The Life She Was Given

The Life She Was Given

Large Print - 2017
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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.
Publisher: Thorndike, Maine : Center Point Large Print, ©2017.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781683245032
Characteristics: 527 pages ;,23 cm.


From the critics

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Jun 12, 2020

Ambivalence abounds. Tough, cruel, non-redemptive and I couldn’t put it down.

Aug 03, 2019

This is a very interesting book but there are heartbreaking parts to read if you are an animal lover.

Feb 18, 2019

Enjoyed this book! Similar to Water for Elephants. One part toward the end (involving one of the elephants -- those who have read it know which part) had me horrified and enraged. When I read later that it was based on a true historical event, I was even more enraged! Good twist nearly at the end that will have you in tears -- again.

Oct 15, 2018

This was a very good book

Aug 01, 2018

What a great read!! It sucked me in within the first few pages. You will not be disappointed.

May 11, 2018

This was a great read that really put your emotions on a roller-coaster! It gives you another glimpse of the reality of Circus life back in the 1930's-40's the way "Water for Elephants" did, with the same kind of sometimes shocking cruelty among life with the big does a good job of weaving the past and the future together. I highly recommend it but know you are going to probably share some tears at some point.

Mar 18, 2018

I enjoyed this book. Dual time lines that complimented each other. Great characters, interesting plot development, particularly involving the early circus days. The plot surrounding the circus reminded me a bit of Water for Elephants (an absolutely great book).
Overall, very bleak and sad, but enough light to keep you reading for hope of a happy ending.... I'll have to let you read it to find out for yourself.....

Feb 26, 2018

A family saga and a twisted tale of suspense and horror......alternating chapters which gave
us past and present reveled issues of religious fanaticism, human physical
disabilities, animal treatment and the deepest family secrets .....highly recommend!!!!!!!!

It is frustrating to read a novel that bounces back and forth from one to the other sister and different eras in every chapter. It is an artificial construction and makes for an unsatisfying read. However the story is very interesting and worth the effort to plough through the book.

Feb 13, 2018

A heartbreaking story of a young girl sold to the circus, by her mother who looked at her daughter’s “aberration” as a sin. Life in a circus wasn’t easy, in fact, it could be downright scary, but Lilly discovers that the circus family is family and she found support and love as well as hard work. I was hoping for a fairy-tale ending, but I appreciate an author who writes honestly.

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