circumstances. She looks out for the younger girls and doesn't rock the boat all too often. There were a lot of great characters at the institution. Clarence was wonderful from the start and I liked him more and more as the book progressed. There were several other girls that were close to Ruth Ann and I thought that their stories added a lot to the book. I believe that this is the first time that I have listened to Bethany Anne Lind's narration and I thought that she did a fantastic job with this book. I thought that her voice was perfect for Ruth Ann and she really brought her character to life. The other voices that she used were equally well done. I thought that she added a lot of emotion to the story which added to my overall enjoyment of the book. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. This was a very powerful story and I really appreciated the fact that she included some information about the actual case this book was based on at the end of the book. The book was based on the case Buck vs. Bell which was decided in 1927. Carrie Buck somehow became the person behind the case that has allowed countless forced sterilizations in the years since her case. In my opinion, what was done to Carrie was wrong as is every other instance of forced sterilization. It is hard to believe that to this date this case has yet to be overturned. K.D. Alden did a fabulous job with this book and I hope to read more of her work in the future. I received a copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    I am amazed that this is a debut novel, then again the subject matter is based on a true story and Ms. Alden tells Ruthie's story with heart. This was such a poignant and engrossing tale of a mothers love and the dreams we hold dear to our hearts. I love how Ruthie learns about herself along the way and has such a profound sense of self and self worth. K.D. Alden is a master story teller and it was impossible not to get swept up in this beautifully told tale. My heart was broken for I am amazed that this is a debut novel, then again the subject matter is based on a true story and Ms. Alden tells Ruthie's story with heart. This was such a poignant and engrossing tale of a mothers love and the dreams we hold dear to our hearts. I love how Ruthie learns about herself along the way and has such a profound sense of self and self worth. K.D. Alden is a master story teller and it was impossible not to get swept up in this beautifully told tale. My heart was broken for Ruthie and ALL the women who had to go thru the procedure. I definitely recommend reading this book. It was brilliantly written, it’s a book you want to savour. This book weighs on your mind and your soul. The author is a whiz with words. I was living this with these children/women and because of the feelings this book evoked in me it deserves all the stars. Disclosure: Thank you NetGalley, K.D. Alden and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own. #AMothersPromise #NetGalley A special thank you to my GoodReads friend Di and her wonderful review for bringing my attention to this excellent book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Heartwrenching, insightful, and incredibly absorbing! A Mother’s Promise is a poignant, compelling tale that sweeps you away to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded during 1927 and delves into the daily lives, anxiety and true horrors experienced by those young women and men deemed unfit to procreate and thus denied parental rights of any children they may already have had and in turn also forcibly sterilized. The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are genuine, s Heartwrenching, insightful, and incredibly absorbing! A Mother’s Promise is a poignant, compelling tale that sweeps you away to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded during 1927 and delves into the daily lives, anxiety and true horrors experienced by those young women and men deemed unfit to procreate and thus denied parental rights of any children they may already have had and in turn also forcibly sterilized. The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are genuine, sympathetic, vulnerable, and lovable. And the plot is a beautifully written, poignant tale about life, loss, love, heartbreak, courage, hope, manipulation, power, corruption, ethics, morality, motherhood, and the unconscionable theory of eugenics. Overall, A Mother’s Promise is an emotional, heartbreaking, masterfully woven tale by Alden that immerses you so thoroughly into the lives, feelings, and personalities of the characters you never want it to end. It is without a doubt going to be one of my favourite novels of the year and it really shouldn’t be missed. Thank you to Forever and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I love books based on fact. This one is based on a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision. In the 1920's Virginia a young woman Ruth Ann Riley, a victim of rape is forced into an institutional because of poverty and her subsequent pregnancy. Poverty was a big issue back then and still continues to be. Those living in poverty were wards of the state in this case wards of the state of Virginia . Living in an institution means the women are labeled feeble minded and have no say in their lives. Reading th I love books based on fact. This one is based on a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision. In the 1920's Virginia a young woman Ruth Ann Riley, a victim of rape is forced into an institutional because of poverty and her subsequent pregnancy. Poverty was a big issue back then and still continues to be. Those living in poverty were wards of the state in this case wards of the state of Virginia . Living in an institution means the women are labeled feeble minded and have no say in their lives. Reading this book prepare yourself to feel sad and appalled at the treatment of these women. Ruth Ann is a woman who despite all the odds stacked against her in life she is determined for the sake of her daughter to never give up her fight. This book moved me to tears! I am definitely looking this case up to learn more about it. Pub Date: 19 Jan 2021 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    A heartbreaking yet utterly inspiring tale, based on a true story in which one unwed woman gives birth, is institutionalized, and has her baby taken away. Her fight to gain her freedom and her child goes all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. This preview was so compelling that I MUST read the whole book now! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 19 Jan 2021 #AMothersPromise #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Forever (Grand Central Publishing), and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Zavala

    A Mother's Promise is Historical Fiction based upon the 1927 Supreme Court decision of Buck v. Bell. In Buck v. Bell the Court ruled that a state statute permitting compulsory sterilization of the unfit, including the intellectually disabled. In A Mother's Promise, Ruth Ann Riley lives in an institution after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Her child was put up for an adoption, yet she stayed at the institution because her mother was also institutionalized. When Dr. Price tells Ruth Ann that A Mother's Promise is Historical Fiction based upon the 1927 Supreme Court decision of Buck v. Bell. In Buck v. Bell the Court ruled that a state statute permitting compulsory sterilization of the unfit, including the intellectually disabled. In A Mother's Promise, Ruth Ann Riley lives in an institution after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Her child was put up for an adoption, yet she stayed at the institution because her mother was also institutionalized. When Dr. Price tells Ruth Ann that he is going to do an operation on her so that she cannot have anymore children, she is terrified. Dr. Price proceeds to tell her that she is feebleminded and immoral even when the evidence points to the contrary. Dr. Price then concocts a plan to have Ruth Ann's surgery taken to the local courts and appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. I found myself rooting for Ruth Ann and her fellow inmates, I mean residents 🙄. A Mother's Promise is a quick read with heavy topics. One of the best things about reading historical fiction is the opportunity to learn. This book sent me down a rabbit hole of researching after finishing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “A Mother’s Promise” is such a beautiful and emotional novel to read inspired by real events. I have never heard of Buck vs. Bell until I read this story. I appreciate the author for opening my eyes to this and was shocked to learn that it still exists. Also, I admire the author for realistically telling the story that coincides with what might have happened in reality. Ruth Ann is a beautiful protagonist who is a victim of hor [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “A Mother’s Promise” is such a beautiful and emotional novel to read inspired by real events. I have never heard of Buck vs. Bell until I read this story. I appreciate the author for opening my eyes to this and was shocked to learn that it still exists. Also, I admire the author for realistically telling the story that coincides with what might have happened in reality. Ruth Ann is a beautiful protagonist who is a victim of horrible circumstances. While she tries her best to fight the system, unfortunately, she does not have much power. You root for her throughout the story because she is smart, patient, and willing to trust people. I can only imagine what Carrie Buck would have gone through in reality. I loved how the author wrote Ruth Ann and Clarence. Clarence is a charming character with who you would immediately fall in love. He treats everything with kindness, even though life has been cruel to him. I loved the scenes where Ruth Ann teaches him to read. Similarly, Sheila, Glory, and even sweet Ruby, the supporting characters, all added well to the plot. Likewise, Block and Dr. Price are characters you despise, and the author wrote them all very creatively. Also, the author has a beautiful style of writing the story. It is simple and easy to follow, and there is never a dull moment. I loved the scenes where Sheila charges at Mother Jenkins or the way Ruth Ann and Glory bond over missing their children. The author makes you fall in love with the main characters and makes you ponder over the system’s injustice after finishing the book. Overall, “A Mother’s Promise” is a beautiful tale that I recommend everyone to read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Curran

    A Mother’s Promise by KD Alden Virginia 1927: Ruth Ann Riley wants the chance to live a normal life and have a family. Because Ruth Ann is is poor and unwed when she became pregnant, she was sent to an institution and her baby was given away. They also want to take away her ability to have anymore children and labeled her as feebleminded . Ruth Ann fights tooth and nail for what she believes in. She will not let them operate on her and she will not stop until she gets her baby back. Ruth Ann neve A Mother’s Promise by KD Alden Virginia 1927: Ruth Ann Riley wants the chance to live a normal life and have a family. Because Ruth Ann is is poor and unwed when she became pregnant, she was sent to an institution and her baby was given away. They also want to take away her ability to have anymore children and labeled her as feebleminded . Ruth Ann fights tooth and nail for what she believes in. She will not let them operate on her and she will not stop until she gets her baby back. Ruth Ann never expects her battle to end up in the US Supreme Court or that she would learn so much along the way. This was such a great story! This story is based on the landmark court case Buck V. Bell, which I knew nothing about. I love finding out the author’s motivation for a story and reading stories based on real life events. The story gripped me from page one and was hard to put down. I loved Ruth Ann and entire cast of characters. This story was full of hope, courage, heartbreak and perseverance. I highly recommend this one to historical fiction lovers! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    This is a story that came about from a true happening, and when you finish this page turner story, be sure to read the author’s notes! The horrors perpetrated in this story are true, and as you read in the book description it is based on a real Supreme Court Case. Your heart will break for Ruth Ann, how wrong and small minded this doctor and lawyer are, and the victim’s can do nothing to stop what happens to them. This is a book that is going to linger and one you will be taking about, so much inju This is a story that came about from a true happening, and when you finish this page turner story, be sure to read the author’s notes! The horrors perpetrated in this story are true, and as you read in the book description it is based on a real Supreme Court Case. Your heart will break for Ruth Ann, how wrong and small minded this doctor and lawyer are, and the victim’s can do nothing to stop what happens to them. This is a book that is going to linger and one you will be taking about, so much injustice and power, but be aware this law is still on the books and it is perfectly legal. I loved that we are given epilogue, and we continue with Ruth Ann’s life and how this story played out! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Forever, and was not required to give a positive review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Di

    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 fibre. And, because of this, she was schedule 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 fibre. 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. Thank you to NetGalley and the author for providing me with an Advance Readers Copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Fight for my child, fight for my life I could not believe, as I was reading this book, that anyone could put someone in an institution simply for being an unwed mother. It was even worse in Ruth Ann's case because she had been raped against her will and by the nephew of the family that took her in and raised her when she was taken from her mother. The family did not believe her story and sent her to the institution. She soon found other girls were there for the same reason. I find it very wrong th Fight for my child, fight for my life I could not believe, as I was reading this book, that anyone could put someone in an institution simply for being an unwed mother. It was even worse in Ruth Ann's case because she had been raped against her will and by the nephew of the family that took her in and raised her when she was taken from her mother. The family did not believe her story and sent her to the institution. She soon found other girls were there for the same reason. I find it very wrong that young women were sterilized against their will so they could never have more children. The women were labeled feeble minded and a drain on society. Ruth Ann never was allowed to speak up for herself at any court hearings. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and the doctors were given the right to sterilize the feeble minded. The problem being the doctors made the determination on who was feeble minded. I liked the story and the characters. Ruth Ann showed great courage. Clarence and Glory her best friends, Bonnie her sister and the baby, Annabelle, that they took from her at birth. She fought to keep her body intact and to see the child they took from her. The story was sad, the ending was good. The author did a good job of portraying conditions of the institution and feelings and emotions of the characters. When I read at the end of the book that it had actually been based on a true court case of a girl at the institution it gave the story even more meaning. I think this story is one that needs to be read and we need to think about it for a while. I would recommend it. Thanks to K.D. Alden. forever(Grand Central Publishing), and NetGalley for allowing me to read an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    “There were all kinds of promises in the world. Some were false. Some were made in earnest, but easily betrayed. Some were awkwardly, imperfectly fulfilled. But the promise made by a mother to love her child…the promise that began in utero, via the umbilical cord that linked them…that promise could never be broken.” – p. 358 A Mother’s Promise provides a glaring look at the state of Virginia during the life altering Supreme Court case Buck v Bell (although given the fictitious nature of the book “There were all kinds of promises in the world. Some were false. Some were made in earnest, but easily betrayed. Some were awkwardly, imperfectly fulfilled. But the promise made by a mother to love her child…the promise that began in utero, via the umbilical cord that linked them…that promise could never be broken.” – p. 358 A Mother’s Promise provides a glaring look at the state of Virginia during the life altering Supreme Court case Buck v Bell (although given the fictitious nature of the book it is titled Riley v Price within). This case dealt with eugenics, or forced sterilization, which provided precedence for Nazi Germany’s sterilization of Jews. Buck v Bell remains law to this day, and continues to support forced sterilization, including the sterilization of 150 inmates since 2006. Author K.D. Alden creates the loosely based “Colony” where her characters reside, based on real events from the time period in which the book is set. Ruth Ann and her mother both live within its walls, where they are deemed imbeciles and mentally unfit. Ruth Ann, arriving pregnant, immediately has her daughter taken away and given to a more “appropriate” family. Regardless of her hardships, Ruth Ann creates a life for herself at the Colony and readers quickly connect with her and the friends she’s made. While little time is spent on the actual trial and case, the foundation of A Mother’s Promise comes together through Ruth Ann’s narrative. Alden’s skilled pen sheds a harsh light on Ruth Ann’s legal defense and creates brilliant character development that makes readers feel empathy for even the most vile characters within. Successfully navigating a black stain on American history, Alden enlightens readers while crafting an engaging, sad and intricate story. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Urban

    A Mother's Promise by K.D. Alden is a heartbreaking historical read. The story is based off a true story but varies from the true version. The writer wanted a happier ending than what the original woman experienced. The tale none the less is sad, terrifying, and realistic. I found myself rooting for the young girl turned grown woman who faced every obstacle life gave her. From her father's passing to her mother's way of life, to being targeted by society as property versus a human being. Once yo A Mother's Promise by K.D. Alden is a heartbreaking historical read. The story is based off a true story but varies from the true version. The writer wanted a happier ending than what the original woman experienced. The tale none the less is sad, terrifying, and realistic. I found myself rooting for the young girl turned grown woman who faced every obstacle life gave her. From her father's passing to her mother's way of life, to being targeted by society as property versus a human being. Once you are deemed in the state's hands, you become property of the state. The state in this tale and in the real one won. The targeted individuals involved never won over the grief and terrible mishandling by the state. Women who were poor and uneducated were deemed a problem of the state. The state took in the women and saw to their well-being. However, they went to the extreme in these cases. They took away the simple rights of these uneducated and poorer folk. I was just as angry and sad as the protagonists in this book. I wanted to fight the doctor, lawyers, and state that did what the did to these poor women and some men. Overall, this novel was well-written and so believable. I became heavily invested and was shocked that the true version of this tale was worse. This was my first read by K.D. Alden and I look forward to reading more books by her in the future. A Mother's Promise just became a new classic that all readers should have on their shelves. I received this copy from the publisher. This is my voluntary review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Ruth Ann is living at The Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded in Virginia as the novel opens. She is treated as if she was feeble minded but the main reason she was there was because she was seen as an impure woman. She had been raped and was sent to the home when she got pregnant. Her mother is also a patient there. The women are treated terribly - they are forced to work all day and frequently beaten by the woman in charge. Ruth Ann's main goal is to find her baby that was taken Ruth Ann is living at The Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded in Virginia as the novel opens. She is treated as if she was feeble minded but the main reason she was there was because she was seen as an impure woman. She had been raped and was sent to the home when she got pregnant. Her mother is also a patient there. The women are treated terribly - they are forced to work all day and frequently beaten by the woman in charge. Ruth Ann's main goal is to find her baby that was taken away from her at birth and given to a couple. She plans an escape with the help of Clarence who is also at the home due to the fact that he was born with only one hand. She ends up back at the home after her failed escape and finds out that the doctor plans to sterilize her so that she can't have more children. The scientific belief at the time was eugenics. Many doctors believed that if the feeble minded and less desirable people were sterilized, that would limit the feeble minded in the next generation because of the belief that people who were not bright, would have children with the same problem. Dr. Price is performing this operation on many of the young girls at the home and Ruth Ann is the first one to really fight him on the issue. He hires a friend who is a lawyer to defend Ruth Ann so that he can get more publicity and agreement from the state that eugenics is the proper treatment for undesirable people. Ruth Ann is a fighter and much more intelligent that she is given credit for. Her goal in life is to live in the outside world and raise her baby. Will this case going to trial help her or will it uphold the practices of Dr. Price? Ruth Ann is a well written and very likable character. Even though she is labeled as feeble minded, she is much more intelligent than many of the people around her. Her fight to stop her sterilization had me rooting for her all the way to the Supreme Court. This fantastic book was based on a true story about the legality of forced sterilization on people who were believed to be undesirable. Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chelsie

    Ruth Ann Riley was taken advantage of and had a child out of wedlock in 1927. That was unacceptable at that time, and she was to blame for the predicaments she got herself into. Because of her situation, her child was taken from her and she was put into a home for epileptics and the feebleminded. The same place her mother currently is also. She is looked at as if she has no say, no rights and has no education. Dr. Price tells Ruth Ann that she is going to be having an operation, but it will not h Ruth Ann Riley was taken advantage of and had a child out of wedlock in 1927. That was unacceptable at that time, and she was to blame for the predicaments she got herself into. Because of her situation, her child was taken from her and she was put into a home for epileptics and the feebleminded. The same place her mother currently is also. She is looked at as if she has no say, no rights and has no education. Dr. Price tells Ruth Ann that she is going to be having an operation, but it will not hurt and it is for her best interest. Other’s have also gotten this procedure done and they have healed and are now fine. What is this procedure, she wants to know. Although Dr. Price acts as though she will not understand, he tells her she is to get her tubes tied. She does not need to have any more children because of her family history and the state does not want her to cause more burden and costs on them by having more. One was already one too many in their eyes. Ruth Ann understands all too well what that means. She may not understand all of the medical terms he used, but how can he make such a decision on her behalf. Isn’t it her choice if she wants to have more children, and if he takes that from her she will never find a man to marry as she could not give him sires. She decides to escape for two reasons. One is to attempt to get her baby back and second, she is not about to let anyone cut into her and take away her being able to have any more children. That is not right. She gets herself into a situation and asks the last person she thought she would for help with Dr. Price. That person does help her get a lawyer to plead her case and for now Dr. Price is not allowed to do any operation on her. Although Ruth Ann sees others he is operating on instead, and they are in pain, sore, sick and told they had to have an appendectomy done. They really do not understand the truth of what happened to them. Ruth Ann’s case make it all the way to the Supreme Court but not with any help from the sleazy lawyer that took her case, pro bono and for the wrong reason. This story just flowed and I could not read fast enough. I cannot believe that this is based on a true story and the ultimate outcome that came out of it all, and that it still stands to this day! I loved that the author included details in the back as to what was true and what was fiction, and also information on the actual case this is based on. Thank you to Forever Publishing for the free novel and to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the invite!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angel wells

    I won a copy from Goodreads... This is a powerful book that had me heart broken for Ruth Ann, Clarence and all the girls at the Colony. An emotional, gripping book that I highly recommend!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    “There were all kinds of promises in the world. Some were false. Some were made in earnest, but easily betrayed. Some were awkwardly, imperfectly fulfilled. But the promise made by a mother to love a child… The promises began in utero, via the umbilical cord the link to them… That promise could never be broken.” K. D. Alden’s A Mother’s Promise centers around three generations of women who do everything in their power to fulfill their promises despite the policies, privilege, and people in their “There were all kinds of promises in the world. Some were false. Some were made in earnest, but easily betrayed. Some were awkwardly, imperfectly fulfilled. But the promise made by a mother to love a child… The promises began in utero, via the umbilical cord the link to them… That promise could never be broken.” K. D. Alden’s A Mother’s Promise centers around three generations of women who do everything in their power to fulfill their promises despite the policies, privilege, and people in their path. They have all been relegated as wards of the State at the Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded. Ruth Ann is condemned for her indiscretion, her daughter is cast out for her illegitimacy and her mother is committed for her immorality. “Let me tell you something: any and every woman alive is ‘like that,’ if it comes down to feeding her kids or not. Yes, even you. A good, God-fearing preacher’s wife is like that, if her husband is dead and her children is hungry and crying.” Enchanted by the notion of eugenics, “the science of good breeding,” the board of directors at the Colony are determined to coerce all of their wards to undergo sterilization--for the good of society. When Ruth Ann refuses to comply, the doctor presents her with a bribe: she can trade her fertility for the possibility “to fulfill the promise she’d made to her daughter--that she herself would raise her.” A Mother’s Choice is based on the tragic life of Carrie Buck and her true legal case, Buck v. Bell, interrogates both how we perceive intelligence and gender, and challenges us to see the humanity in all those we encounter. “What makes a woman a woman? Having babies...there’s a lot more to a woman than that, don’t you? Take you, for instance, Ruthie. You’ll always be everything it means to be a woman, whether you have more babies or not. You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You’re kind. You’re one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. You’re a good friend, a good daughter, a good sister…I know it because I see you, Ruthie. I see exactly who you are, right down to the core. I see your hopes and dreams and frustrations and temper. I see your tenderness and loyalty, your laughter and your love. And I also see when the hurt gets too much and hardens into hate for those who done you wrong. I see you.” Bell v. Buck led to the Immigration Act of 1924, which resulted in the sterilization of approximately 70,000 innocent Americans citizens and inspired the Nazi sterilization of over 375,000 Europeans and Jews. Most shocking of all, Buck v. Bell is still the law of the land, and “from 2006 to 2010, 150 inmates of California prisons were sterilized.” A Mother’s Promise compels every reader to make their own vow to end this atrocity now!

  21. 4 out of 5

    JoAnne

    Read my review on NovelsAlive.com by clicking on the link below. It is also posted in full. https://novelsalive.com/2021/02/23/5-... K.D. Alden is the pseudonym of a well-known but unnamed author. This is her first historical novel and it was an emotional read. Based on a true story whose case made its way to the Supreme Court it was heartwrenching in its telling but had a few moments of compassion. The story begins in Virginia in 1927 but we learn about some of what takes place before then. The s Read my review on NovelsAlive.com by clicking on the link below. It is also posted in full. https://novelsalive.com/2021/02/23/5-... K.D. Alden is the pseudonym of a well-known but unnamed author. This is her first historical novel and it was an emotional read. Based on a true story whose case made its way to the Supreme Court it was heartwrenching in its telling but had a few moments of compassion. The story begins in Virginia in 1927 but we learn about some of what takes place before then. The story culminates in 1949 with the epilogue. It’s not that long ago but this Supreme Court case has had far-reaching consequences to the detriment of many due to the collusion of some men and the way they presented the case and their legal arguments. This is Ruth Ann’s story along with her out-of-wedlock baby, her widowed mother who did all she could to keep her family together and food on their table, and her younger sister who was torn from the foster home she was living at. All except Ruth Ann’s baby ended up at the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded which was a hard place to live given what their days looked like and under whose charge they were. Clarence, a jack of all trades who also lived at the Colony, had a stump for one hand and while he seemed to have some privileges he wasn’t treated much better. He did have a warm spot for Ruth Ann and did all he could to ease her pain and suffering. Ruby, a black woman, who was an attendant who cared for those most in need had a kind heart although she couldn’t let those in charge know it. There was a lot of evil intent and actions against those they considered feeble, imbeciles, or morons. That they could justify sexual sterilization without consent so that those deemed defective couldn’t produce offspring who would also be socially inadequate and live off the state was unconscionable. We learn of their lives, their friendships, the gossip, the loony bin, the fear, the medical injustices as well as some of the good. I definitely felt the emotions as I read and cried along with the characters. The characters had a depth to them and the story had a nice flow to it. The epilogue which took place in 1949 gave wonderful closure along with a better-than-expected happily ever after especially with the way Ruth Ann’s life was while in the Colony. The history behind Ruth Ann’s story and the Buck v. Bell legal case was enlightening and told us the liberties taken by the author. The information about the eugenics movement and the case was informative and heartbreaking. The discussion questions were thought-provoking and the opinion for the case by one of the justices of the Supreme Court was downright scary. I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading fiction that is based on true stories.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenn (burlingtonbibliophagist)

    BOOK REVIEW A Mother’s Promise by KD Alden Thank you to @readforeverpub and @hbgcanada for my ARC in return for an honest review Synopsis Virginia 1927, Ruth Ann lives in an institution for Epileptics and the Feebleminded. Her days are filled with hard physical labour, beatings, and not much else. Ruth Ann used to live in a foster home, she went to school, learned to read, learned to sew and cook and then she was raped. As an unwed single woman of 16 yrs., when her pregnancy is discovered she is imm BOOK REVIEW A Mother’s Promise by KD Alden Thank you to @readforeverpub and @hbgcanada for my ARC in return for an honest review Synopsis Virginia 1927, Ruth Ann lives in an institution for Epileptics and the Feebleminded. Her days are filled with hard physical labour, beatings, and not much else. Ruth Ann used to live in a foster home, she went to school, learned to read, learned to sew and cook and then she was raped. As an unwed single woman of 16 yrs., when her pregnancy is discovered she is immediately sent to the same institution as her mother. She is desperate to reconnect with her daughter and dreams of a better life for herself. The doctor at the colony has other ideas. Eugenics has swept the nation and he sees it as his personal duty to stop people of lesser intellect from breeding and he plans on using Ruth Ann to prove his point. REVIEW Its hard to look beyond the triggers and delicate subject matter of this book. I was not aware of the writing style, the dialogue, or the plot lines. I was so caught up in Ruth Anne’s story, her life. When I was 12 I was diagnosed with epilepsy. My grandmother immediately told my mother that I shouldn’t have children. Such was her conservative upbringing, she believed any children I would have in the future would also have fits, and that because of my diagnosis I couldn’t OR shouldn’t have children. I don’t blame my grandmother for her narrow minded uneducated thinking, she didn’t know any better. Ruth Anne’s story reminded me that it wasn’t that long ago, society agreed with my grandmother. People with lower IQ’s, birth defects, and untreatable illnesses were treated as less. They were encouraged to not procreate, their human rights limited or taken away completely. Her story, though difficult to read, is an important one. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of sterilization in 1927. As recent as 1970’s in Canada and 2020 in the US, agencies and governments have been accused of sterilizing people under the guise of family planning or immigration laws. Its abhorrent to even consider, that modern society would uphold such a law. I love reading historical fiction. I love hearing the personal stories of people who survived, against all odds, despite all the hate the world threw at them, that they rose above the ugliness of society. Ruth Anne’s story is about survival, change, and growth. Thank you to Alden for placing a spotlight on an antiquated law that should be reversed and condemned for its violation of basic human rights.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Sokoloff

    I dedicate this post to International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, for reasons that will shortly become evident. A Mother's Promise is a historical fiction novel, based on a U.S. Supreme Court Case Buck v. Bell 1927, in which, Albert Priddy, superintendent of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded, recruited legislator Aubrey Strode, in order to draft a state sterilization law. On the 20th of March 1924, the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act was signed into law. Cary Buck, I dedicate this post to International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021, for reasons that will shortly become evident. A Mother's Promise is a historical fiction novel, based on a U.S. Supreme Court Case Buck v. Bell 1927, in which, Albert Priddy, superintendent of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded, recruited legislator Aubrey Strode, in order to draft a state sterilization law. On the 20th of March 1924, the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act was signed into law. Cary Buck, became the first person sterilized under this law. Alden's book is a fictionalized version of Cary Buck's story. In bringing the Virginia Sterilization Act into existence, Dr. Priddy was able to legally sterilize anyone he, as a medical practitioner, deemed "a burden on society", preventing them from passing on these burdens to future generations. That is, he put into place the legal practice of Eugenics. So how does this overlap with International Holocaust Memorial Day 2021? In order to get the law enacted Dr. Priddy relied on Aubrey Strode. Strode wrote his legislation based on a model law drafted by the biologist Harry Laughlin, who was the director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Eugenics Record Office (an epicenter for research in the field) and perhaps the most influential advocate for eugenics in the country. Here is the tie-in to the Holocaust: "Laughlin corresponded with German eugenicists and was enthusiastic about Hitler's leadership praising him for realizing that "the central mission of all politics is race hygiene". He was also the driving force behind the Immigration Act of 1924, which set quotas on various undesirable races, including Jews. He urged maintaining these quotas when, not many years later, large numbers of Jews were trying to flee Europe. One could only immediately think of the SS St. Louis, a ship full of Jews turned away from landing in Cuba and then the United States and Canada, only to have to return to Europe. I do not intend to detract in any way from Cary Buck's story and all the people who were legally sterilized under laws like the Virginia Sterilization Act, The practice was finally ended nationwide (US) in the seventies (law was repealed in 1974). How many lives would have been different (and spared), if not for the collaboration of Harry Laughlin, Albert Priddy, Aubrey Strode and Hitler? Thank you #netgalley and K.D. Alden for my copy of #amotherspromise in return for my honest review. I am so glad I read this book, #5stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Marie

    Thank you @readforeverpub and @grandcentralpub for this gifted copy! “This was her body, not his. Hers and not the state of Virginia’s” (pg. 42). Wow, I am in awe. This story is raw, heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspirational. Ruth’s character is astounding. She is resilient, strong, and selfless. Her unwavering love for her daughter, sister, and friends in the colony is beautiful. And the epilogue😍 I didn’t know my heart could be put back together after reading this story, but the epilogue di Thank you @readforeverpub and @grandcentralpub for this gifted copy! “This was her body, not his. Hers and not the state of Virginia’s” (pg. 42). Wow, I am in awe. This story is raw, heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspirational. Ruth’s character is astounding. She is resilient, strong, and selfless. Her unwavering love for her daughter, sister, and friends in the colony is beautiful. And the epilogue😍 I didn’t know my heart could be put back together after reading this story, but the epilogue did just that. The fact that this book is based on true events is absolutely infuriating. Buck v. Bell, a Supreme Court case from 1927, ruled in favor of sterilization of inmates of public institutions to promote the welfare of society (which is what Riley v. Price in the book is based off of). Literally... WHAT? Disgusting. I applaud K.D. Alden for writing a story centered on Buck v. Bell- this is something I had very little knowledge about, and I am glad it was brought to light in such a powerful and authentic way. Synopsis: Ruth Ann Riley is living in The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded during the late 1920s. She was sent to the colony after being sexually assaulted and becoming pregnant, Ruth’s sin in the eyes of her community. Her baby, Annabel, was given away and now Ruth works day in and out doing miscellaneous jobs in the colony. Life in the colony is already torturous, but it gets worse when the colony’s doctor begins carrying out life-altering procedures: the sterilization of the colony residents in order to stop new generations of the feebleminded... Ruth is an extremely intelligent and capable young woman. She knows the doctor’s actions are wrong, and she will not let him or anyone else take away her rights. Ruth thinks she is in luck when a lawyer approaches her to take her case to court. Her case is taken to the Supreme Court, but no matter the outcome Ruth knows she is fighting for what is right and just...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Huddleston

    A Mother's Promise is an amazingly heartbreaking book that shines a light on a dark unspoken part of history in the America, the eugenics movement. While this novel is based on a true court case the author takes liberties to enhance and almost soften an ugly truth. It is well done! Staying true to the nightmare that Carrie Buck (Buck Vs. Bell) actually lived. Set in early 1900's Virginia being poor, uneducated, or teenager pregnant out of wedlock is considered an undesirable offense. Ruth Ann is A Mother's Promise is an amazingly heartbreaking book that shines a light on a dark unspoken part of history in the America, the eugenics movement. While this novel is based on a true court case the author takes liberties to enhance and almost soften an ugly truth. It is well done! Staying true to the nightmare that Carrie Buck (Buck Vs. Bell) actually lived. Set in early 1900's Virginia being poor, uneducated, or teenager pregnant out of wedlock is considered an undesirable offense. Ruth Ann is all three of these. Her punishment is being sent to a state home for the epileptic and feebleminded where her mentally unstable mother also resides. Hidden away from polite society Ruth Ann and the other patients are subject unending physical labor and abuse by the house mother and unauthorized medical procedures by Dr. Price, who is looking to make a name for himself in the medical community. The good doctor has convinced himself that for the greater good that the degenerates of society must not be allowed to reproduce. That the sins of the mother pass down to her offspring. And as a garden must be weeded so must humanity. Lucky for Dr. Price Ruth Ann, her lunatic mother, and infant daughter provide the perfect case study of three generations of immorality. A case study that he plans to take to the highest court in order to set a precedence for the legalization forced sterilization of the undesirable population. All the while, Ruth Ann is none the wiser to the larger plan she is the center of. Her only desire is see and hold the daughter that was taken away from her at birth. She knows her former foster family is now in custody of the baby and, along with her few friends, plans away reunite with her child. The only child she will ever have if the courts rule in favor of Dr. Price.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    {4.5 stars} "Understand: these girls have neither the mental capacity nor the moral fiber with which to manage their lives. Most of them - quite sadly - should have been drowned at birth in a bucket, like so many unwanted kittens." ------------------------ This book will break your heart in the same way The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or Radium Girls did. The horrible atrocities that America thrust upon the poor, downtrodden and mentally challenged in the name of eugenics will shock you. As so {4.5 stars} "Understand: these girls have neither the mental capacity nor the moral fiber with which to manage their lives. Most of them - quite sadly - should have been drowned at birth in a bucket, like so many unwanted kittens." ------------------------ This book will break your heart in the same way The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or Radium Girls did. The horrible atrocities that America thrust upon the poor, downtrodden and mentally challenged in the name of eugenics will shock you. As someone who works in clinical trials, human rights is at the forefront of everything I do. The first thing you learn about is the Nuremburg code and what happened in the Tuskegee syphilis study. This little piece of history covered in A Mother's Promise is one that has been in the shadows for far too long. You will feel for Ruth Ann at every turn, she is a sweet, young 16 year old girl who is a victim of her circumstances and is trying desperately not to be. Your stomach will turn at every word that comes out of Dr Price's mouth and you will grow ill at the treatment Mother Jenkins gives the girls in the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-minded. But this is a book that you must read. If you are someone concerned with social justice and human rights, this story deserves a place in your heart. Ruth Ann's desire to fight all the way against all odds will impress you. The outcome of the book and the real case it is based on will floor you. The author’s note at the end explains the truth versus the fiction of this case and frankly I walked away more gobsmacked than ever. Thanks to Read Forever Pub and Grand Central Pub for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Based on a true story about a US Supreme Court decision (legitimized eugenic sterilization laws), K.D. Alden captures the heart with her moving book A Mother’s Promise. I found myself completely immersed in the lives and personalities of each character in this truly compelling and poignant story. A Mother’s Promise is a story that swept me up in all the emotions from the beginning. I had no idea that there were so many horrors that existed for those young women who were deemed unfit to have child Based on a true story about a US Supreme Court decision (legitimized eugenic sterilization laws), K.D. Alden captures the heart with her moving book A Mother’s Promise. I found myself completely immersed in the lives and personalities of each character in this truly compelling and poignant story. A Mother’s Promise is a story that swept me up in all the emotions from the beginning. I had no idea that there were so many horrors that existed for those young women who were deemed unfit to have children and become parents. This compelling and disturbing story takes the reader back to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded during 1927 and explores the the day-to-day lives and the abuse these men and women experienced, including forced sterilization. I became attached to all the endearing characters in this story. They were kind, loving, real, and manipulated by the corruption of power, money and society. The plot moved at a steady pace and I couldn’t tear myself away from the story (except to grab a box of tissues). This is the story of love, loss, heartbreak, courage, and propaganda all written in a beautiful and expressive prose. Overall, A Mother’s Promise is a heartbreaking story that will take you back to 1927 and immerses the reader in the lives and emotions of each character. You will find yourself attached to this book and it’s characters from the beginning, and you will never let them go. This is a story that will stick with me for years to come. Thank you so much Forever and Grand Central Publishing for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Gheen

    A Mother’s Promise tells the story of 16 year old Ruth Ann who became of the ward of the state when her foster mother kicked her out after discovering she was pregnant. She was sent to the Virginia Colony of Epileptics and Feebleminded. **This was an actual place that sterilized over 1,333 people whose genes were considered inferior. Her infant daughter was taken away and the resident doctor informed Ruth Ann that he intended on performing a surgery to sterilize her. She feels all is lost when a A Mother’s Promise tells the story of 16 year old Ruth Ann who became of the ward of the state when her foster mother kicked her out after discovering she was pregnant. She was sent to the Virginia Colony of Epileptics and Feebleminded. **This was an actual place that sterilized over 1,333 people whose genes were considered inferior. Her infant daughter was taken away and the resident doctor informed Ruth Ann that he intended on performing a surgery to sterilize her. She feels all is lost when a handsome lawyer comes and agrees to fight on her behalf. This book enraged and horrified me. It was haunting and beautifully written. Ruth Ann was based on Carrie Buck and the real Supreme Court Case of Buck vs Bell. It’s hard to understand how “intellectuals” in this country felt empowered to sterilize people based on their social standing and education but they did. They often failed to even tell the patients what had happened to them and instead say it was a routine surgery or infection. The character development in K.D Alden’s debut was wonderful and the story was powerful and engaging. I fell in love with her friend and crush Clarence! It’s a tough but important story to tell and I’m glad I was given the opportunity to read Ruth Ann’s story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    There are some books that you can't stop thinking about when you close the book, and the characters and ideas of the book stay with you long after you read it - this is one of those books for me. I was amazed that this was K.D. Alden's debut novel, her storytelling is incredible. I have recently been shying away from books with difficult topics and having a hard time reading, but this book drew me in and wouldn't let go. It was about a difficult subject matter, but the incredible storytelling an There are some books that you can't stop thinking about when you close the book, and the characters and ideas of the book stay with you long after you read it - this is one of those books for me. I was amazed that this was K.D. Alden's debut novel, her storytelling is incredible. I have recently been shying away from books with difficult topics and having a hard time reading, but this book drew me in and wouldn't let go. It was about a difficult subject matter, but the incredible storytelling and brave characters made it interesting to read instead of depressing. Every time I started reading I was instantly drawn in and saw myself sitting there with the characters walking through life with them, my heart breaking with theirs as things happened to them. I loved that information about the real life supreme court case that this book was based off of, was included at the end. I have so much more I would love to say about this book, but I am not sure I can without spoiling the story. So I'll just say that I can't wait to see what books K.D. Alden writes in the future. I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley, and this is my honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dwina Willis

    A Mother's Promise by K. D. Alden is loosely based on the life of Carrie Buck and the legal case of Buck v. Bell that went all the way to the Supreme Court in the 1920s. The actions that impacted the life of fictional character Ruth Ann Riley, were based upon the prevailing theory of eugenics. She and her mother are both housed at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Dr. Price routinely practices sterilization on the inmates so that their "bad gene plasma" will not be passe A Mother's Promise by K. D. Alden is loosely based on the life of Carrie Buck and the legal case of Buck v. Bell that went all the way to the Supreme Court in the 1920s. The actions that impacted the life of fictional character Ruth Ann Riley, were based upon the prevailing theory of eugenics. She and her mother are both housed at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Dr. Price routinely practices sterilization on the inmates so that their "bad gene plasma" will not be passed on to the next generation. Dr. Price conspires with two lawyers on his board to take a case to court so his procedures would be validated by the courts and the lawyers careers would be enhanced. While the author takes liberties with the story, which she enumerates at the end of the book, the gist of it is based on fact. How the people in the Colony were treated is barbaric and is now considered shameful. Leaders in the US supported this theory which was endorsed by Hitler in Mein Kampf and made it difficult for Jews to emigrate to the US during WWII. I was able to read this on #netgalley.

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