Promises

Dear Lucy (NetGalley)
by Julie Sarkissian

And you are there from the beginning of the baby and that is why you are its family. 

Samantha and Lucy spend their days and nights on the farm of Mister and Missus, little more than hired hands, but without the pay. They weed, stitch, gather eggs, feed the pigs. Both are sad souls, left on the farm’s doorstep when no one else would have them. Samantha is sixteen and pregnant, waiting for the birth of a baby that won’t be hers for long. Lucy is a child in a woman’s body with a simple mind and sometimes violent temper. Even though mum mum locks her in the bedroom when she goes out, even though mum mum doesn’t send Lucy to school with the other children, even though mum mum screams at Lucy for what she cannot do, Lucy waits devotedly for her

return. So for Lucy, the most important thing, is to put together Samantha and her baby and the father so they can live in a “special place … so when the baby opens its eyes on its very first day it sees its family.”

While the farm may seem idyllic, Mister and Missus share a dark past. And when Samantha discovers the truth of their secret in the attic, she begins to plan her escape. When Mister and Missus prevent her from following through, Samantha makes Lucy promise to find her baby. Lucy’s quest to find baby’s father leads her off the farm and into trouble–but lands her back with mum mum. This time, mum mum hopes Lucy will become the “house girl” and enlists the help of a cleaning woman to train Lucy. Although delighted for a time to be with mum mum, Lucy’s heart calls her back to the farm and the baby. A newly hatched chick named Jennifer, nestled in her dress pocket, serves as Lucy’s power inner voice which pulls her on towards the loving family she never had.

A little bit Of Mice and Men and a little bit Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Dear Lucy is haunting and poetic. A plot that might otherwise seem outlandish is entirely believable, in part because of the fresh voice of Lucy’s inner world. The simple young woman who could do no right returns to the farm, to Samantha’s rescue, led on by the power of “promises, which are the truth.”

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