The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime

The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime

by Liz Tolsma


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A Desperate Mother Searches for Her Child
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime

Widowed in Memphis during 1932, Cecile Dowd is struggling to provide for her three-year-old daughter. Unwittingly trusting a neighbor puts little Millie Mae into the clutches of Georgia Tann, corrupt Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society director suspected of the disappearance of hundreds of children. With the help of a sympathetic lawyer, the search for Millie uncovers a deep level of corruption that threatens their very lives.
How far will a mother go to find out what happened to her child?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781643520452
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/01/2019
Series: True Colors Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 386,211
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.38(h) x (d)

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

Read an Excerpt


Summer 1933

Momma, Momma, watch me."

Cecile Dowd turned from the old blackened cookstove where the chicken broth simmered and peeked into the bedroom at her brown-haired three-year-old daughter who jumped on the thin mattress.

"Millie Mae, be careful. You'll fall."

"No, Momma." But at the next landing, her foot missed the edge of the bed, and she tumbled off.

Fat tears rolled down her cheeks, and wails cut the peace of the early afternoon. Cecile rushed to her and cradled Millie in her arms. "That's why you must obey Momma. Then you won't get hurt. Do you understand?"

Millie sniffled. "I be good."

"Why don't you play with your dolly so I can finish lunch?" Cecile kissed the top of her daughter's head.

"Okay." Millie picked up her secondhand, soft-bodied baby. She smoothed down the yellow dress Cecile had sewn for the doll. "My baby pretty."

Cecile smiled. "Yes, she is. But she's not as pretty as you are."

"Momma's pretty."

Could a heart fill and burst with love? Millie followed Cecile into the kitchen and plopped on the floor with the toy, pretending to pour tea for her.

Good. Maybe a few uninterrupted minutes. While the stock bubbled, Cecile cut and buttered bread to eat with it. She wiped her hands on her apron. What was she feeling on it? Oatmeal. From breakfast. Great. She dashed to the bedroom to grab a clean apron.

From the corner of her eye, she caught sight of Millie as she toddled toward the hot oven.

"Millie." She raced to the kitchen, caught the girl with her hand outstretched, and plopped the child into her too-small-for-her crib. Millie tugged on the already-peeling rose-peppered wallpaper. Maybe that would keep her occupied for a few minutes.

Before Cecile could tie her apron, Millie climbed over the crib's rails and headed toward the kitchen. "Millie, no."

The girl stopped for just a second then continued in the direction of danger. Even with only two rooms in the apartment, keeping track of her was impossible.

She scooped up Millie and balanced the little one on her hip. Millie squirmed and hung upside down in an attempt to break free from Cecile's hold.

"Stop it this instant, Millie Mae. Do you hear me?" The child deserved a harsher punishment, but Cecile had no energy to mete it out. Her arms ached from the effort required to maintain her grip. When Millie continued to wriggle, Cecile swatted her little bottom.

The child let loose with an earsplitting howl.

Tears burned the back of Cecile's throat. "Hush, hush, Momma's sorry. But you must behave." Oh, how could Nathaniel have left her alone to deal with all of this?

A year after his death from an infection, they were low on money. Just a few months' worth of rent were left in the bank account. Her part-time job at the nursery school helped, but the savings continued to dwindle.

She glanced at the letter lying on the corner of the worn kitchen table. One she'd sent to her parents in Massachusetts, begging for help. Another one returned unopened.

With Nathaniel's parents deceased, she had no one else to turn to.

She sat the girl on one of two rough chairs at the scarred table and gave her a pencil and an envelope containing a doctor's bill she couldn't pay. "You draw Momma a pretty picture."

"Okay." As she got down to work, Millie stuck out her lower lip. She resembled Nathaniel so much when she did that. "I draw me and Momma."

"That sounds wonderful. I can't wait to see it." Cecile relaxed her shoulders. How long this would last was anyone's guess.

From outside came shouts, a couple having a fight, an infant screaming at the top of his lungs, dogs barking. What she wouldn't give for the peace and quiet of the New England farm where she'd grown up. But Nathaniel was a dreamer, and he'd envisioned making his fortune in Memphis by selling automobiles in the booming market and saving enough money to buy his own dealership.

The summer heat pressed on her, and she wiped the sweat that trickled across her brow and down her temple. Memphis proved not to be a land flowing with milk and honey but a wasteland. What he'd earned, they'd lost in the stock market crash just after Millie's birth.

She picked up a pair of Millie's frilly white socks and went to return them to the bedroom. An acrid odor, something burning, reached her. She hustled to the kitchen. Millie had pulled her chair to the stove and stood stirring the broth, sloshing much of it onto the hot burner.

Cecile grabbed the child. "You aren't supposed to be by the stove."

"I help, Momma."

Someday, the girl would be helpful, but today wasn't that day. "I know you want to help, but you are too little." Cecile stood her in the tiny room's far corner. "You stay there."

In no time, Millie joined Cecile in front of the hot oven. "No, you don't go near the stove. Have a drink of water." She reached into the cupboard for a glass. As Cecile's fingers brushed it, Millie tugged on her. The cup slipped from the cabinet and shattered on the floor.

"Millicent Mae Dowd, look at what you made me do." With each word, Cecile's voice rose in pitch.

Millie opened her mouth and released a wail to rival that of any injured cat.

The apartment door swung open. No, please, no. A visit from Mrs. Ward was the last thing Cecile needed.

"Cecile, dear, is everything okay?" Stooped, gray-haired Mrs. Ward from downstairs popped in. Not what Cecile needed, an annoyed neighbor snooping on the disaster area they called home. She pulled her lace-trimmed handkerchief from her pocket and wiped her nose.

"I'm sorry. We broke a glass. I'll keep Millie quiet." She lifted the child into her arms and straightened her ruffled dress.

Mrs. Ward surveyed the room in a single sweep. "I'm far too old to do much good, but maybe I can help you in some way." Her honey-smooth Southern accent washed over Cecile.

No. God told you to work with your own hands. "We're fine."

The old woman shuffled toward Cecile, her cane tapping the way. She touched Cecile's shoulder, and Cecile fought the urge to weep like Millie. If only Momma were here. If only Momma still loved her and accepted her.

"You can't do this by yourself, but I have a solution. Miss Georgia Tann is doing wonderful things at the Tennessee Children's Home Society. She'll take this little darlin' in and watch her for you until you can manage. And it won't cost you a thing. Just temporary, you know. Soon you'll have Millie home and everything back to rights."

Cecile squeezed her daughter. "I could never give her up. Not in a million years." Even if it meant Cecile didn't eat or sleep, she'd do what she had to do to keep Millie.

Didn't Mrs. Ward understand? Millie was all Cecile had left of Nathaniel. The little piece of him she adored and cherished. Millie was everything to her. The very breath in her lungs.

"Bless your heart. At least let me get a broom and sweep up this mess."

"No!" The word burst from Cecile's lips with more force than she intended. She struggled to lower her voice. "Thank you. I have everything under control."

Mrs. Ward patted Cecile's arm, her hand gnarled with arthritis and rough from years of hard work. "Of course you do, but think about what I said." She shuffled away and out the door.

"I hungry, Momma."

Cecile brushed Millie's cheek with the back of her fingers. "Lunch isn't quite ready. As soon as it is, we'll eat."

They could do this. They would weather this storm. Hardship was part of life. Once more, she went to the bedroom and sat Millie on the floor. Cecile stopped to straighten the bed's quilt. In seconds, Millie was gone, and great sobbing cries came from the other room.

Cecile rushed to her daughter, who stood in the middle of the shattered glass, blood dripping from her hand.

No, she couldn't do this. She couldn't do it at all.

* * *

Cecile's shoes might as well have been filled with lumps of iron for how heavy they were and how her legs burned as she climbed the three stories' worth of creaky, uneven stairs. A sandwich and her mattress called to her.

What a long day. And a fruitless one. No full-time employment. The depression held the country in its grip. Not a single company wanted to hire a woman with no job experience. Not even the cotton company where Nathaniel had found a job after they lost their automobile business. The factory was where he was working when he was injured and got a blood infection, the one that killed him.

She shook away the thoughts before she burst into tears. Right now, she had more pressing problems.

After pausing on the landing for a moment to catch her breath and wipe the sweat from the back of her neck, she turned to the right, to Mrs. Ward's apartment. The elderly woman had agreed to watch Millie for a few hours. If they had both survived the encounter, it would be a miracle.

All was silent. Mrs. Ward must have gotten Millie to take a nap. Cecile would have to ask what her secret was. She knocked at the door.

Mrs. Ward ushered Cecile inside, the bun in her gray hair so tight it kept her wrinkled skin from sagging. "Did you have any success, my dear?"

Cecile shook her head. "All I want now is to snuggle with Millie, although, with this nap she's having, she's not going to want to sleep tonight. You're amazing. She won't lay down for me."

"Have a seat. I'll pour you some tea."

"That's very sweet of you, but I would just like to go home. I'm exhausted."

"Have a seat." Mrs. Ward hardened her gray eyes the same way Momma used to when she was upset with Cecile.

She thumped into the well-worn chair, and Mrs. Ward settled beside her.

"I've seen how hard it's been on you, darlin', since your husband died. Bless your heart, Millie is a handful, and you need more work to support yourself."

"We're managing." They were for now, but how much longer could she go on this way?

"Remember I mentioned the Tennessee Children's Home Society a few days ago?"

"Yes." What was this about?

"It was for the best, dear."

"What was?" Her middle cramped. Where was Millie?

"I couldn't bear to see you struggling. And with you having to work, the child needs to be cared for."

"I'll figure it out." She swallowed hard.

"I called Miss Tann."

Cecile jumped from her seat, her heart doing the Charleston in her chest. "You did what?"

"She'll take care of Millie. Find her a good family, one who can give her the things you can't."

A buzz filled Cecile's head, drowning out the rest of what Mrs. Ward said. "Millie is ..."

"With Georgia Tann. She does such wonderful work for children."

Cecile again lost track of Mrs. Ward's words. Millie gone? That couldn't be. She was Cecile's daughter not Mrs. Ward's. "You had no right. How could you give away my child?"

Now the old lady had the decency to study her short fingernails. "Well, I ... It was quite easy. And Miss Tann told me it was fine. That we had to do what was in Millie's best interest."

Cecile's chest was about to explode. "Her best interest? What about being with her mother? A mother who loves her more than the sun and the moon? What did you do, forge my signature?" Mrs. Ward picked at a hangnail.

Cecile grabbed Mrs. Ward by the shoulders and almost shook the stuffing from her. "My baby! My baby! Where is she? I have to get her back."

"I don't know." Mrs. Ward leaned back in her chair.

Cecile released her grip. "How could you? That woman kidnapped my baby."

"Don't get yourself in a fuss. Think of Millie. She's the most important person in this horrible mess."

"She's mine. No one else can have her."

"You're hysterical. Let me get you a drink of water."

"Water isn't going to solve my problems. I need my daughter back. Millie! Millie!" She ran from the apartment, down the stairs, and to the street.

"Millie! Millie!"

No sweet chatter. No big hugs. No snuggles in the night. Nothing.

Cecile fell to her knees in the middle of the walk. "Millie, oh Millie!" She sobbed for a long while. When she'd exhausted her store of tears, she wiped her eyes and raised her focus to the heavens. "I promise, Millicent Mae, I swear to you, I will find you and get you back. I will never give up on you."

She had to act. Fast. Before Miss Tann snatched Millie away forever.


Little Millie Dowd's screeches made those of a banshee appear tame, and she kicked the seat in front of her as the black Cadillac rolled down the street and out of the slums of Memphis. Percy Vance resisted the urge to cover his ears to drown out the little girl's cries. Instead, he squirmed in his tufted seat and stared out the window.

Why Miss Tann insisted on bringing him today as they removed this child from her unsuitable home, he had no idea, but the child's tantrum unsettled him. He turned away from the scene out the window.

Miss Tann grabbed the child by the upper arm and gave her a glare that could freeze the Amazon River. "That is enough. I will tolerate no more noise. Not a peep."

The brim of the child's pink bonnet hid her face. Just as well. Percy hated the images of the children they'd snatched away from their parents. Images that taunted him. Today, he'd stayed in the automobile with James, the driver.

"Poor mite. The house she came from was awful. The neighbor let me into the apartment. Peeling wallpaper, uneven furniture, warped and worn wood floors." Miss Tann continued, but he didn't listen.

He shuddered and blocked the images that fought to work themselves to the front of his mind. He'd left all that behind, and he'd never return there. "She's a feisty one."

"This is why we remove children from homes such as hers. That mother was so neglectful, the living conditions not fit for a rat. I'll reform the girl and give her a better life. Though with her brown hair and green eyes, it won't be easy."

Percy furrowed his brow. "What does her appearance have to do with anything?"

"Her coloring will hinder us in finding an adoptive home. Everyone wants a blond-haired, blue-eyed child."

"Oh." Because that was the ideal, the standard for beauty in America. He sighed and shifted in his seat.

"We'll do what we can with her." Miss Tann adjusted her round, wireless glasses and stared out the window at the brick buildings rising to the sky, meeting electric wires running overhead.

"The world needs more women like you, Miss Tann." More women who rescued children from despicable places in the world and gave them loving homes. A savior like the one he had needed. Acid ate at his stomach, and he fidgeted in his seat much like the little tyke. "What if the mother loved the child though?"

"Love isn't everything, Mr. Vance. Love doesn't give a child money, comfort, or ease in life."

Maybe not, but love did matter, didn't it? Then again, how would he know?

Miss Tann didn't turn from peering out the window. "And those weren't the worst conditions in which I've found children. It's disgraceful how the poor and wretched treat their offspring."

"Yes, I do agree."

"It's the job of the Tennessee Children's Home Society to provide for the welfare of all children, to give every child the opportunity to know a home of love and of means."

"I concur."

"Good." Now she did turn to him and spoke over Millie's head. "That's why I hired you as my legal assistant. With your background, you understand our mission."

"My background?" He'd told her nothing of it. Instead, he'd skirted his history until the time he won a full scholarship to Vanderbilt Law School. How had she found out?

"I know all, Mr. Vance."

He clenched his hands but gave her a polite smile. Or his best attempt at it.

"I hope you will prove yourself worthy of my trust in you."

"Of course I will."

"That's good. Very good."

He'd do what it took to prove that her faith in him was warranted. "So what happens with Millie now?"

"She'll be placed with a much more suitable family, one who can provide for her every need."

"And if she can't be placed?"

"Don't worry, Mr. Vance, I will find her a placement."

What noble people who took in such children. "That's wonderful. I'm glad to be able to help."

She reached across Millie, who now rocked against the back of the seat, and patted Percy's hand, her fingers like ice. "I'm happy to have you. We train up children in the way they should go."

The Bible reference warmed him through, and he thanked the Lord for bringing him to this place where he could do good for society's most vulnerable.

They rolled into the heart of Memphis, down Madison Street, tall brick and stone buildings rising like canyon walls on either side of them. Cars' horns honked, and the trolley's bell clanged.

The chauffeur pulled in front of a seven-story stone building with arched doorways overseen by lions' heads and pairs of columns supporting the second and third stories. The Goodwyn Institute, as this building was known, housed not only the office of the Tennessee Children's Home Society and other businesses but also a library and an auditorium.

"Here we are, Mr. Vance. If you could leave those contracts we discussed earlier, I will see to them tomorrow."

"You don't want me to come with you to drop off Millie?"

"I can manage quite well."

"But she's so fiery." Despite her size, Miss Tann wouldn't be able to carry and control the child.

"Nothing a little discipline won't rectify."


Excerpted from "The Pink Bonnet"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Liz Tolsma.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
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.

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The Pink Bonnet: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
BlueJeansAndTeacups 6 months ago
•°o•:*:•. ***TRAUMATIC STORY*** .•:*:• o°• Summer 1933, Tennessee I'm not sure why anyone would want to write a gut-wrenching story about kidnapped children and the horror of a mother's quest to find her stolen daughter. This was a very difficult read. I gave it 2 stars (vs. 1) because it was well written despite my lack of enjoyment of it. This is certainly not what one could call entertainment. There are strong thematic elements including physical abuse, so caution is advised. This story is based on real-life events involving the kidnapping and selling of thousands of children by one woman (Georgia Tann) and a slew of corrupt politicians, which is awful, but having it rewoven into a semi-fictional tale for entertainment purposes is not my cup of tea. I downloaded a copy of this book through Net Galley via the publisher with no fee and no compensation in the hopes of an honest review. My opinion is entirely my own.
1st-Reader-of-stories 13 hours ago
The Pink Bonnet # NetGalley Liz Tolsma ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Liz Tolsma did a great job on her debut novel. This is a heartbreaking story about the broken adoption system in Tennessee when it was run by dishonest, non ethical figures who had no scruples In abusing the system. At times, as a reader, it just made my blood boil as to how these unfortunate children and parents were treated. The story follows one mother who after having her daughter taken, does everything in her power to get her back. She does gain some support along the way who help her in her persuit of her daughter. The system is so corrupt that it is hard to know who to trust. This story is based on a real person, Georgia Tann, who ruled over this system from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. I have read several stories based on these tragic adoptions and the broken system that allowed it to happen. This story does have a happy ending, but not all of them did. It is a real eye opener if you have not read about these horrible true stories about this broken adoption system. I do recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction, with a little romance thrown in. 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced read copy of this book for an honest review. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Anonymous 18 days ago
Life can be rough for a single mother. In 1933, it was worse. Looking for help to support herself and her 3 year old daughter, When her daughter disappears from The children's home run by Georgia Tann, it will be a long legal battle to find her. I've read several books based on Georgia Tann and her long career of selling children. The subject has always stirred incredible disbelief that her system could have survived for so long and broken so many families. This book takes a different, more personal, approach to a dark time in history. As the mother and her lawyer search for her daughter, they will find and report to authorities enough crimes to crumble the Tann Home for Children.
Perrianne 27 days ago
Widowed Cecile Dowd is doing her best as a young mother to take care of her daughter, Millie Mae. Times are tough, though and jobs are pretty scarce during the Depression. The summer of 1933 was a difficult time for everyone and most especially for the single mother living in a rundown apartment. Cecile makes the mistake of leaving her daughter with the neighbor for a short time while this neighbor calls the society to have them take Millie due to poor care of the child. Cecile is devastated and is only left with Millie’s pink bonnet. She takes every avenue she can think of to get her child back, but just gets roadblocks at each attempt. She finds a sympathetic attorney that is actually willing to help her and they both quickly find out just how corrupt this woman and the society were. The horrendous reign of Georgia Tann over the Tennessee Children’s Home Society was striking fear in the hearts of parents across the city. Memphis was as corrupt as it could be and Miss Tann literally got away with everything that she did. She stole children that she found living in “unacceptable” conditions and took them off the street corners if their parents weren’t watching closely. It was a tense time in our nation, and most especially in Memphis where this lawless woman kidnapped children on a daily basis. She took over 5,000 children and they were literally sold to the highest bidder. This was a money-making scheme for her and she lived well, raking in the bucks from people who desperately wanted a child. This is part of True Colors, historical stories of American Crime series from Barbour Publishing. As a mother of two adult children, this is a difficult book to read because losing your child is a mother’s worse nightmare. I can’t imagine being in the situation of losing a child through no fault of your own. The Great Depression is dragging on and this mother is really doing the best that she can with a part time job. Her home is clean and neat but shabby due to lack of funds. The author handles the story very well and this fictionalized version of a true story will keep you turning the pages. There are excellent author notes at the end that details the research involved in the novel. I received a copy of the book as a giveaway from the publisher and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous 29 days ago
What makes this story heartbreaking is that it’s a fictional story about Georgia Tann and her adoptions. I can only imagine what the mothers felt like when their babies were taken and given to homes that Tann thought were better. Meaning those that could pay for the babies. This story is one you won’t be able to put down.
D_Maddox 30 days ago
This was a good read. I cannot say I enjoyed it because it tells a true and tragic story. Child abduction and abuse resulting from greed are hard to read about. The story flows very well and there is plenty of action and drama. I would read other works by this author.
vics49548 3 months ago
You know how people often say that they couldn’t put a book down? And you probably think, “yeah, right.” Well I couldn’t put this book down. And knowing it was based on a true story made it even more riveting. Do be aware that this is a difficult subject, so while it was riveting it wasn’t fun, easy reading. Author Liz Tolsma does a fantastic job of bringing her characters, both good and bad, to life. It’s incredible to think about people doing the awful things that Georgia Tann did. But in reality those things happened and this story brings the horror of 1932 Memphis to light. I found myself emotionally pulled into this story and I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction based on truth. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
TexasDeb 3 months ago
I rarely read Christian fiction, not because I have a religious difference with it, but because I often find the writing to be sub-par. However, when I was offered the opportunity to read Liz Tolsma’s “The Pink Bonnet,” I was intrigued by the subject she chose for this debut novel, so I decided to give it a read. This book takes us back again to Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, which many of us read about in “Before We Were Yours.” I’m not going to say much more about it, except to add that this story is written primarily from the point of view of a mother whose child was abducted by Ms. Tann. It was written in a way that kept me turning pages quickly, and while there were more than one ongoing sub-plots, I never felt like I was pulled in too many directions. My only minor complaint with the writing was that a couple of times in the last few chapters the writer threw in some “spiritual” comments or thoughts by the characters that felt a bit forced, as if she remembered she was publishing this as Christian fiction and had better add something to justify that. Overall, though, the writing was well done. Thank you to Netgalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
lmnop99 3 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. I have not read a book by Liz Tolsma before but she is a wonderful Storyteller. I was awed by the suspense and literally could not put the book down because I had to know what happened next. I love this series because of the element of historical fact that is woven through the story and it really gives you a sense of being in the moment and experiencing the trauma that the victims of these True Crime criminals has experienced. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review
GrandmaKaye 3 months ago
Come read the heart-wrenching quest of the young widow Cecile Dowd to recover her precious three-year-old Millie Mae. Cecile had been deceived by her busybody neighbor, old Mrs. Ward who had given Millie to an adoption agency while Cecile was job-hunting. The greedy and domineering Georgia Tann has many influential people fooled by her supposed good works, but those who know what she really does, don’t dare stand in her way – and some mysterious deaths are reported in the newspapers. Besides Cecile and her lawyer friend Percy Vance, characters include the harsh Willard Knowles; some unkind, gossipy women; sleazy, greedy politicians and judges; and some helpful, desperate mothers whose children also have disappeared. Cecile and Percy follow clue after misleading clue, alternately hopeful, then completely devastated time and again. Surprisingly, Cecile and Percy receive help from some people who previously had been duped by Miss Tann. Many frightening situations such as a gunman, car chases, and a fire confront them as Cecile and Percy near the end of their search. Good literature has the power to evoke strong emotions from the reader. For a while The Pink Bonnet made me furious, and I gasped after I finished the book and realized that it was based on a historical situation. I then noted that this book is part of the True Colors, Historical Stories of American Crime Series. I highly recommend reading The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
KLyles 3 months ago
My review about The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma. Is the first book I read from this author, and I need to say that it broke my heart to read about what went on in Memphis in 1933. The heartache and horror the mothers of these babies and children went through having their children kidnapped with nowhere to go for help. But most horrific the feelings these little ones experienced in not seeing their mother, family and some ending in terrifying tragedies at the hands of the people this person Georgia Tann from the Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society sold them too. This is the story of Cecile Dowd and her 3yr old daughter Millie. That was kidnapped when her mother in trusted her to a neighbor and the neighbor gave her away while Cecile looked for a better job for her and her daughter. The story/ history that happened captivated me. I felt more than several times jumping in the book and wanting to stop this lady from what she did. Other times I felt a tightness in my heart as I read the feelings Cecile Dowd went through and thinking to myself I would go crazy out of my mind if it happened to me. Is a story that will pull you in and you would want to just get into this Georgia's mind to know what made her do this. Was she treated bad as young, was she sold or pushed away from people that were suppose to care for her. In the story Cecile's daughter Millie is sold to a couple where her age was changed and being sold to the highest paying person, she was treated bad, abused by working her like a 6yr old and doing all the chores an adult would get tired from. This book will grab your attention you don't want to close it because each page is filled with surprises, mystery and suspense within it's pages you will try to keep hope that good will WIN. If you love reading and learning about times in History with a dash of mystery, Hope, Faith, and Suspense this is the book for you to add to your library.
Wanda_M 3 months ago
A true heartbreaker! THE PINK BONNET by Liz Tolsma, is so intriguing. I kept reading page after page. Chapter after chapter. I was captured from the first sentence. There was so much sadness, anger, and deceit. The bigest question of all was, "why" was this happening? Especially to Cecile and her child Millie? It was the summer of 1933, and Cecile Dowd, a widow, had left her child with a neighbor while she was out. When she got back, her child was gone. What had happened to her little Millie? Cecile was so devistated she yelled at her neighbor and ran out the door, ran into the street yelling her daughter's name over and over, then fell to her knees and cried. That part really tore at my heart. Then she vowed to get Millie back. There was also another part of the story that got to me. When they were taking little Millie away in chapter two. Will Cecile strike back at the neighbor? Will she run to the police? Will she confront Georgia Tann? She could not afford a lawyer. What will Cecile do? Will she ever find Millie? If so, how would she get her back? The characters and story were awesome! A five star great read! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
JLink 3 months ago
The Pink Bonnet, by Liz Tolsma, was hard for me to get into. Knowing that the book was based on true events hurt my heart. Unfortunately for me, I had trouble relating to and liking the characters. Even the child and her behavior put me on edge. I feel like the main character, Cecile, made so many bad decisions and didn't look for help in the right places. The male character, Percy, was a little spineless. For a while, he appeared unbothered by the corruption and politics of the time in Memphis. While there is a somewhat happy ending, I was left wanting more. The pursuit and conclusion were frantic and disjointed. I hate saying this, but I think the book could have been better. That is just my opinion. Others will probably disagree. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
thedanielsr 4 months ago
Interesting story based on true history from 1930. So sad to think that children were stolen from loving parents.
Cheri5 4 months ago
I had read a book earlier this year about this same topic, this same woman, Ms. Georgia Tann, and it was wonderful. This book added more layers onto the book I originally read and was the “icing on the cake.” What a sad book; yet there was hope throughout as well. I love the characters; I loved the scenery and setting; I loved the story lines throughout and I loved how it made me feel as though I was right there. I highly recommend this book; although be prepared to have your heart ripped out throughout the pages as you feel what the characters are feeling as though you’re living it yourself. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions were strictly my own.
SouthernGalLovestoRead 4 months ago
Liz Tolsma's The Pink Bonnet is a well-written story set in the midst of a troubling piece of American history. For somewhere around 25 years, Georgia Tann ran an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee and is suspected of kidnapping hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of children and selling them for profit for herself and for those who were involved in the corrupt schemes with her. Liz Tolsma has obviously done a great deal of research on this troublesome time and has used that information as the back-drop for a fictional story. The characters and specific details from her own imagination give a taste of what those real children and their parents might have experienced. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about these historical events. The story moves a little slowly at times and comes across a little dark because of the content. But throughout it all, there is the uplifting story of a mother's love and determination to do anything she can to bring her child back home. Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
Ourpugs 4 months ago
The Pink Bonnet Wow, this is really quite a story. Based on something that happened in history. Georgia Tann ran adoption agency from 1924 to 1950. Things were not on the up and up for the adoptions. Cecile is a widow with a three year old daughter. Millie is taken and put up for adoption. Cecile is in search for her daughter. A lawyer helps her. Very suspenseful, and exciting. The book kept my attention throughout the story. A mother determined to find her daughter. I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review.
AFarley21 4 months ago
Liz Tolsma did an amazing job writing about a horrific time in history that I never even knew existed. Imagine living in 1933 and struggling to make ends meet in Memphis. The Pink Bonnet takes you there with the story of Cecile Dowd. Her daughter Millie is snatched from her by Georgia Tann, but nobody will believe her. Miss Tann has corrupt connections in high political places. No one wants to cross those people because you will end up dead. But Cecile cannot give up on her little Millie. Percy Vance is a legal assistant to Miss Tann. Something just doesn't seem right with the situation, but if he helps Cecile he will lose everything. Will Cecile be able to find Millie before she is sold? This is a must read!!!! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Deana0326 4 months ago
If you are looking for a feel good happily ever after book, this is the wrong book. What you will find is a story based on a true crime by a sinister, heartless and ruthless woman named Georgia Tann. I could not dislike a person more than this horrible woman. I was angry throughout the book that innocent children and parents were victimized by a woman who wanted nothing but power and money. Cecile was raising her young girl alone since her husband passed away. She struggled with bills, but her child was well taken care of. I loved her devotion to her child Millie and how much love she showed her. When a series of events take place, Cecile finds her daughter taken away from her home and put up for adoption. I still can't understand why her neighbor didn't seem to think it was suspicious that Millie was being taken away knowing how much Cecile loved her. I think the neighbor was led to believe that the child was in danger and not being taken care of properly. I won't go into a lot of the story because it needs to be read so readers can feel the agony that Cecile went through trying to find her daughter. I will say that many children fell through the cracks due to Georgia Tann and not all were returned to the rightful parents. I can't imagine what torture it would be to know your child had been taken and you had no idea where they were. The author has written a very emotional story that captivated my full attention. I could not put it down and read it in a few hours. The details are painful to read at times and you can feel the adrenaline rush as the search for Millie starts to escalate. Cecile finds someone to help her and their lives are put in danger as they get closer to the truth. It is an intense read that will have you on the edge of your seat. Get ready for a powerful story written with depth, emotion and an ending that won't be forgotten. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
ARS8 4 months ago
The Pink Bonnet is a chillingly, creepy read that is actually based on a horrific true crime. This is part of the True Colors series focusing on historical American crime stories and this is one particular crime I had not read about before. It seems that being a parent and a child in Memphis, Tennessee during 1933 was a dangerous life situation. I know nothing is new under the sun and reading about how a very evil woman who kidnapped and sold children against their will and against their parent’s will shows another form of child slavery and trafficking. This story is based on one widowed woman’s fight against very evil people who are determined to stop her at every turn and in every way possible to make sure she never is reunited with her daughter again. There is a thread of romance that is actually a pleasant relief that is written into a very haunting tale. This is certainly a five star read as the tension and danger was around every corner and this mother’s desperation and hopelessness was palpable. A riveting read indeed. I was provided with a copy of this novel by the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
GailHollingsworth 4 months ago
1933 Memphis and children and babies are being snatched from their parents by a cruel, money grubbing woman. Pure evil exists and continues with the help of a politician, judge and lawyer, all crooked. This is true history involving Georgia Tann and Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society. She has fooled many people into thinking she’s doing a great job of saving children from abuse and poverty at the hands of their parents. When actually she’s kidnapping or stealing children right from under the parent’s noses. Although a fictional character in the story, Cecile Dowd represents many real parents who did have their children stolen. Cecile finds her three year old daughter missing at the hands of Tann and begins a long search with many dead ends. Aiding her search is Percy, a lawyer that originally was working for Tann, but had a change of heart. Cecile and her plight had me in heart pounding mode most of the time. Deathly danger followed anyone that was thought to be in the way of the adoption schemes. I found myself staying up late reading and nail biting to find out the outcome. Will Cecile succeed in finding her daughter or will death come her way? I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise.
MelissaF 4 months ago
The thought this is is based on actual events is enough to break your heart. But then to read Cecile’s story and the heartache she goes through will pull at anyone’s heartstrings, but especially a momma’s. With that being said…I have read several other books by Liz and liked them a lot so I was excited to read this book by her, but for some reason it felt surface level for me. The characters lacked something and things seemed kind of fake. I hate to say that, I really do, but I felt like this book lacked depth. I am sure not everyone else will feel that way, so if this story sounds interesting I encourage you to give a read for yourself. Like I said, that fact that this was based on actual events will make you want to keep reading to see how things turn out. A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own.
PrincessGlor 5 months ago
This was a brutal read! Speaking as a Mama, reading this book and picturing my daughter in this situation was heartbreaking. Especially since my daughter has special needs, and I can only imagine how that evil woman would have reacted to that! Knowing that this was based on ACTUAL events: WOWZA! Liz did a good job at constructing a compelling story and it flows well with lots of twists and turns. It's the subject matter itself that lowers my rating. This isn't a book I will likely reread because it truly makes my heart hurt. I received this book from NetGalley and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
chemil33 5 months ago
Child Trafficking for Greed This book is well-written in depicting the greed and corruption of the managers of the Tennessee Home Society in the 1933s. Political corruption in our country is still in existence today. The story centers around the kidnapping of children under the guise of providing a more suitable home for them. The book is well-written and keeps the reader interested in finding the taken child. Political intrigue and the lengths those in power would go to maintain the status quo including deceit, lying, and even murder. The characters are real. The story is fictional, but the activities are historic. I liked the writing style of the author. It is well-worth the price. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Melissa Andres 5 months ago
The Pink Bonnet is a fictional telling of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home. Set in 1932, young, widowed Cecile is doing her best to provide for her three-year-old daughter Millie. While trying to find a job, her neighbor calls the children's home, thinking that they can provide better for the little girl and give Cecile some time to get on her feet. Georgia Tann takes Millie, forges Cecile's signature to turn over custody, and she disappears. The fact that this is a true-crime story is simply unbelievable. This was a dark time in our history and The Pink Bonnet tells the account well! The characters are quite enjoyable. I appreciated Cecile's I'll-never-give-up attitude. She worked tirelessly to find her daughter, continuing on even when it seemed a lost cause. Percy Vance, previously Tann's lawyer, helps Cecile using connections that he has formed. His character turns pretty quickly from believing the best about Tann to helping find Millie. All in all I enjoyed this story and learning a bit more about this horrible event in history. I received a complimentary copy of the ebook through NetGalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.