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Publisher's Summary

Based on the true story behind a landmark US Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden's debut is a rich and moving story of one woman's courage and determination to get her child back when all odds are stacked against her.

Virginia, 1927: All Ruth Ann Riley wants is a chance to have a family. But because she was poor and unwed when she became pregnant, she was sent to an institution and her child was given to another woman. Ruth Ann 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. And now they want to take away her right to have any other babies? She is not going to let that happen.

All the rich and fancy folks may call her feebleminded, 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. She just never expects her battle will go to the US Supreme Court or that she'd find unexpected friendships...and even the possibility of love along the way.

©2021 K.D. Alden (P)2021 Forever

Critic Reviews

"A Mother's Promise is a powerful, heart-wrenching, ultimately uplifting novel about the bonds of family and one woman's courage in the face of adversity. K.D. Alden brings history to life with rich storytelling and deep emotion." (V.S. Alexander, author of The Magdalen Girls)

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What listeners say about A Mother's Promise

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Powerful

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.

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Incredible Historical Fiction!!

It didn't take me long to listen to this book. The story is truly haunting especially because the basis of it is true.

However, the author invented a few of the supporting characters and intwined a great deal of humor into the story. Clarence is my favorite character, and he is one of them.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting but disturbing

interesting but disturbing. I never realized when I started it that it was based off true facts

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  • 06-13-22

WOW

This was an incredible story! The writing was exceptional, especially her beautiful use of figurative and descriptive language. The fact that it is based on a true story is heartbreaking. I would highly recommend this book

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my review of A mother's Promise

I enjoyed this book. the narrator was excellent!! will read more y this author
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Heart Breaking

Loved this book. The narrator was very good. The Her voice was fantastic really set the stage for whole book. I had found out from my sister who had recommended this book that her mother in law had the same thing happened to her after she had 2 children because she came from Italy.

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Couldn’t put it down

KD did an amazing job transporting me to stand with the heroine. Now what name to use? Difficult, because while it is a fictional retelling, the details truly planted me in a very real struggle for individual rights. I’d like more from this author.