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Lily of the Springs Paperback – April 10, 2012
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Lily was a fun, tragic, inspirational character and I connected with her immediately. There were times I really questioned her sanity regarding her decisions over Jake but I could understand where she was coming from because this is set in very different times to now and she didn't have the choices available to her.
Jake.....oh wow, this guy was such a contradiction! Just when I felt settled with him, I would be on the edge of my seat just waiting for him to mess up again and when he messed up, boy was he an absolute dick!
I loved the colloquialism's in this book and Lily certainly had some of the funniest ways of describing a situation that had me giggling. I really did love Lily so much and wanted only the best for her.
Where this book really shone was in the way the author managed to transport you to the era's with music, fashion,historical events and how women were perceived during these times.
The way the author wrote as the children was nothing short of amazing - these interactions really tore at my heartstrings. Yes, I cried a few times during this book.
The author explains how this book came to be and I think that's when I lost it - what an absolutely beautiful way to end what was, a truly wonderful read.
Lily Rae's story left a few cracks in my heart.
I really struggled through the growing pains of watching Lily Rae morph from a naïve young girl into an innocent mother & wife until she finally grew into her OWN woman. At one point, I had to sit the book down and move to something else. I was SO angry and frustrated at the harsh reality of Lily Rae's situation that I just had to take a step back from the book. When I started reading again I couldn't stop. I should have never put it down.
Never has the first line of a book pulled me in quite like this one...
"I knew my marriage was in trouble the night my husband brought home a streetwalker to teach me how to satisfy him."
When Jake proclaimed to Lily Rae that she needed a few pointers on how to please her man, I swear my eyes were as big as silver dollars. I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. I knew that I was about to read a one-of-a-kind story.
The best aspect of Lily of the Springs is how well Bellacera captured the era in her writing. The story is told over a 20 year span, 1952-1972, and I felt like I took a trip back in time. I could almost hear the sweet southern twang of Lily Rae's voice as she told her story. It was phenomenal writing. As an added bonus, at the beginning of most chapters there is a recipe & I'm definitely going to try one out! They sounded delicious. As much as I wanted things to be different for Lily Rae, I kept having to remind myself of the time period she was living in. When you grew up in a southern town under the nose of Southern Baptists in the 1950's, certain things were expected. When Lily Rae found herself in a tough situation, she had to remember her mother's words...
"Like my mother once told me...I've made my bed. Now, I have to lay in it."
I knew, I KNEW from the first chapter of this book that I didn't need to let Jake pull me in. I knew he'd shred my heart to pieces. I knew it! He lured me right in though right along with Lily Rae. I wanted the cute, bad boy that Lily Rae used to play with by the creek to be a good guy. Once Lily Rae's high school sweetheart, Chad, ticked me off in the beginning I figured Jake could save the day...
I felt so helpless for Lily Rae. I hated it. I hated to see Lily Rae down. I hated to see her belittled. I hated to see her struggle. She was a little spit fire with a free spirit and I hated to see anyone try to smother her fire. Lily Rae got one thing right, Jake Tatlow only cared about two things...I'll let you figure out what they were though. To be fair, Jake has a story and it definitely helped color the man that he became, but, in my opinion, you can either let yourself drown in past wrongs or you can overcome them. You should overcome them. I actually pitied Jake, because I'm pretty sure he loved Lily Rae when it came down to it. He loved her the only way he knew how. Love goes hand in hand with respect though and he could never really nail down that concept.
My favorite character was definitely Lily Rae's best friend Betty. She was the one person that Lily Rae could count on and the one person that had Lily Rae's best interests at heart. She was never afraid to be honest with Lily Rae and she was a big ball of fun.
There's a big twist in the end. I did not see it coming. I'm not sure if I was just as naïve as Lily Rae or if I was justified for not seeing it coming...but it knocked my socks off.
I could go on forever, but the bottom line is that this book was a joy to read. I loved taking a step back in time...
This is the kind of story that hangs around your heart for a little awhile.
**My review contains minor spoilers**
Lily of the Springs is set in small town Kentucky in the 1950s. We meet Lily as she's graduating from high school. After summer ends she's set to go to secretary school in Louisville. Big dreams for a young lady when most think about marriage and babies and setting up house. But events over the summer change Lily's course.
She ends up at a shotgun wedding, pregnant with bad boy, Jake Tatlow's baby. He's forced to join the Army and they get stationed away from her life in Kentucky. Lily tries to make the best of this life. There are good times and bad.
My advice going into this book - don't for a minute be fooled it's a romance. That's the only hint I'll give you. What it is is a beautiful story spanning almost two decades of one woman's rather ordinary life but Bellacera keeps you awake until the early hours of the morning turning the page nevertheless. I was captivated.
There were a few scenes I would have liked greater detail on but for the most part the ending was very satisfying. Do yourself a favor and read this book now!
This is a story of a young girl from the south that was forced to marry her boyfriend after she got pregnant as a teenager. The day she tells her parents her father (along with the local sheriff and minister) hunts down that boy and brings him home to marry his daughter....almost at gunpoint. This story spans the 40', 50's, and 60's. You get a feel for what life was like to be poor and forced into a marriage. They had their up's and down's along the way.
This is one of those stories that sticks with you long after you read it.
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