Today I have a review of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler, now available from Crown Publishing/Random House. A big thank you to Crown for the complimentary copy.
Just as the 1900s are beginning in Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is one final, hopeful stop for all the young women who have lived on the streets due to various reasons.
Located in Arlington, the women are offered faith, training, and even rehabilitation services without taking the children from their mothers.
Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there at the home, each with a set of unfortunate events that brought them. Both are mothers. One was abused and the other left stranded with a sick child. Their friendship brings them the support needed to right their ships.
In the second storyline, over one hundred years later, Cate Sutton is a librarian working at a university. She finds the histories of two “troubled” women. It piques her interest, and she begins to dig into the archives at her library to learn more about the home. Their stories lead Cate to face her own difficult past.
I had heard of homes where unwed women had babies and were “hidden,” even existing here in North Carolina until the 1970s. I had not heard of this type of home where mother and child could reside together to get their lives back in order, so the historical aspects of this fascinated me, and I soaked that up.
I’m also a big fan of how the friendship between Mattie and Lizzie was portrayed. It was authentic, and they really brought each other through very hard times. Although my favorite timeline was the historical one, which is common for me, I still enjoyed Cate’s story and watching her growth as a character.
Overall, Julie Kibler has penned a well-written historical novel about friendship, healing, and hope after heartbreaking despair. I sought more information about the home because I definitely wanted to learn more. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there if you’re interested.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
An emotionally raw and resonant story of love, loss, and the enduring power of friendship, following the lives of two young women connected by a home for “fallen girls,” and inspired by historical events.
In turn-of-the-20th century Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is an unprecedented beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets by birth, circumstance, or personal tragedy. Built in 1903 on the dusty outskirts of Arlington, a remote dot between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red-light districts, the progressive home bucks public opinion by offering faith, training, and rehabilitation to prostitutes, addicts, unwed mothers, and “ruined” girls without forcibly separating mothers from children. When Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there—one sick and abused, but desperately clinging to her young daughter, the other jilted by the beau who fathered her ailing son—they form a friendship that will see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and ultimately, diverging paths.
A century later, Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian, uncovers the hidden histories of the two troubled women as she stumbles upon the cemetery on the home’s former grounds and begins to comb through its archives in her library. Pulled by an indescribable connection, what Cate discovers about their stories leads her to confront her own heartbreaking past, and to reclaim the life she thought she’d let go forever. With great pathos and powerful emotional resonance, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls explores the dark roads that lead us to ruin, and the paths we take to return to ourselves.
Have you read Home for Erring and Outcast Girls, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR