What would you do if you came upon a little baby whose homeless mother has died in the night? The baby is alive and crying? In the book, Merry Mary, photographic journalist Scottie Darden faces this situation when she comes upon the baby in a make-shift tent and makes a split decision to take the baby home. She doesn’t have a cell phone to call for help and wants to take the baby to warmth and comfort rather than risk the baby’s health. She intends at the time to call the police and report the baby.
Scottie visited the homeless regularly to document their plight as a photographer so much so that the community had dubbed her the “camera lady.” Her life is just as much a mess as the homeless people she photographs. She faced tragedy of her own, a miscarriage, and has an unmotivated and selfish husband whom doesn’t want to work or continue his pursuit of a medical degree.
When she looks into the face of the little baby, she battles her desire to keep her for her own or to turn her over to the police and Child Protective Services. The baby steals her heart, and she is willing to gamble her future to keep her. When the press reports that police are looking for her to question her about the baby and the mother’s death, Scottie becomes fearful. She also hears that the grandparents want Merry Mary back. One of the homeless women she knows, warns Scottie that the grandparents are alcoholics and abused the baby’s mother. What will Scottie decide?
I enjoyed this book. it is not your typical romance, but it is a love story of the attachment that can form between a woman and a beautiful baby. I don’t want to give the ending away, but I will say it is not tied up in a neat package of a happy ending. The plot is realistically written and has a magical sense to it.
Excerpt from Merry Mary
“Shh, don’t cry,” she said, rubbing the baby’s tummy.
What would become of the baby? Scottie didn’t think the Commonwealth had the authority to place the baby up for adoption without permission of next of kin, which meant the baby would be placed in a foster home until the police could track down the father. If the father even wanted the child. If the father even knew he was the father.
The baby began to wail, presumably with hunger. “Don’t worry, little one.” She picked the baby up and held her tight. “We’ll get it all sorted out. In the meantime, I have plenty of formula and diapers to keep you comfortable.”
By the time Scottie got the baby inside, and mixed up a bottle from the supplies in her baby cabinet in the kitchen, the little girl was screaming, flailing her arms and legs in hunger. Scottie plopped down on the leather sofa in the adjoining family room, propped her snow boots up on the coffee table, and brought the bottle’s nipple to the baby’s mouth. The infant took the nipple between her lips, then thrust it back out with her tongue. Scottie turned the bottle upside down on her arm, letting a few drops of formula leak from the hole in the nipple, before returning the nipple to the baby’s lips. When she tasted the formula, the baby began to suck greedily.
“Careful now, baby girl. Don’t drink too fast or you’ll upset your tummy.” The baby stared up at Scottie with bright eyes. “We need to give you a name, don’t we?”
Scottie had been in the process of picking out names for her baby when her daughter was stillborn at thirty-one weeks. She’d been torn between Kate and Liza, after her grandmothers Katherine and Elizabeth. She ended up calling the baby Angel, which seemed appropriate for an innocent child who never drew her first breath.
Scottie’s eyes traveled the room, coming to rest on the nativity scene on the mantle above the fireplace. “Why don’t we call you Mary after the Virgin Mary?” She caught sight of the needlepoint pillow Brad had brought down from the attic—a green background with Merry Christmas in curlicue script in red across the front. “Or Merry, which seems appropriate for a spunky little girl like you.”
The baby stopped sucking and smiled up at her.
“I agree,” Scottie said. “I like them both as well. Merry Mary it is, then.
Ashley Farley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.
After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. SAVING BEN is not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.
HER SISTER’S SHOES—June 24, 2015—is a women’s novel that proves the healing power of family.
Look for MERRY MARY this holiday season, a heartwarming story of the powerful connection between a caring soul and an innocent child in need.
Required notification: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. The Amazon link above is an affiliate link. If you use it to purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.
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