Janet Benton's debut novel LILLI DE JONG will be out on May 16, 2017 in hardcover and e-book from Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, in large print from Thorndike, and in audio book from HighBridge. Publishers Weekly says, "Lilli's inspiring power and touching determination are timeless."
A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her. This novel is her diary.
Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a charity for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can’t accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves condemnation and ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.
Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. "So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, "yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood."
Click here to read the opening pages. Order the hardcover, e-book, large print, or audio book below.