The Life She Was Given

This story made me think of the quote by Harper Lee: “You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.”  Meet heroine number one, Lilly, who survives daunting familial abuse only to face even more when she is sold to a circus sideshow traveling through the town in which she lives.

Lilly is a beautiful child, but because it’s the 1930s and she’s a child with albinism, she’s turned into a freakish oddity. Her family locks her away in their attic until she is sold by her mother to the circus at age 10. Having never been allowed to venture outside of her attic domain, she is terrified by her new surroundings and struggles to adjust to them. Ultimately, she develops friendships, finds love, and becomes a featured star performing with her beloved elephants in the Big Tent.

Fast forward several years to when heroine number two, Julia, inherits a horse farm, including the family mansion where Lilly was incarcerated as a youngster. As Julia explores the house, she uncovers hidden areas and secrets to which she is determined to find the answers. She finds her father’s diary. For what horrible deeds did he seek forgiveness? Who is the mysterious Lilly? Her father’s mistress perhaps? Or?

This is not a particularly happy story. However, it shines with the resilience and determination of strong women who refuse to be defeated by adverse circumstances. It also is an insightful look into the bonds created between animals and humans as well as behind-the-scenes life as a circus performer. Does Julia solve the mystery of Lilly? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Go to Great Finds and Giveaways for the chance to be the new owner of my copy of Ellen Marie Wiseman’s The Life She Was Given.

  1. Krista Butters Davis says:

    I am so excited to read this book. It is the next book I will be reading once I finish When The Jessamine Grows. It’s sitting on my nightstand waiting for me! I have enjoyed books from Ellen Marie Wiseman in the past and I bet this one is just as intriguing. Her writing style really draws me in. Plus, I love reading books about strong women determined to overcome what lies in their path.

  2. Krista Butters Davis says:

    I started this book on Monday and can’t put it down! Lilly’s story really draws me in and I am completely baffled at how her mother could treat her the way she does. I also feel really drawn to her because my oldest is really close in age to her when she is sold to the circus. I couldn’t imagine treating my children the same way. I can’t wait to see what secrets Julia discovers and what the outcome for Lilly is.

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