Lilli de Jong
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.
"So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, "yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood."
- One of Library Journal's Best Books 2017, Historical Fiction
- One of National Public Radio's Best Books of 2017
- Bustle, The 17 Best Debut Novels by Women in 2017
- Finalist, The Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction 2017
- A Goodreads Semifinalist, Choice Awards 2017, Historical Fiction
- One of Amazon's Best Books of May 2017 in Literature/Fiction
- Book Club Books 2017, selected for InStyle UK by Erin Woodward, Girly Book Club
- One of Pure Wow Book Club's Books to Read in May
- One of Barnes and Noble's Nook Book READOUTS in Fiction
- Summer Book Pick from Book Bub, libraries, newspapers, and others.
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