An unusual plotline and top-notch prose mark this talented novelist’s debut. When divorcée Marty Winslow’s adolescent daughter Ginger dies from Niemann-Pick, a debilitating hereditary disease, Marty discovers Ginger was not her biological daughter, but was switched at birth. Orphan Andie Lockhart is living with her beloved but ailing grandparents when the court gives temporary custody to Marty, her birth mother. Andie finds herself in a chaotic, financially strapped family that runs the Blue Moon drive-in movie theater. Thomas competently displays the heterogeneities of grief, from older sister Deja’s teen Goth rebellion to Marty’s endless baking, and the difficulty of revising what one has always assumed to be true. The mistake’s tragic cost to both families is shown throughout, but Thomas proffers redemption, albeit in tough, realistic doses. After some soul searching, Marty and Andie eventually find strength in their Christian faith. Point of view shifts sometimes encumber the story, and Thomas succumbs to drawing a conclusion for the reader toward the end. But competent dialogue, touches of humor, and sparkling character dynamics make this a welcome addition to the faith fiction fold.--Publisher's Weekly
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moonby Debbie Fuller Thomas
When Marty Winslow's daughter dies of a devastating genetic disease, she discovers the truth--her child had been switched at birth. Her actual biological daughter was recently orphaned and is being raised by grandparents in a retirement community. Marty is awarded custody, but Andie refuses to fit into the family, adding one more challenge for this grieving single… See more details below
When Marty Winslow's daughter dies of a devastating genetic disease, she discovers the truth--her child had been switched at birth. Her actual biological daughter was recently orphaned and is being raised by grandparents in a retirement community. Marty is awarded custody, but Andie refuses to fit into the family, adding one more challenge for this grieving single mom that pushes her toward the edge, and into the arms of a loving God.
For Andie, being forced to live with strangers is just one more reason not to trust God. Her soul is as tattered as the rundown Blue Moon movie drive-in the family owns. But Tuesday night is Family Night at the Blue Moon, and as her hopes grow dim, healing comes from an unexpected source--the hurting family and nurturing birth mom she fights so hard to resist.
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At The Blue Moon
By Debbie Fuller Thomas, LB Norton
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2008 Debbie Fuller Thomas
All rights reserved.
We weren't strangers to this courtroom. The first time we came, it was to petition to have Ginger's hospital birth records opened. When you lose a child to a genetic disease that doesn't haunt your family, you want to know why.
Two female Caucasian babies were born on the night of October 31, 1994, at Interfaith Hospital. DNA samples confirmed that the precious child I'd buried two years ago wasn't mine, and that Andrea Hayley Lockhart was actually my biological child.
Now Andie sat across the courtroom wedged between her grandparents, blonde head tucked, jaw clenched in anger, eyes darting in dread. Avoiding my side of the room. She took my breath away, she was so beautiful. Quicksilver. A perfect amalgam of Deja and Winnie, my other daughters. There was no question that she belonged to us.
We weren't trying to replace the child we'd lost, though the thought clawed my protective grief on sleepless nights. No one could replace Ginger.
I hadn't just lost her physically. The minute the birth records were opened, I lost possession of her. Sole ownership. At least I never had to hand her over to strangers.
Dad sat beside me doodling a perfect likeness of Andie on the manila folder stuffed with evidence that argued our right to disrupt her life. I squeezed his arm gently, so my nails wouldn't pinch. Though we wanted Andie desperately, we only wanted the best for her and would accept whatever judgment the court handed down. She wasn't a bone to be fought over by Dobermans.
Was it right to take Andie away from her grandparents? I wasn't sure until I saw her picture in the tabloids. Her face side by side with Ginger's had framed my gut instinct that something had always been slightly out of focus.
I sneaked furtive glances across the courtroom. Andie chewed her nails, one knee pumping and bouncing. The grandmother touched Andie's knee, and her leg stilled. When Andie looked up, the grandmother's eyes lingered on her face. They had no need for words.
People filed in, blocking my view. The odors of stale tobacco and sweat intensified along with the crowd and the heat, aggravating my nerves, adding to the tension in my neck from straining to catch glimpses of Andie.
What a shame, the way the grandmother dressed her. Andie's skirt and blouse could have been sewn from my mother's vintage fabrics tucked away with her treadle sewing machine. There was a talcum-powder look about her, as though in the years since she'd lost her parents she had soared over adolescence, skimmed the surface waters of adulthood, and come to rest with her grandparents in their rocking chairs on the far shore. It couldn't be healthy in a girl of thirteen.
I glimpsed the familiar, unwelcome Mia Cross seated directly behind Andie. Mia was a local reporter who'd covered Ginger's struggle with Niemann-Pick for the paper the year before she died, and hounded us for interviews when she learned about the baby switch. She'd obviously chosen her next victim.
The judge entered from a side door and took his seat. Voices fell to a whisper. The bailiff called case after case, moving us closer to our own. A woman sought a restraining order against her boyfriend. A father requested shared custody with his child's mother. A single mom wanted to garnish her ex-husband's wages for child support.
A uniformed sheriff waited at the door as a reminder to keep things civilized.
A man at the end of our row squeezed past, and when I untangled my legs to let him through, my skirt twisted against the velveteen seat cushions. I wore the navy suit I'd bought for Ginger's funeral. The polyester blend was more suited to that rainy spring morning than this blistering July afternoon. I touched a tissue to my forehead and chin, wishing the humming electric fan faced us instead of the judge.
The bailiff called our case. Dad gave me a nod of encouragement, and I got to my feet, managing to keep my balance in three-inch heels while clutching the folder to my chest and straightening my skirt one-handed.
We sat at the attorney's table before the judge's bench. I took the farthest chair, putting our attorney, Martin Walker, between Andie's grandfather and me. Mr. Walker smoothed his tie into his jacket front and leaned toward me, smelling like the fragrance counter at Nordstrom.
"We're in good shape," he whispered, his breath minty fresh. "The grandfather is diabetic, and his kidneys are failing. Word is he's looking at dialysis before the year is out." He tugged at his jacket sleeves to make them even. "I don't think the uncle will be a problem either. He's got DUIs in California and Oregon. We'll use it if we have to." He winked, like that was a good thing.
What would Andie think of our vilifying her family? I felt an overwhelming urge to bake. Oatmeal cookies. Coconut dandies. Molasses joes with crystallized ginger.
The attorney tapped his notes into a perfect rectangle and cleared his throat. A sweating white carafe tempted me; the paper cups were within my reach, but I knew I'd never keep my hands from shaking.
We were sworn in by the bailiff while Judge Goodman spread out the paperwork before him. As he studied the file his jowls sagged, creasing his face like a bulldog's. He glanced up in Andie's direction and then over to us. "This is quite a difficult case. Unusual."
He flipped through the papers, studying one in particular and rubbing his chin. He looked over the top of his glasses, throwing dark shadows into his eye sockets and brows. He addressed the grandparents.
"Mr. James, you and your wife received guardianship of Andrea as maternal grandparents when your daughter and son-in-law perished in a hotel fire approximately three years ago. Is that correct?"
"Yes, Your Honor."
"And did the paternal grandparents express any interest in shared custody at that time?"
"No, sir, they didn't. It was all just too painful, I guess, and their health was bad. They send Andie cards now and then. Birthdays and such."
"I see," the judge said, referring again to his file. "At the time you resided on Dancing Dog Way. You now live at Whispering Pines Estates. Is that a housing development?"
"Well, no, sir."
The judge looked up, the unanswered question still between them.
"It's a mobile home park, Your Honor."
"Would that be a senior park, by any chance?"
The grandfather tried to clear his phlegmy throat, but it only pitched his voice up an octave. "Uh, you see, Your Honor ..."
The judge's head dipped down again to pin the grandfather.
"Yessir," he admitted. "Fifty-five and older."
Judge Goodman steepled his fingers. "Has Andrea been residing there with the knowledge and consent of park management?"
I stole a glance at the grandfather. His knobby hands picked at the papers before him.
"No, sir. They don't know about her living with us. Leastways, they didn't until it come out in the paper. We just didn't know what else to do, is all."
"How long has she lived at the mobile home park with you and Mrs. James?"
"We moved in about a year and six months ago, I reckon."
The judge's eyebrows lifted, briefly easing the shadows on his face. "That's a long time to hide a young girl in a senior park."
"She's no trouble, Your Honor, and our—"
The judge held up his hand. "Please don't elaborate, Mr. James. We don't want to create hardship for any neighbors who may or may not have been aware of your arrangement."
"No, sir. We sure don't."
"And now that park management has been alerted to her presence, will they allow Andrea to continue living there?"
"No, sir, they won't." He tried again unsuccessfully to clear his throat.
I heard others in the courtroom do the same.
"We're gonna sell and buy a house so Andie can stay with us. The lady realtor said she already has some folks interested."
My attorney inclined his head to me and whispered, "It'll never happen. It will be a contingency sale, and they'll never have enough for the down payment in that market."
Real estate was booming in the foothills, with retirees from the Bay Area and Sacramento scooping up land for mini-mansions. The grandparents were headed for deep water, and Andie was a passenger.
"How much longer will they allow Andrea to reside at the park?" the judge asked.
"They give us till the end of the month. That's all." He sounded fragile. Heartbroken.
I sat immobile, sensing disapproving eyes on my back.
"Thank you, Mr. James." Judge Goodman sifted through the paperwork again and turned his attention to me.
A bead of sweat trickled down to my collarbone.
"Mrs. Winslow, you are petitioning for custody of Andrea; is that correct?"
"Yes, Your Honor."
"You are her biological mother?"
My attorney spoke up. "She is, Your Honor. My client has submitted a copy of the birth records from the hospital. The DNA results are attached."
The judge flipped through his file and stopped. He tapped his pen as he read. "Andrea was switched at birth with Ginger Celeste Winslow, the biological granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. James. The child has since passed away due to terminal illness." He glanced at me apologetically. "This was how long ago?"
He'd touched a nerve, referring to Ginger as their granddaughter, and I fought the urge to correct him. The attorney inclined his head to me, silently prodding.
"One year and four months," I managed to say, "next Tuesday."
"Please accept the court's condolences. We know this is difficult. Who else is currently living in the home?"
"My father, Carl McAlister, and my two daughters, Deja and Winnie."
"What are the ages of your daughters?"
"They're fifteen and nine."
He looked through the bottom of his glasses at his paperwork, frowning. "That would place Andrea between them in birth order." He looked up over his glasses at me. "How do they feel about the possibility of adding another family member so soon after their loss?"
"My youngest is happy. Very excited. My oldest is dealing with the usual teenage ... stuff."
My attorney pressed his fist to his mouth and lightly cleared his throat in warning.
"She'll come around," I added, forcing a smile.
A flicker of doubt crossed the judge's face.
"Is Andrea's father a party to this custody petition?"
"No, sir. I have sole legal custody of my girls. I share joint physical custody with him, but he never sees them."
That can't be good, I realized, introducing an unknown entity like Russell.
"What is the arrangement for child visitation?"
"He has summers and alternate holidays. But he never asks to take them, Your Honor. They haven't seen him in years." I was glad Deja and Winnie weren't in the courtroom to hear that admission. Starr would make sure he never saw the girls again, if it was in her power to do so. "He's remarried. He lives in Elko."
"So there's no restraining order that the court should be aware of?"
"Your address is Newberry?"
"My father owns a home there. We live with him."
"And it has adequate living space for three siblings?"
I blinked. "Yes, sir. Your Honor, sir."
"Do you anticipate a change in your living arrangements in the near future?"
"No, sir. We operate a business on the property. A drive-in theater. It's my dad's retirement."
"A drive-in." He nodded. "Is there another source of income?"
"I'm a checker at Shop'n Save. I've been there a little over a year."
He studied the file and flipped pages back and forth. His pen tapped, then stilled. He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes, repositioning his frames on the bridge of his nose. He made notations, then looked up, briefly making eye contact with each of us.
"As I've said before, this is a very difficult case, and the court must consider all ramifications and decide what action is in Andrea's best interest. I have spoken with her, and I'm aware that she wishes to remain with her grandparents. However, due to the uncertainty of a suitable living environment, I'm temporarily removing her from the James household."
An adult gasped, then a loud whisper, "No way!"
"Andrea will remain in the custody of the biological mother, Matilda Winslow, sharing alternate school holidays with the maternal grandparents, Orville and Evelyn James. A review hearing will be set for six months from now. If in that time the grandparents provide proof of a suitable home, I will then consider her adjustment to the Winslow household and make a final determination."
He looked at me pointedly over his glasses. "Mrs. Winslow, a worker will be in contact with you periodically. If you take Andrea out of the area for any reason, for a week or longer, please leave an itinerary with Family Court Services."
I nodded, not hearing the rest. A rush of elation had left me light-headed. Andie was ours. Maybe temporarily, and there were strings attached, but nothing we couldn't overcome. I tried to remain calm and keep the smile off my face.
The future was like an unwritten recipe of the known and the unknown, or a new take on rhubarb pie. If you add in enough of the sweet stuff, and you expect it to be a little tart, it can turn out well.
I leaned over to the attorney. All threats of DUIs and dialysis blissfully erased. "Thank you, Mr. Walker. So much."
"You're welcome," he said, shoving his notes into his briefcase. "But it's not over yet. My office will contact you again before the hearing in six months."
I got to my feet, and he herded me back toward the seating area.
"In the meantime, everything had better be rosy when the worker drops by for visitation. If you decide to keep her."
I turned to find Andie and her grandparents already heading toward the exit, with Mia close behind. Well-rehearsed words stuck in my throat. Things I'd imagined saying at this time. I'll take good care of her. I want her to be happy. I'm not taking her away from you.
Mrs. James leaned heavily against her husband with Andie's arm threaded around her waist, struggling to stay linked like a severed chain. Andie glanced over her shoulder, her head bobbing up and down with the grandmother's uneven gait, searching for me. For a moment, my hopes rose. But her eyes focused, narrowed, and pierced me. I raised my hand to the sting on my cheek.
Dad and I followed at a distance while the attorney explained the custody decision in finer detail. I trusted Dad to catch it all.
Several reporters accosted them outside the courtroom. Kids are a sure sell. Mia's nasally voice pitched above the others, shouting questions that no self-respecting person would ask. For that reason and others, we no longer took the Times —not even the weekend edition.
We slipped away, heads down, giving the reporters a wide berth. Dad swatted at one hovering reporter, who gave up getting a statement from us and joined the swarm around Andie and her grandparents.
Dad and I spoke little on the way home. It seemed mean-spirited to celebrate someone's loss, even if it meant our gain. Dad said August 19 was the day the grandparents had to hand Andie over to us. I told him I would go alone to get her.
We stopped at the Shop'n Save to pick up molasses and butter on the way. I slid wordlessly out of the car and went in alone. Practically everyone there knew why I'd taken the day off, and when the automatic doors opened, I hesitated. I considered turning around and heading back to the car, but I needed to use my employee discount. The complications in our case had the attorney fees splitting and multiplying like sourdough starter on steroids.
Jo caught sight of me where I stood at the entrance in my suit and heels. She turned off the light at her checkout stand, came over and grabbed me by the arms, and dragged me to a quiet corner.
"So, spill it. What happened?"
I took a deep breath, licked my lips, and said the words aloud for the first time. "We got Andie." I held my breath, waiting for the dream to burst like a child's bubble on a plastic wand, but it didn't. We screamed and hugged each other as if we were fifteen again.
Jo got on the intercom—honest to goodness—and announced it to everyone in the store before I could stop her. Scattered applause and whistles filtered back. Most of Newberry's population had read in the papers about their local celebrity switched-at-birth kid, and most had their own opinions. Customers in the checkout lines craned their necks to gawk at me, shifting impatiently, their arms overflowing with purchases and squirming kids. Some were clearly annoyed, others openly complaining.
Excerpted from Tuesday Night by Debbie Fuller Thomas, LB Norton. Copyright © 2008 Debbie Fuller Thomas. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
DEBBIE FULLER THOMAS is a freelance author and publisher, a former pastor¿s wife, and a survivor of breast cancer. She has been involved in children¿s and worship ministries at churches around California for 30 years. She currently manages youth programs for her local parks and recreation district. Debbie is the author of Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon and published Lord, I Was Happy Shallow, Coping with Cancer, Sacramento Sierra Parent, and Chicken Soup for the Bride¿s Soul. She and her husband, Don, have two grown sons and enjoy their ¿empty nest¿ in a historic gold rush town in northern California.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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One of the highest compliments I can give a book is that of authenticity -- everything about this book, from its dialogue to its situations to its descriptions, rang true. That's no small task to accomplish for an author who is dealing with multiple points of view and is able to reach deep into the soul of both a troubled woman who has lost a daughter to a dreaded disease and also into the turmoil of the thoughts of a teenager who has just discovered she was switched at birth and now must live with that woman and her other children. If good fiction causes "the willing suspension of disbelief," then this qualifies because Debbie Fuller Thomas completely captured my attention by sympathetically portraying the feelings of two very different people with sensitivity and insight.
Latayne C Scott
This is the type of story I hunt for, pray for, and read voraciously. Thomas has taken a premise, babies switched at birth, and made it into a delicious story of unconditional love and grace. Marty has recently buried a beloved daughter, a victim of a genetic disease. Andie, her true biological daughter and owner of deep grief, returns to her unwillingly. Inch by hard-won inch, they move toward one another. Congratulations, Debbie, on writing such a beautiful story.
This is the kind of fiction that grabs you and won¿t turn loose. From the moment I met the hopeful Marty and the defensive Andie, Thomas had me enthralled. I particularly liked how she let each of them tell the story from their own point of view. As in life, nothing is as clear cut as it seems. People misunderstand each other¿s motives, feelings are hurt, progress is made and lost and made again. In Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon, Thomas introduces us to two families who are both dealing with tragic loss. How they finally turn to God, and each other, to move forward and find healing is a journey well worth taking. I was entertained and moved and I anxiously await the next novel from this talented author.
Did she make the right choice? Did she have any other options? What would you do? Life is not fair. A good story line and good read.
I was unable to really relate to any of the characters and felt that the plot was spread a little thin. More of an explanation for characters and their behaviors would have been appreciated. But overall, decent story and easy read.
While I found some parts of this book to be a bit unrealistic as a whole I enjoyed the story and the characters. Definitely worth reading once.
Tuesday Night At The Blue Moon is a pleasant surprise. Debbie Fuller Thomas took an old story, babies switched at birth, and turned it into a tender saga. Opening the book was like reading from two journals telling of the same situations. For someone like me who loves multiple point of views, this book was a pleasure to read. Tragedy rarely births hope, and for Marty Winslow and Andrea Lockhart tragedy had hit hard. Marty lost her thirteen-year-old daughter to a genetic disease. The very disease led to the discovery that Ginger could not have been her daughter and she was switched in the hospital. Andrea lost her parents to a fire in a hotel in Mexico. Now circumstances bring these two together. Marty gains custody of her true daughter and Andrea must leave her grandparents and the only home she's ever known. The story unfolds chapter by chapter and draws the reader into the hearts of each character. You will find yourself wanting them to just give up their battles and run to each other in love. The Blue Moon Drive-in as old fashioned as it can be becomes a place of healing and redemption for a family suffering loss and seeking a future. I recommend this book.
Every mother's nightmare becomes reality when two girls are switched at birth in Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon. Debbie Thomas has captured the emotions of the major players, from the mother whose daughter is returned to her after the death of the girl she thought was her daughter to the girl whose world has been turned upside down in the switch. Compelling from start to finish.
He ate a mouse then gave her one ((Have fun))
(Txs :)) Silentfeather grinned and ate the mouse quickly. "Its cold" she whispered...slightly pressing against him
A mother's nightmare.....babies switched at birth. You don't find out until the child you have loved and raised is found to have a fatal genetic disease. How do you handle this? Very realistic. I enjoyed this book very much. I recommend for readers aged fifteen and up. Well edited. No sex, cursing, blood and gore. About 300 pages. This book is life as people live it, not rich or famous or extremly successful, but struggling to make ends meet, making mistakes, loving their famlies and facing each day and obstacles as they arise. Just like the rest of us. AD
(Srry had to leave for the weekend) my MAIN animal form is normaly either a large black tom with grey blue eyes or a white tiger with grey stripes and sky blue eyes.
The last two years have been very rough for Marty Winslow and her family. Her daughter Ginger died from Niemann-Pick disease, which makes no sense since neither of her parents are carriers. Ginger could not have been their biological daughter affirmed by a blood and DNA test that proved conclusively she belonged to another family as a second mother gave birth at the hospital that same night as Marty did. That child Andie is given into the custody of Marty because her parents died and she was prohibited from moving into her grandparents¿ senior citizen trailer home community.----------------- It is not easy for Andie to move in with her biological mother and her two biological sisters, who are all strangers to her. The oldest sister Deja resents her and the younger sibling Winnie tries too hard to welcome her. Each misbehaves in their own way and Marty tries to cope with bringing her three daughters into a family unit.------------------ All of the major characters are feeling a lot of anguish and pain inside their hearts how each copes lifts this memorable work from being an ordinary soap opera and overcomes the stigma of insuring no rivals for the parenting of Andie. She especially struggles with going to a stranger even if she shares DNA with that woman as she refuses to accept her grandparents are realistic as they know they are to old to care for her although they love her this adds to her feeling of being alone even with two sisters and a mom who insists she is not a replacement for Ginger. This is a deep five tissue box tearjerker.-------- Harriet Klausner