Because her father didn’t know what else to do with her and society didn’t have support in place for families, a little girl was locked away at the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded in the 1960s. These institutions were horrible places. Staff routinely mistreated inmates: humiliation, punishment, slop for food, threats, solitary confinement and even sexual assault and rape.

The book opens with the escape of two inmates on a cold rainy night. The two take shelter at the farmhouse of a widow named Martha. Lynnie seems mute and Homan is deaf, but their desperation is clearly communicated. Soon institution staff apprehend Lynnie, however Homan escapes. But they’ve quickly earned Martha’s sympathy, and she takes up the charge Lynnie whispers as she is led away – to hide the newborn girl hidden in the attic. Martha takes her charge seriously and leaves the next morning with the day old baby she names Julia.

It is the story of love and loss. The love of Lynnie and Homan and the baby they never knew. The love of Martha and Julia. Great book.


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