I know I spotlighted this book a couple months back, but when I was offered the chance to review it after hearing everyone rave about it, I jumped at the chance. The writing is exquisite.
A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.
Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can’t accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.
Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family’s home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. “So little is permissible for a woman,” writes Lilli, “yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood.”***
As a mother, I couldn’t help but relate to Lilli’s plight. It’s amazing to me how women and their “bastards” were treated back then. As if they were nothing without a husband. But at the same time, I applaud Lilli. She didn’t shrink back and let these things just happen to her. She did everything in her power to make sure her baby didn’t suffer. Most women would have given up. Lilli was a fighter. We could benefit a lot from her attitude and behavior today.
Yes, historical fiction fans will love this book. It was incredibly researched. And any topic in the book you have questions about is addressed in the Author’s Note. But I urge you to pick up this novel to both get a taste of how far we’ve come with women’s rights but also how much more of a battle we still have to fight. This novel brings that all to light.
Even though it was at times heartbreaking, I was confident in the author’s storytelling ability and amazed it was a debut. I know her future writing endeavors will be well worth the read. My thanks to HF Virtual Book Tours for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Visit Janet Benton’s website for more information and updates. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, July 10
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, July 11
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, July 12
Review at Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 13
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer
Friday, July 14
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, July 17
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads
Tuesday, July 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, July 19
Review at Creating Herstory
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, July 21
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, July 24
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Tuesday, July 25
Review at SJ2B House of Books
Wednesday, July 26
Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, July 27
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 28
Review at Just One More Chapter
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away TWO Notebooks featuring quotes from Lilli de Jong! Notebooks are spiral-bound (4×6 inches) with 50 blank pages. To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Lilli de Jong