What I’m Reading: Lilli de Jong

I’ve been using my Hoopla account a lot.  So much so that I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t think I am going to renew my Audible membership when it comes up.  I’ll still buy a book from Audible here and there but I don’t think I need to keep a membership.  Hoopla has enough books to keep me content and when I want the new blockbuster, I’ll just order without a membership.  We’ll see.  I’m still thinking on that.

The latest book I got from Hoopla was Lilli de Jong.  I’ll admit, I judged a book by the cover.  I loved the cover picture.  Immediately I could tell the book likely took place in days gone by.  So without reading the summary of the book, I picked it.  Oh my.  That can get a girl in trouble….

Image result for lilli de jong

….but this time it didn’t.

I liked the book a lot.  I’ll admit that a time or two I was very thankful for a “break” from the book.  The premise is that in the late 1800’s Lilli gets pregnant after a promise of commitment, then on her own, has to deal with a pregnancy.  As we all know, getting pregnant without being married at that time, was terrible.  The book shows the view of just how terrible it was…and occasionally, I needed to turn the book off for a bit.  Don’t let that deter you from the book though.  It’s good.

I take this all a little to heart as I was pregnant before we got married.  I know some of the shame and guilt associated with that.  Thankfully I never knew anything like Lilli did.

The book is written in journal form in first person which I love.

Here’s what Amazon had to say:Philadelphia, 1883. Twenty-three-year-old Lilli de Jong is pregnant and alone—abandoned by her lover and banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth at a charity for wronged women, planning to give up the baby. But the power of their bond sets her on a completely unexpected path. Unwed mothers in 1883 face staggering prejudice, yet Lilli refuses  to give up her baby girl. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep the two of them alive.  
Lilli confides this story to her diary as it unfolds, taking readers from a charity for unwed mothers to a wealthy family’s home and onto the streets of a burgeoning American city. Her story offers a rare and harrowing view into a time when a mother’s milk is crucial for infant survival. Written with startling intimacy and compassion, this accomplished novel is both a rich historical depiction and a testament to the saving force of a woman’s love.”

Amazon readers gave the book 4.7 stars.  I think I would have to agree.  I highly recommend this for a book club book.  Many discussions can arise after reading the book.  The book is noted to be Library Journal Best Historical Fiction 2017.  I don’t always take note of an acclimation such as that but this time well deserved.  Do read this book if you get a chance.  As a women, I often feel like it’s my duty to read about the struggles women had before there was a replacement for mother’s milk, before there was birth control, before we had so many of the rights we enjoy today.  I know we have a ways to go, but this book will remind you of how far we’ve come.

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6 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Lilli de Jong

  1. Amber

    I love my audio books when i sew. I am able to borrow them from my locale library through the overdrive app. I’ll have to look up to see if they have this book.

  2. Janet Orr

    Jo – what library do you use for your Hoopla? I just downloaded the app but the library I use (Oelwein) doesn’t offer the service. Thanks!

  3. Jo Post author

    Manchester Library has it. They are super about letting people get a library card that don’t live in their area.

  4. Ruth

    Jo, this is about the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society book review – the link doesn’t go to the “Read more” section, it goes to your review page that starts out talking about Gracie the beagle, and your book review isn’t there at all. I can’t even leave a comment on that post because it goes to the same review page. I haven’t memorized your email either, so here’s hoping you see this comment!

  5. Cindi

    There is a problem with the blog post you wrote after this, about the Netflix movie. When you click on ‘leave a comment’ or ‘read more’, it takes you to a 2011 post about Gracie. Looking forward to hearing what you thought of the movie. I enjoyed the book a lot.

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