REVIEW: Home for Erring and Outcast Girls
HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS by Julie Kibler is an absorbing fictional tale based on a real historical place that sheltered women and their children from cruelty and isolation. Often horrifying, as well as familiar, their stories will touch your heart. Great novel honoring lifelong friendships.
The story is told from multiple points-of-view in dual timelines. A majority of the novel is historical, with some modern-day sleuthing to help tell the women and children’s stories.
Historically, “fallen” women were shamed and shunned for results of relationships not always of their choosing. It’s a horrifying fact that rape, and/or abuse, changes a woman’s life, whether anyone knows about it or not. Abuse can come in many forms, some effects visible, while others are hidden behind secrets never told. This book delves into all these historical issues with a character-driven tale of one place and its affect on these women and their children.
HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS is an amazing volume of history brought to life with a talented author’s imagination. Details undoubtedly researched thoroughly are vividly portrayed by several women’s stories that intertwine with others later in history.
My only complaint is that the book was too detailed when I was ready to move on. I was ready for a conclusion by 75% through the book, and that’s when it really slowed for me. Too much time was spent on Mattie’s situation, when I wanted more about Lizzie and Docie in their timeline, as well as River, Cate and Laurel in the modern-day timeline.
I was especially impressed with the characterization. Each woman’s story comes alive with her details, some of which are kept secret, binding them to each other with their unique situations that brought them together in the first place. For those who love religious-inspired stories, there are plenty of references to faith and how it interacts with all the women and their children, as well as those who cared for them.
The volume of research done for this novel is both fascinating and overwhelming. Bringing it all together in such a cohesive story with captivating characters is a feat of unquestionable talent.
I feel I should forewarn about several triggers for some readers. If rape or abuse is a trigger for you, these women’s stories may be hard to endure. On the other hand, they may have a healing affect if you’re ready, but their authenticity is sometimes shocking and heartbreaking.
Also, if you’ve lost a child, a large part of the story-line is about women who gave birth, often under dire circumstances. The early 1900s are rough times and not all women and children will survive. Those who do, form lifelong friendships that weather the storms of their lives together.
Although this novel is oftentimes dealing with sorrow, it’s also filled with overcoming grief and fear with strength and endurance. It’s hopeful in a time and place that was difficult.
Above all, HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS made me think about all the women in history who could have benefited from this beautiful place. Where women and their babies could land, without fear of having to separate.
It’s a shame that even today, women are often outcasts for their choices. We as loving Christian women owe our sisters our compassion. As women of faith we can lift each other up above vicious rumors and speculation.
I often think about how many amazing authors I’d miss if I wasn’t a reviewer. Julie Kibler would be one of them. None of my GoodReads friends had listed this book to read when I stumbled upon it on NetGalley.com. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to try someone new-to-me, in exchange for an honest review.
This book wasn’t always easy to read. It enraged me with injustices portrayed, real or fictional. Books like this one renew my faith and leave me with so many thoughts about how we can do better. Women need to support women and the children they bear, no matter the circumstances, because we all deserve God’s grace.
Author Julie Kibler is now on my radar and her first novel, CALLING ME HOME, is on my wishlist. HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS beautifully portrays women’s success over adversity, even when they don’t agree with one another. That friendship built on trust outlasts all obstacles. You’ll want to give your best friend a hug after this one.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. A digital advanced copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media.
Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler
Category: Historical Women’s Friendship Fiction
Publisher: Crown (July 23, 2019)
Rated 4 out of 5
Formats available: Hardcover: 400 pages, Digital, Audio