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 today.
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'd
muttered 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't find . . . 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's shaking 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 . . .
No, please, not
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't raise her head.
Instead, she let out a long, shrill wail and curled in on herself.
Mary Alice's stomach 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's red
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'm