The Life She Was Given by Ellie Marie Wiseman

The Life She Was Given

This book begins with the story of Lilly, a nine-year-old who has been held prisoner in the attic of her home, Blackwood Manor, supposedly for her own protection.  Her parents have told her people would think she’s a monster if they saw her.  One night, looking out her window, she sees the lights of the traveling circus that has stopped on their property. Her life soon changes when her mother whisks her away in the night and sells her to the freak show at the traveling circus. Another story is introduced set twenty years later about nineteen-year-old Julia who had run away from home at the age of 15 because of her strict, overbearing religious mother and father.  She is barely making a living when she finds out that Blackwood Manor and its farm have been left to her following her mother’s death.  A stipulation of the will is that to inherit it, she must live on the property, so she returns to Blackwood Manor.  The book goes back and forth between the two stories where eventually the story lines cross.  I especially liked Lilly’s story as she grew and became a stronger person.  The circus story was interesting although it did have some brutal scenes both with humans and animals that were difficult.  I was pulled in from the beginning and had trouble putting the book down throughout the entire book.  All the right elements were there for me – good writing, great characters, a compelling story line, women finding their inner strength, secrets revealed, and a vivid sense of place.  I received an ARC from Edelweiss, and this book will be coming out in July of 2017.

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