Lilli De Jong

Lilli De Jong

A Novel

Book - 2017
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In 1883 Philadelphia, Quaker schoolteacher Lilli de Jong finds herself faced with a seemingly impossible task: how can she keep her infant daughter after being cast out by her family, abandoned by her fiancé, and rejected by society? After the unexpected death of her beloved mother, a prominent Quaker in their Germantown community, Lilli de Jong's once-orderly life becomes increasingly unrecognizable. Her father eschews their faith by marrying a cousin from outside their religious community, and Lilli is forced to forfeit her position as a teacher. Shortly thereafter, her brother and her fiancé, Johann, leave for Pittsburgh to try their luck at the ironworks, promising to send for Lilli once they establish themselves. After succumbing to passion the night before Johann's departure, Lilli soon finds herself unwed and pregnant, the subject of scandal. Retreating to a charitable home for wronged women, Lilli intends to give her daughter up for adoption. But when she grasps the Dickensian life awaiting Charlotte as the castoff of an unmarried woman, Lilli resolves that whatever their future may be, mother and child must stay together. And so she embarks upon the herculean task of providing for herself and her daughter, while at every turn the pair are beset by judgment, misogyny, and misunderstanding.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese / Doubleday, 2017
ISBN: 9780385541459
Characteristics: 335 p. ; 24 cm


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Nov 27, 2017

Really good read.I was completely won over by the character of Lilli. I felt her anguish and her fears and her frustrations. The book was also a great portrayal of time and place and a sad look at how vulnerable women were throughout history, especially as it pertained to motherhood. My only criticism is that I thought the end wrapped up a little abruptly but it was a minor issue for me. It was a captivating story.

Sep 10, 2017

A fictional story based on the actual living conditions that befell any unmarried pregnant woman and afterwards the terrible risks involved if she dared to keep her baby. It is a compelling book that should evoke empathy for those women (not men!) who 'sinned'.

Jun 18, 2017

Oh, so many comments. Not a perfect book, but a great one. Misery, marginalization, religion, squalor, and lowly women and saviours! It is lushly written, even if the characters and plot are unoriginal. Something about it reminds me of Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, a book I've always regretted reading because it means I can't read it for the first time again ever again. Gorgeous book. I requested Lilli De Jong based on the cover art, a young mother and her infant emerging from the dark, and for the plot which included Quakers, a sect I've always been really interested in. And it's been a while since I've read a historical! This is a downhill slide of a read because it's a book where things are happening. The characters? None will surprise you. You won't fall off the edge of your seat, because if you've read one historical about the female underdog, especially one struggling through the unforgiving 1800s, you've read them all. One tale of abject poverty and whoredom that I loved was Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue and, of course, the original tale of being a poor whore --- Moll Flanders. So, on some level, I'm lumping Benton's novel with many great historical fiction novels (or novels throughout history that are great). Great read.
I read it during a sad, stressful weekend and it helped take my mind off what was going on a few chapters at a time. Thanks, Janet Benton. I look forward to so much more from you.


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Sep 10, 2017

Eil_1 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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