A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


A Desperate Young 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?

Synopsis from The Pink Bonnet


A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

A ★★★★ Book Review of the Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma, Book Two in the True Colors series | Historical Stories of American Crime

★★★★ | The one thing no mother wants to face is the loss of her child. As a mother who’s experienced loss and as an adoptive mother, The Pink Bonnet yanked open doors and windows into my soul and brought me to tears.

Liz Tolsma took a true story of horrible tragedy and turned it into a beautiful tale of a mother’s love and how that love is a picture of the love God has for His own children.

The True Colors series is a series of books that highlights American crime. This particular story is that of Georgia Tann, the corrupt director of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society located in Memphis, TN. Miss Tann used highly unethical methods to secure and place children under the age of 7 into adoptive families from the 1920’s until the 1950’s. Her methods included deception, forcefulness, and kidnapping, which sets the plot for this fictional story.

Liz Tolsma does an excellent job of creating a suspenseful story line while keeping the details historically accurate. Cecile Dowd is a character that embodies every mother who’s ever lost a child and takes desperate measures to ensure that child’s safe return. As a mother, I identified with her desperation and determination. The cast of characters are all well developed and I felt a connection with each of them. Watching as each of their stories unfolds was a beautiful revelation of how God can use each one of us if only we allow it.

The only thing that kept my rating from five stars was the fact that Cecile’s plight wasn’t immediately taken to the police. I would think, if a child had been kidnapped, police would need to immediately notified. I was disturbed by this in the first half of the book. I did some research online at that point and discovered that oftentimes, these young mothers were considered poor and uneducated, making claims against what appeared to be a respected, licensed social worker. I also discovered the police officers even looked the other way because of affiliations Miss Tann had with high ranking politicians and offcials in the city. While these affiliations were made known in the book, the police aspect wasn’t truly revealed until the last chapters. I personally would have liked to have had that become known much earlier in the book and I would have found the storyline to be somewhat more believable. Regardless of that personal preference though, this novel is still worthy of all four stars.

The Pink Bonnet offers mild suspense, disturbingly accurate details, a heinous villain, a budding romance and a climatic conclusion. The underlying currents of desperation, hope, love and reunification are truly beautiful. I recommend it to readers who enjoy crime/suspense novels and even those who enjoy a historical romance.

While Georgia Tann will be forever known as a corrupt kidnapper and human trafficker who misused her license as a social worker for personal gain, God did use this horrible brokenness to create a more positive stigma surrounding adoptions. As a result we have better laws in place now, social workers who are routinely checked and adoptions are more open and public than they used to be. Our family, for one, is grateful for that as we enjoy an open adoption with our daughter’s birth family and celebrate them for their love and sacrifice. Adoption nearly always stems from brokenness, but there can be healing and beauty in the process if the parties involved choose love.


This mother, this child, loved each other with an overwhelming love, a love that knew no bounds, no limits, no ends. ...there was nothing like a mother’s love, other than God’s love for His own children.
— Liz Tolsma, The Pink Bonnet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Author Liz Tolsma | Photo Courtesy of  www.truecolorscrime.com

Author Liz Tolsma | Photo Courtesy of www.truecolorscrime.com

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 their two daughters. 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.

Visit Liz online at LizTolsma.com


Lastly, pick up your own copy of The Pink Bonnet or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below!