I just finished up the audio book The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman. I picked up this book as I have read other books by Wiseman and LOVED them all. What She Left Behindand The Plum Tree were both awesome. I had high hopes for this book but sometimes, with books, high hopes leave me with a book I didn’t like.
That was not true with this book. I really liked it. It was sad and at times what happened in the story made me want to scream at the parents but it was what it was and believable so I went with it…and really did like the book. The story has a big circus elephant pull to it and I enjoyed that. It was a bit reminiscent of “Water for Elephants”.
Here’s what Amazon had to say:
“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.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.5 stars. I’d actually give it more… 4.8. It was really good and I very much enjoyed this. I did guess the ending a bit too quick but I was engrossed in listening to get to the end to see if I was right. Great book…I highly recommend it.