An Emotionally Raw And Resonant Story Of Love, Loss, And The Enduring Power Of Friendship, Following The Lives Of Two Young Women Connected By A Home For Fallen Girls, And Inspired By Historical Events In Turn Of The 20th Century Texas, The Berachah Home For The Redemption And Protection Of Erring Girls Is An Unprecedented Beacon Of Hope For Young Women Consigned To The Dangerous Poverty Of The Streets By Birth, Circumstance, Or Personal Tragedy Built In 1903 On The Dusty Outskirts Of Arlington, A Remote Dot Between Dallas And Fort Worth S Red Light Districts, The Progressive Home Bucks Public Opinion By Offering Faith, Training, And Rehabilitation To Prostitutes, Addicts, Unwed Mothers, And Ruined Girls Without Forcibly Separating Mothers From Children When Lizzie Bates And Mattie McBride Meet There One Sick And Abused, But Desperately Clinging To Her Young Daughter, The Other Jilted By The Beau Who Fathered Her Ailing Son They Form A Friendship That Will See Them Through Unbearable Loss, Heartbreak, Difficult Choices, And Ultimately, Diverging Paths.A Century Later, Cate Sutton, A Reclusive University Librarian, Uncovers The Hidden Histories Of The Two Troubled Women As She Stumbles Upon The Cemetery On The Home S Former Grounds And Begins To Comb Through Its Archives In Her Library Pulled By An Indescribable Connection, What Cate Discovers About Their Stories Leads Her To Confront Her Own Heartbreaking Past, And To Reclaim The Life She Thought She D Let Go Forever With Great Pathos And Powerful Emotional Resonance, Home For Erring And Outcast Girls Explores The Dark Roads That Lead Us To Ruin, And The Paths We Take To Return To Ourselves. 3.5 stars The Berachah Industrial Home for Erring Girls in Arlington, Texas that is depicted in this novel was a real place A cemetery is what remains of this institution founded by a minister and his wife They were dedicated not just to helping girls and women who erred but also their babies, a different approach from other homes for unwed mothers at this time A quick internet search will lead you to a number of articles and photos of the place which provided a safe haven for so many The story is comprised of three narratives, two from the early 1900 s, one 2017 Lizzie Bates and her baby girl, Docie, are living a horrible life after unspeakable treatment and a drug addiction brought on by an evil man She is hanging on to her life by a thread but hanging on to her daughter for dear life when she is rescued by Christian women and brought to a home Maddie Corder is living her own hell is trying desperately to save her sick baby boy Cap She makes her way to the home and the two connect and we see the beauty of friendship and caring as their fate over the years is revealed Cate in the current story, is a university librarian working on archives whose research connects her to these two women In the process of piecing together their lives, she finds herself While Cate s story was moving in its own right, it really was Lizzie and Maddie s stories that captivated me Perhaps because their stories were based in fact, but also because it took me a while to see how the narratives were connected other than because Cate was researching them.The author s note at the end lets us know how well researched the novel is Many of the characters were based on real people and the Kibler lets us know the places where she has taken liberties While I admired the strength of these women and appreciated the historical significance of the home, I had a hard time making the connection between the past and present stories, thus the less than four star rating Having said that, I enjoyed the writing and hope to read Calling Me Home as it has been on my list for quite a while I received an advanced copy of this book from Crown through NetGalley. Julie Kibler is a great writer I fell madly in love with her book Calling Me Home , her debut novel published in 2013 Her irresistible novel often had me laughing or crying Julie is gifted in her ability to portray the perceptions and emotions of her characters She writes with sensitivity, and insights, rendering meticulous attention to details This second novel Home for Erring and Outcast Girls..has been a long anticipated wait Many of Julie s fansme includedare excited happy campers with this new book Its wonderful The research is impeccable..crafting is easy to follow and storytelling is vibrant Julie once again delivers an evocative emotional sorrowful captivating story.She engages and educates us about a little known time in history A little background history The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls was a facility for unwed mother s in Arlington, Texas Reverend James T and Maggie May Upchurch opened the home in 1903 It took in homeless, usually pregnant women from Texas and the surrounding states Unlike other homes in the area for fallen women , women at the Berachah Home were required allowed to keep their babies They were not forced to give their babies up for adoption The home closed in 1935 but then reopened as an orphanage from 1936 1942 The University of Texas purchase a property in 1963 On March 7, 1981, a Texas Historical Marker was installed and dedicated at the graveyard that served Berache Home Following several women from the early 1900 s. to present daywe meet.Cate Suttonmodern day archival librarian at The University of Texas in the year 2017 We also meet Cate s assistant, Laurel Medina, a few of her personal friends.learn about her past life and the work that occupies her every waking moment It s not legal to take the archives home they must stay at the library.but we can feel how Cate wishes she could spend her days off from work snuggled up at home reading those archives.Her fascination and dedication learning all she can about the women who lived in the Berachah House was her passion Going out with a friend was almost a chore she felt at home with the dead Cate often visited the cemetery when she was longing for something she couldn t have HOME Situations that require intimacy of any kind, however, topple the careful balance I ve worked so hard to create I accepted it years ago And despite my therapist s confidence, it remains painfully obvious when I attempt to engage on anything than a surface level I am a grown woman I am a professional I manage my life well But I am broken People sense it, and when they do, they walk away Me I run We ll learn about Cate..and experience her growth.We also meet.Lizzie Bates Lizzie is 19 when we first meet her in 1904 She has a baby name Docie They come to live at the House.after some of the most devastating things she endured.really awful My heart ached In the beginning before the Berachah House How Lizzie had earned her keep out at a country farm, lately, cooking for Negro inmates How the farm superintendent had taken her into his own shack to live in sin, feeding her heroin to subdue her, and then passed her to the chain gang boss when he tired of her How d she taken sick, and it crippled her so badly she couldn t stand And finally, how they d sent her and Docie to jail, no regard for whether she lived or died.Lizzie s time at the house the way she changes was really beautiful I came to really treasure her goodness the pure soul she was born with and passed on to her daughter..and best friend Mattie.We also meet Mattie Corder 23 years at the start I loved Mattie as much as Lizziebut I worried about her differently Mattie s outer shell was feisty than Lizzie It looks like she is confident and strongless sensitive than Lizzie She s definitely angry, sad, beaten down with grief her baby son died but her bark is bold, ruthless But really my opinion about both Lizzie and Mattie changed and inter changed over time I felt I grew with both of these women and grew to understand them why Mattie might be sarcastic and Lizzie not The history and real people Lizzie and Mattie , and others Reverend James Toney, Maggie Mae Upchurch, etc. was fascinating to learn about Sad too.just can t get away from the sadness The author s notes at the end are deeply feltThe entire book is excellent I ll continue to read anything Julie Kibler writes Thank You Netgalley, Crown Publishing, and Big Congrats to Julie Kibler 3.5 stars, rounded upImagine my pleasant surprise to find that this wasn t the tale of some horrid place, but a place of compassion and love In 1904, there were few options for ruined girls and unwed mothers And none that allowed a mother to keep their child None except the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls This story encompasses friendship, redemption and salvation It s also a sad reminder of how little some things have changed over the years Told from the standpoint of two of the girls who find shelter there in 1904 as well as a university librarian in 2017 who is studying the archived material from the Home I will admit to being much interested in the earlier story, just because of the history involved One of the sad and constant themes of the book is how often young women aren t believed when they re raped, especially if the rapist is someone they know The book could have used a better editing job At times, I felt it dragged I was interested in the story, but I found I related to it intellectually than emotionally The author s note explained how several of the characters were based on real people Kibler has her own experience with the underbelly of church politics and she draws on it to develop Cate My thanks to netgalley and Crown Publishing for an advance copy of this book. I was fascinated by the premise of this novel and its inspiration of historical events surrounding the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls I think it is an important story and really wanted to be pulled into the tale of the refuge.However, the pacing and the timeline of the 2017 story vs the early 1900 s story felt disconnected The timeline going back and forth wasn t working for me I was much interested in the story about the home and the girls who lived there Again, the pacing seemed off and s l o w going.I wanted to feel emotions, connections and just curious about the women featured than I did I actually found the author s notes at the end the interesting than the novel.Others have enjoyed this read so check out the higher reviews I may just be the outlier here.Thanks to Crown for the advanced copy Out on July 23, 2019 3.75 Stars rounded up.The Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is a place in Texas where unwed mothers were sent to live and to raise their children In the early 1900 s, it was unprecedented Some women stayed and some learned skills which would eventually allow them to find employment outside of the home All women became a family of sorts Lizzie and Maddie both arrive at the home with different stories Lizzie with her daughter Docie in tow Desperate and desolate, had she not found a place at Berachah, she and her daughter would most likely have died The home softens her and gives her something to live for It also gives her a best friend Maddie Maddie is a spitfire Full of zest for life, Maddie makes the most of everything she learns and doesn t take anything for granted even when people try to knock her down Through pain, suffering and tears, Lizzie and Maddie have each other.In 2017, Cate, a Librarian and her assistant Laurel, come across the archives of The Berachah Home and begin digging into its history What they find bonds them together, in ways than one The timeline in The Home for Erring and Outcast Girls switches back and forth between the past and present day, though personally I preferred the historical timeline which seems to be par for the course when I read historical fiction The characters of Lizzie and Maddie evoked emotion out of me and made me feel what they were feeling while Cate and Laurel s story was a bit lacking in my opinion.This is now the second book that I have read by Julie Kibler Calling Me Home being the first which I adored , and I can now say that I am most certainly a fan of her writing and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and Julie Kibler for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on Goodreads and NetGalley on 7.3.19.Will be published on on 7.23.19. Based on the synopsis, this was a book that I was really looking forward to reading I love historical fiction books and I thought a story about the real life Berachah Home sounded like it had a lot of potential Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with the characters so this turned out to just be an okay read.The Berachah Home was pretty unique back in the early 1900s Let s face it, if a single woman back then was pregnant, she wasn t treated too kindly Many women were sent away to live in homes with other pregnant women until they gave birth and put the babies up for adoption What made the Berachah Home different from these other places was the women there were allowed to keep their babies and got the opportunity to learn job skills which would help them eventually find employment outside the home This book goes back and forth between different time periods and characters Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride both come to the Berachah Home in the early 1900s and they form a friendship that will follow them thru some rough times The present day storyline follows Cate Sutton, a university librarian, who is fascinated in learning about the home and the women who lived there Cate has dealt with her fair share of heartbreak herself My main issue with the book was even though the storyline taking place almost a century ago grabbed me from the start, I had pretty much lost interest by about a third of the way in Other than a few moments here and there, I just wasn t feeling an emotional attachment to either of the women And for the life of me I can t figure out why, but I guess the reality of it is not every character I read about is going to work for me I was interested in Cate Sutton s backstory and what led her to pretty much being out on her own So I m left feeling slightly disappointed this wasn t a better read for me but on the positive side I got to learn a little bit about the Berachah Home Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion. Thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review. This is a solid historical fiction about an important role that the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls in Texas played in supporting and providing a place for women and their children Similar to other books of this genre, there is a contemporary timeline and a historical timeline early 1900 s The different women Cate, Mattie, and Lizzie represent the many women who have experienced trauma and heartache There s no doubt in my mind that this is a bookclub contender I just wished during my entire reading experience that I could have liked it I know, I know, we reviewers often fall back on that line and it might not appear genuine But this is one of those books that I REALLY wish that I could just rave about and sob into my pillow or have difficulty talking about with a reader friend Because these characters in all timelines really experience hardship.But I felt the pace was really slow and even though I tried to put it aside and read other books and then try and return to it, I just never reached that place where it was any better than a 2 star rating for me No need to throw the rotten vegetables at me I have already thrown the basket over my head Goodreads review 18 06 19 Expected publication 23 07 19 Home for Erring and Outcast Girls tells the story of real life inhabitants of the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls, established near the turn of the 20h century in Arlington, Texas The home, run by the Reverand J.T Upchurch and his wife, Maggie May, provided a safe place for women, who often arrived on their doorstep pregnant These girls or women were considered fallen, either because they had lost their virginity due to rape, had become pregnant out of wedlock, or had lived lives of prostitution, drinking or drugs Unlike other Christian establishments, these women were allowed to keep their babies, and were cared for as long as needed.This historical novel centers around two main characters, Mattie and Lizzie, who found their way to the home and became lifelong friends after suffering abuse and rejection by their families Mattie and Lizzie were both based on real women who lived at Berachah.I sadly found that so much of how women were looked upon and treated during Mattie s and Lizzie s time still holds true today, roughly 120 years later This book couldn t be timely, with so much in the news now about women and their reproductive rights, and with such loud male Christian voices making decisions for us The Berachah Home was a religious establishment, and given the time in history, it was a safe haven that apparently followed true Christian tenets I found it interesting and so important that the author was so able to present both sides of Christianity, the underbelly, as she calls it in her author s notes, and the real premise loving each other and believing that we are all worthy.There is a parallel storyline in this book, as well, and one that s just as important Cate Sutton, a modern day university librarian, discovers the archives of the Home and becomes absorbed in researching details of what happened during that time, and especially to Mattie and Lizzie Cate hires and befriends a student, Laurel, to help her piece together the story of the Home and what happened to the inhabitants Both Cate and Laurel have their own secrets, and working together, they build a trust that finally helps each of them deal with their past, allowing them to move forward.Beyond the actual history of the Home itself, and its girls, I enjoyed this fictional story of Cate and her young friend Laurel The author, Julie Kibler, skillfully weaves a tale of these two that expands on the ostracization and misogyny that Mattie and Lizzie were forced to endure and that shaped their futures She did a wonderful job of surprising the reader with an important detail about Cate about midway through the book I possibly should have guessed the detail early on, but I didn t, and that s to the author s credit and writing skill I was enthralled by this story I m a Texan, yet I had never heard of the Berachah Home until I read this book After finishing it, I ve already begun googling to find out about it Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an ARC of this excellent novel in exchange for my honest review I m also deeply grateful for Julie Kibler for her sensitive portrayal of the way women, or those who follow different paths, are still often looked upon today 5 stars 4 stars Thanks to Penguins First to Read program and Crown for allowing me to read and review this book Publishes July 23, 2019.Although I see in reading other reviews of this book that people were either confused or they just did not see the necessity of all the characters in the book, I fell in love with them Likewise, I appreciated the changes in time throughout the story Based on a real place, during a real time frame, with composites of real people this book remains fiction We first meet Cate the new Librarian at the University Collections Department of the Texas University It is 2017 This is the campus that eventually assumed ownership of The Berachah Industrial Home and their grounds Cate has taken a real interest in the history of the Berachah Home and is spending considerable time researching it on her own But to understand Cate, we take a trip back in time through numeral chapters, even as we make current discoveries about her When we first gather at the The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls in Arlington Texas it is the early 1900 s That is where we meet Lizzie and Mattie two of the young wayward girls who made the Berachah Home their home We get to know Lizzie and Mattie very well through their lives, both at the Home and through their life long commitments to each other I thought reading this author was similar to reading Fiona Davis, who is so very good at placing a great story into an old, but still currently used building This being the first novel I have read by Kibler, I found it appealing The use of a dual time line is currently in vogue, her material and historical content well researched, and her topic both emotionally raw and at times gravely sad All total this book was interesting, highly entertaining, very informative, and well worth the time to read. Rating 4 starsIn 2013, Julie Kilber s debut book, Calling Me Home was one of my favorite books that year I ve impatiently waited for her next book since then Imagine my delight when I received and e Arc copy from Netgalley of Kibler s latest book, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls While I wasn t quite as enad of this book as I was with her debut book, I think that this new book is an entertaining work that deftly combines a dual timeline narration of historical fiction centering in a personal way on the experiences of women today and at the turn of the 19th century.We meet Lizzie and Mattie in Texas in 1903 They are both regarded as fallen women since they ve both had children out of wedlock, or have worked as prostitutes They each reached the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls closely together, and they were taken in by the religious home At the Home, Lizzie and her daughter Docie found a place of refuge Maggie chafed at the strictures placed on her, but relied heavily on Lizzie s friendship to get her through some hard experiences.Cate Sutton narrates the modern timeline She s stumbled upon a little known graveyard on the grounds of the Texas University that she works at as a librarian A plaque at the graveyard has spurred her to research the Berachah Home in the library s archives We learn how alone Cate is Her solitariness stems from hurts suffered as a member of a close knit, fundamentalist church that she attended with her family up through her high school years Cate s story is told in two timelines One timeline describes the current time, and one as she describes the events of twenty or so years ago that led up to the rupture with her family Most of the way through the book I was intrigued with Lizzie and Maggie s stories I wanted to skip through the Cate sections and get back to the girls But as the timelines developed there was a surprise in Cate s story that I did not see coming Sadly, the 1903 women, and the modern women still face some of the same forms of ostracism.I could almost taste the dust and feel the heat of summer in Texas and Oklahoma in the early part of the 20th century The historical elements were finely drawn, and well balanced between being factual as well as entertaining Having grown up in a fundamentalist religion, I could relate to the relief that Lizzie felt when firmly giving her life over to God, and paradoxically the unsupported situation Cate found herself in when her patriarchal church s rules no longer fit her life This is not a book specifically about religion, but there is a lot of talk about God and what the girls have to do in order stay in the religious refuge of the Berachah House, and what is expected of Cate in her religion Ultimately, this books is about having the strength, in any era, to forge your own path based on what is right for you Admittedly, there were much fewer paths open to the women of a hundred years ago Even today though, it takes strength to let people into your heart again after you ve been hurt than is does to remain cutoff and sheltered from further hurt But what kind of life is that Julie Kibler has written a thought provoking work of Historical Fiction that I gladly will be recommending to others this year, just as I still whole heartedly recommend Calling Me Home Thank You to NetGalley the publisher, Crown Publishing and the author, Julie Kibler for providing a free e ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
- 400 pages
- Home for Erring and Outcast Girls
- Julie Kibler
- 01 January 2017 Julie Kibler