The Life She Was Given

The Life She Was Given

eBook - 2017
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A GREAT GROUP READS Selection of the Women's National Book Association and National Reading Group Month GOODREADS Best of the Month From acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman comes a vivid, daring novel about the devastating power of family secrets—beginning in the poignant, lurid world of a Depression-era traveling circus and coming full circle in the transformative 1950s.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.PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF ELLEN MARIE WISEMANCOAL RIVER"Wiseman offers heartbreaking and historically accurate depictions. . .The richly developed coal town acts as a separate, complex character; readers will want to look away even as they're drawn into a powerful quest for purpose and redemption. . .a powerful story." —Publishers Weekly"This book will attract readers of historical fiction and those looking for strong female characters." —VOYA Magazine"Heartrending and strongly drawn." —Booklist"Ellen Marie Wiseman takes readers deep into the politics and hidden atrocities of a 20th-century Pennsylvania mining town." —BookPage.comWHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND"A great coming-of-age story." —School Library Journal"A great read!" —The San Francisco Book ReviewTHE PLUM TREE"The meticulous hand-crafted detail and emotional intensity of The Plum Tree immersed me in Germany during its darkest hours and the ordeals its citizens had to face. A must-read for WWII Fiction aficionados—and any reader who loves a transporting story." —Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us"Ellen Marie Wiseman weaves a story of intrigue, terror, and love from a perspective not often seen in Holocaust novels." —Jewish Book World"Ellen Marie Wiseman's provocative and realistic images of a small German village are exquisite. The Plum Tree will find good company on the shelves of those who appreciated Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian, Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay, and Night, by Elie...
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9781617734502
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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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.

skbauer0512 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.

CRRL_MegRaymond Nov 17, 2017

A little girl sees circus lights from the exile of her attic room. That circus becomes her home when she is sold to the sideshow.

ArapahoeTatyana Sep 07, 2017

It's a shocking and heartbreaking story about a girl sold to the circus by her mother and "the life she was given" so to speak. The novel is not only about the "devastating power of family secrets". It's also about cruelty, superstitious beliefs and ignorance of the people who lived in the Depression era.
A good read. Would recommend it to adults and young adults.


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ArapahoeTatyana Sep 07, 2017

"The excitement of the audience felt like electricity running through her body, and instead of the fear of ridicule she felt nothing but adoration from the rubes".

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