THIS BOOK, OMG!
I received a copy of “The Life She Was Given” by author Ellen Marie Wiseman from the publisher Kensington Books through Netgalley for an honest review.
Lilly was born an albino in the early 1930s during the depression to a family that was fairly well off during that time, the family owned Blackwood Manor and horse farm. Lilly’s mother kept her locked up in the attic until Lilly was ten years old before selling her to the Circus where she became a member of the “freak show”. All the time Lilly was locked up in the attic, hidden away from the outside world, her mother told her she was a monster and an abomination. Her mother was a religious fanatic and kept Bibles in Lilly’s tiny attic room and made her pray and read scripture devoutly. It’s hard to say if her mother was always this way with religion, or if she became that way after Lily was born, it doesn’t really say in the book, i’m guessing maybe after the birth of Lily, because, after having eight miscarriages, her mother vowed to sell her soul to the devil for a baby, and after Lilly was born with her condition, her mother believed it was because of the deal she made with the devil. Through the happenings of Lilly’s tragic and sad life it would seem like Lilly was absolutely a cursed child no doubt.
In the second chapter we meet Julia an eighteen year old girl in the 1950s. She is a struggling, barely getting by waitress in a little diner, she is not sure if she is going to have a meal that night or be able to pay her rent for the apartment she and her abusive boyfriend are living in. A private investigator shows up to the diner one night with a letter, informing Julia that she has inherited her childhood home, the home that she ran away from two years prior, is now hers. Her mother has passed and left the Blackwood Manor to her. Arriving at the creepy and possibly haunted manor, she discovers a disturbing secret that she is determined to get to the bottom of. From here bombshell after bombshell is dropped, right to the very last page. A few times I actually gasped and whispered “oh my gosh.”
I enjoyed this book immensely, this story has stuck in my mind, it really had an impact on me. The author really did a wonderful job with her research of that time period, and took some actual true events from history and weaved them into this unique skin crawling story. Knowing that a lot of the story was inspired by actual events makes this story that much more gripping. I saved this book to read at the end of my day, which for me is when I save the best books to read, it is the quietest and the time when everyone is unwinding themselves or already in bed. This is my me time. Unfortunately, this is when i’m in my bed, before going to sleep. Unfortunate because this book was too good to put down and two nights in a row I stayed up all night reading. This is a must read!