Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review - The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman


About The Book:

On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn't allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She's never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it's for Lilly's own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time--and sold to the circus sideshow.

More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents' estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.

At first, The Barlow Brothers' Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus's biggest attraction. . .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly's fate and her family's shocking betrayal, and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last.

Moving between Julia and Lilly's stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.

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My Thoughts:

Maybe it comes from my childhood, experiencing every circus that came within a 100-mile radius of our home (my dad was a huge circus fan!), but I really enjoy books which highlight the magic and excitement of the circus! That subject matter, and the gorgeous cover of "The Life I Was Given," by Ellen Marie Wiseman, caught my attention as I was perusing the new fall fiction section.

However, there was so much more than bright lights and wonderment within the pages of this fascinating book!  Wiseman delivers a story that packs a huge punch as she tells about the life of a lonely girl who finally finds love among people who understand her, only to have it snatched away just when life looks the best; and the story of that girl's daughter who finds many years later the family's horrifying secrets that cost her the love of a mother.

I love a great story that moves along at break-neck speed, and "The Life I Was Given" certainly fills that bill perfectly. It is truly a "stay-up-till-sunrise" kind of book, and I salute Ellen Wiseman for her immense talent and superior storytelling skills.

Grab a box of popcorn, some cotton candy and a big ol' Coke and sit back to enjoy this mesmerizing novel!

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About The Author:

Ellen Marie Wiseman

A first-generation German American, Ellen Marie Wiseman discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in NYS. She is a bestselling author whose novels have been translated into seventeen languages. Her debut novel, THE PLUM TREE, is loosely based on her mother’s stories about growing up in Germany during the chaos of WWII. THE PLUM TREE received much praise for its depiction of WWII and was named by Bookbub as One of Thirteen Books To Read if You Loved ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE.

Ellen’s second novel, WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND, was named a Huffington Post Best Books of Summer 2015. Her third novel, COAL RIVER, was called "one of the most "unputdownable" books of 2015" by The Historical Novel Review. Her fourth novel, THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN, will be released in July 2017. She lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and two spoiled Shih-tzus, Izzy and Bella. When she’s not busy writing, she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Find Ellen on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/EllenMarieWisemanAuthor

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I purchased this book for my personal library. I was not compensated for my opinions.

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1 comment:

Mystica said...

A new one for me. Thanks for the review.