Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review for Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

A mother's love.  A sister's promise. Will two women find the path to save a young woman's life?

Reclaiming LilyPatti Lacy wrote a powerful story about two cultures and two women who collide over their love for one special girl.  Lily, a young girl in a Chinese Orphanage is adopted and relocated to the Long Horn State in the U.S.A. She is renamed Joy and expected to live the life of an American girl.

Gloria, Joy's adoptive mother, struggles with a deep fear that she will lose Joy, so she holds on to her with an iron grip.  Too tight - to the point of pushing her away.

Many years after her adoption Joy is tracked down by her adoring sister, Kai who has spent her life on the mission to reclaim Lily into her Chinese family. Kai brings a sense of family Joy has been missing.  She also brings bad news of a genetic disease, PKD, that has attacked the Chinese Chang family and fears it may be poised to take Joy as well.

This story is moving and deep as it follows the roller coaster ride of international adoption, diverse cultures, teenage angst and rebellion, and life changing illnesses.  Patti Lacy has also pulled back the veil of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in this story of healing and restoration.  The story line is definitely worth the read.

As a reader I struggled with the lay out of the story.  The backstory, flashbacks and switching view points made the beginning half of the story difficult to follow and frustrating to continue on.  The two main characters, both women, were not easy to relate to from my perspective.  However, by the middle of the story I was engaged and invested in the characters plights. There were elements of the story that I struggled to see the connection to the plot.  This slowed down the flow of the book. The ending/epilogue felt a little rushed and disconnected but by the wrap up of the story I was able to see what Lacy was trying to show.

The aspects of the story I enjoyed were redeeming.  The transitions in the characters was realistic and understandable.  The faith issue was handles well without cliché or contrived 'Christianese'.  A strong voice for Kai helped the cultural differences to stand center stage at all times.  I felt the character of Kai was the most interesting and compelling.  Kai's story became more of the focus of the plot than Joy.  The research Lacy must have done for the story was extensive, but her accounts showed a confidence and power.  There were many emotive experiences she needed to draw from.  Well done.

My recommendation for Reclaiming Lily is to readers who are looking for a deep story, written with poetic prose and rich historical basis.  The story will touch your heart and leave you encouraged.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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