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Judy Ray turns family history into compelling fiction with ‘Betrayals’

Judy H. Ray's first novel, “A Legacy of Betrayals”

As a family story that has been fictionalized, I can say that Tallahassee writer Judy H. Ray’s first novel, “A Legacy of Betrayals” (Judy H. Ray 2021) is one of the better ones I have read.

It is a retelling of her and her four siblings having to live with an alcoholic father. However, in the novel, the siblings are not mentioned, and it is instead told as one person.

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First, I must admit that I not only know this author, but I was also a part of the critique group that helped shape the story. But Ray, a member of the Tallahassee Writer’s Association, has taken it to another level, entirely. When I left the group, the story was nowhere near as complete or as compelling as this book is now.

The story begins in 1912 London, England, where 17-year-old Hillary Dearborn finds herself pregnant, unmarried, and expelled by an elite boarding school.

Judy Ray is the author of

Her parents do not want their disgraced daughter to continue to live with them because, heaven forbid, her father’s business reputation or their social standing in the community might be ruined. Why, her father was even a deacon in their church! So, they did what any self-respecting English couple would do — ship her off to her cousin and her husband in America.

In Boston, after the child named Ned, marked his 11th birthday, his mother is desperate to marry, and meets a man who wants to marry her. But he does not know the truth about her past, because she had always told people that her husband had died.

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