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February 24, 2021

A Mother's Promise by K.D. Alden ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden's debut novel, A Mother's Promise, 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.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

A Mother's Promise
January 2021; Forever; 978-1538718179
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); southern fiction
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 the 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 than 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.

NOTE:  The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States. A review of the law of eugenic surgical sterilization reveals that 22 states have laws that permit compulsory eugenic sterilization without patient consent. Even though a state does not specifically authorize eugenic sterilization, it does not mean that such a procedure cannot be done legally.

Buy A Mother's Promise at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. Thank you for this very nice review!

  2. So happy you enjoyed A Mother's Promise! Thank you for hosting the tour!

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