This novel focuses on two sisters, 25 year old Violet and 16 year old Lily. They aren’t very much like each other; Lily is the cossetted girl who gets what she wants, while Violet basically brought Lily up when her mother had a breakdown many years long. Having been blamed for the death of a third sister when they were children, she puts her own desires below those of other people. So it’s not too unusual that the opening of the book finds her going to a home for unwed mothers with Lily to take care of her until Lily’s child is born.
Violet’s life hasn’t been devoted solely to Lily and her parents; she has a secret fiancé. Keeping Lily’s secret creates a problem with him. When Violet cannot bear to have Lily’s daughter be adopted out, she takes the fall for Lily and pretends it’s her child. As one can expect in 1930, an unwed mother is a complete outcast.
It’s a story of complicated relationships and secrets. I really liked Violet; Lily was a different matter. She always thought she deserved whatever she wanted, and I don’t care for that in people! What’s worse is that the attitude is so persistent, even when she finds that getting what you want might not be the best thing for you. Violet and Lily are characters with depth, and I loved the descriptions of their lives in the ‘30s; the author really paid attention to details. It’s a slow start, but it’s worth the wait. It’s an intricate mesh of relationships, lies, union activism, organized crime, holier than thou church members, black lung, and more. A really engaging read.
The above is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy something- anything- from Amazon, they will give me a few cents.
I received this book free from the Amazon Vine program in return for a fair review.
Neither of these things influenced my review.