4 out of 4 stars
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Lilly Perkins has experienced a lot of loss in her young life, most recently the death of her husband. Can she learn to trust again after being betrayed, abandoned, and abused? Set in Colorado in 1940, Lilly of the Mountains by author D.L. Yoder follows a young widow's journey as she makes a fresh start and learns to love again by helping others.
Lilly was still a girl when her dear mother died. Just a month later, unable to find work since the stock market crashed, her father arranged her marriage to Levi Perkins, before returning to the merchant navy. Levi had seized their property for nonpayment, and her father thought he had no choice. Lilly felt heartbroken to also lose her father so soon after her mother's death. Levi turned out to be a cruel husband whose only true love was money. His constant abuse was Lilly's prison for seven years before he died in a car accident. Though he was a wealthy man, he forced his young wife to live like a pauper, taking the whereabouts of his fortune to the grave with him. Matters were further complicated by the angry townspeople who Levi cheated financially. When they began demanding their money, the sheriff warned Lilly she could be in danger. Widowed, frightened, and with just a few dollars to her name, Lilly was all alone, but she was finally free and ready for a new beginning.
The author skillfully crafted well-developed characters with strong personalities. This was particularly evident in the protagonist, Miss Lilly. After seven years of being abused, she had her fill of being submissive and turned over a feisty new leaf. There was the expected romantic relationship, but there was so much more going on behind the scenes that heightened the anticipation of the storyline. I felt simultaneously intrigued by the suspicion of murder, the mystery of Levi's missing money, and all the drama of small-town life during a simpler time.
What I most enjoyed about this book were the consistent themes of forgiveness and trust. Lilly was challenged by both, which was understandable considering what she had experienced in life, but her struggles also made her more relatable. It was when she stepped out of her comfort zone and reached out to help others, that she started healing both emotionally and spiritually, which I also found to be true to life.
What I liked least about the book was the portrayal of one of the characters, Marcel. He was one of a handful of men who occasionally stayed at the missionary chapel in an impoverished area of town where Lilly volunteered. It was her friendship with these men and Reverend Ernest that eventually led to Lilly's restored faith in God, which was a significant element of the plot. However, without revealing any spoilers, there was an important detail related to Marcel's character that I felt wasn't portrayed consistently by some of his actions in the story. There were also a few unresolved details in the plot. I hope that means there will be a sequel.
Evidently, the book was professionally edited, as I didn't note a single error. I'm pleased to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy Christian fiction, historical fiction, and romance novels. I should also note there are a few violent scenes related to the plot but nothing graphic.
Lilly Of The Mountains
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