Mary Alice carried a secret
for a half-century, but when her sixteen-year old
granddaughter Bethany confesses she is pregnant,
Mary Alice decides it’s time to reveal that she gave away a child
when she was the same age. With Bethany’s help, she finds her
missing daughter, but the unexpected reunion, comes with
life-changing decisions for Mary Alice. She may risk losing the
daughter she raised in order to save the life of the one she gave
The Crittenton Girls is women’s
fiction and delves into the complexities of mother-daughter
relationships. As a mother of three daughters, our relationships
have not always been sugar and spice. Loving does not come easily
when there is so much baggage. Mother-daughter stories have become
my brand. If you liked The Home of Unwanted
Girls by Joanne Goodman and Before We Were
Yours by Lisa Wingate, you will love The Crittenton
November 3, 2017
Mary Alice had been on this earth for seventy-five years. For fifty-nine of
them, she loved one man. For fifty-seven of them,
she nurtured three children. She wasn't a
stranger to tears, and being a mother fostered an ability to recognize the difference between
crocodile tears and real pain, true broken hearts and wild teenage hormones. Sometimes a hug and a whispered
reassurance fixed things.
Occasionally a joke worked. Or cookies. Maternal instinct.
Practice. Tears were something that she could fix. Until
Bethany sat hunched over Mary Alice’s kitchen table, arms
wrapped around her head, her muffled sobs flitting through her
arms. 'Oh Gram' were the only words she'dmuttered twenty minutes before dissolving into tears. Now Mary
Alice stood behind her, arms limp and useless save for a box of
tissues in one hand and a cookie tin in the other.
She'd tried hugs, sweets, holding the girl and rocking her.
Bethany hadn't spoken except to call her name, but the way she broke down was
different. Mary Alice tried to find a cure to a hurt that
she couldn'tfind . . . and failed. If only she weren't so out of practice, she could tease the root of the problem from
her. If she figured out what caused the tears, she could stop them.
Mary Alice set the tissues and the tin on the table next
to Bethany'sshaking arms. Whatever was going on was serious. Not like that
time when Bethany got excluded from a party. Or the time when her
best friend talked behind her back. This was something worse.
Despair. An accident . . . death?
No, please, not again.
Mary Alice hands hovered over Bethany's hair, then she retracted them.
"Bethany."Mary Alice took a breath. The air around her stilled.
"Talk to Grandma, sweetie. Did somebody get hurt . . . or someone
hurt you?"She tried to bat away the images of abused young girls she had
recently seen on the news. Oh God, not that either.
Bethany didn'traise her head. Instead, she let out a long, shrill wail and
curled in on herself. Mary Alice'sstomach squeezed like a fist.
Words formed almost by their own volition. "I'm calling your Mom."
"Wait!"Bethany wailed. She sprang from her seat.
Before Mary Alice could reach the phone, Bethany's trembling arms were around her waist. With a suspended breath,
Mary Alice turned to her granddaughter'sred blotchy face. Bethany opened her mouth, and Mary Alice
clenched her gut, hoping she was strong enough to hear whatever was
going to come out of them.
"Gram . . . I'm . . . I'mpregnant!"