Historical Fiction Book Review: The Mending of Lillian Cathleen

 

Publisher's Description

It’s 1914. American women are demanding the vote. And the first flames of the Great War are igniting Europe. But a battle of a different sort rages in Oklahoma.

The thermometer registers one hundred six degrees, an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence even for the twenty-eighth day of July. But this is no ordinary day.

The jury has reached a verdict.

Lily fidgets in the old church pew. Her name has clotted into a by-word. Her blood is tainted. Can she right the wrongs? Or will her past forever define her?

She eyes the judge. And the courtroom holds its breath.

My Review

The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, by Linda Brooks Davis, is an historical fiction novel that tells a realistic and emotionally poignant story of one woman’s journey through serious loss, rejection, and grief. At times the story is heavy with extremely raw emotions and very painful truths. Yet, this journey through and beyond despair and heartache is significantly strengthened and uplifted by meaningful moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, restoration, healing, and reconciliation are made possible through God’s mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love. 
 
The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, the second book in the Women of Rock Creek series, may not always be an easy, light-hearted read because of its serious themes and content; however, it is an extremely meaningful, relevant, and thought-provoking novel. The author, Ms. Davis, is exceptionally talented at telling the story through the first person perspective of the main character, Lillian. Throughout the story, it is Lillian who must bravely pursue the answers to tough questions, while also fighting desperately to grasp the healing and the hope that might be found within her heartbreak. And it is within her search for hope and healing that the significant themes of this novel manage to encourage and inspire. Lillian perseveres. She carries on. She accepts help when needed. She chooses courage and selflessness. She finds faith. She fights for freedom and redemption for herself and for others. And in so doing, she becomes an inspiration, and her story becomes one of encouragement and hope. Lillian’s story shows that even though life can be very hard, and trials can befall anyone, God’s strength, grace, and forgiveness are always available to make the process of healing and restoration possible. 

Ms. Davis is truly a gifted storyteller. She seems to be unflinching when it comes to crafting relevant stories that need to be told. In The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Ms. Davis has written a compelling work of historical inspirational fiction that I can certainly recommend to all late-teen and adult readers who enjoy stories that include history, mystery, romance, and faith.

My Reflection


I found The Mending of Lillian Cathleen to be interesting and authentic. It is a deeply moving and thoughtfully written novel that touched me through its skillful use of relatable characters, historical settings, and meaningful themes. This powerful novel deftly explores issues and emotions that are related to very difficult experiences, including child abuse, child abduction, and even sexual abuse. Those who are sensitive to direct or indirect references to these issues may find certain scenes in this novel tough to read. However, these difficult scenes are never presented without also referring to the mercy, hope, and healing that is made possible through the abundant love, forgiveness, and grace of Jesus Christ. Above all, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is a story of redemption and new beginnings made possible through the unconditional love of God.

About the Author: Linda Brooks Davis

Linda Brooks Davis was born and reared on a farm in Raymondville, a small Rio Grande Valley community in the southernmost tip of Texas. Linda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Abilene Christian University and a Master’s Degree from Houston Baptist University. She retired in 2008 after forty years as a special educator and administrator. Linda and her beloved husband Al worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio and dote on six grandchildren, three of whom are triplets. Readers may contact Linda through her website, www.lindabrooksdavis.com.

Linda’s debut novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, is set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood. It won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award. It was released in 2015 and won the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award. The sequel novella, A Christmas to Remember, is set in 1908 Oklahoma and released in December, 2016. A second novella, A Christmas Measure of Love, released in 2017. It is set in 1910 and is a prequel to Linda’s second full-length novel, this one set in 1914, The Mending of Lily Cathleen, which releases in 2018.

Guest Post from Linda Brooks Davis 

Certain ancestors and their experiences appear in my stories. There’s bit of my grandmother and a strong dash of my mother in one character. My father’s sterling qualities appear in another. And there’s a low-down family reprobate in another. Don’t forget cotton planting, hoeing, and harvest time. The glorious aroma of fresh-picked cotton and the nothing-in-the-world-like-it odor from the pig pen. A sewing machine whirring. The clink of a milk pail. A cow hollering to be milked. Summer’s sun on my face, the hearty South Texas wind in my hair, and the comfort of backing up to a wall heater on a cold winter morning. All find their way into the plot lines.

In my family’s history, my own life, and the kaleidoscope of lives in my stories, Jesus appears as the golden thread linking the past to the present and beyond. He turns an ordinary morning into a hint of the “Sweet By & By.” He adds the delicate aroma of the Rose of Sharon to the sultry stillness before a summer storm. And He wraps the bitterness of grief and failure in the richness of His incomparable grace. The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is one of those tales that reach beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary because of Jesus.

Lily’s story captures some of the heartache of domestic abuse, but it packs a powerfully joyous punch at the end. I thought I’d add a strong dash of sweet to this post with a recipe that appears in The Calling of Ella McFarland (which is re-releasing in October 2018). Mama’s (or Papa’s) Nectar of Heaven was a treat my mother enjoyed as a child. She set the same yummy delicacy before her kids, and I, of course, have done the same. Here ’tis, ya’ll, from Texas with sweet, sweet love.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries! Click the link below to enter:

Blog Stops

Multifarious, October 19
The Becca Files, October 19
The Lit Addict, October 20
Godly Book Reviews, October 23
A Reader’s Brain, October 24
Maureen’s Musings, October 25
Baker Kella, October 25
Mary Hake, October 26
Bibliophile Reviews, October 28
Texas Book-aholic, October 29
Bigreadersite , October 30
Carpe Diem, October 31
Lis Loves Reading, October 31

*I received a copy of this novel through the author and Celebrate Lit. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.

Comments

  1. Good Morning! Thank you for the book description.These tours are great and we have found some terrific books so thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lis, you are a gifted reviewer! I clicked over from Linda sharing Lily's tour. I was privileged to be an early reader of both her stories, and she is indeed an inspired writer! This was my comment on her 'share' post:

    Good reviews can be so humbling because just as the sunrise declares the majesty of the Lord, a moving review causes our hearts to see His glory through the eyes of our readers and know God is in this. CONGRATULATIONS, dear Linda B Davis! I adore your cover and am so blessed to know Lily personally :)

    A wonderful novel beautifully written! <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your lovely review. I have enjoyed these tour stops, including yours.

    ReplyDelete

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