Roller-coaster fiction

“Reclaiming Lily” by Patti Lacy started strong- I was hooked with the emotionally charged setting that opened at a Chinese orphanage, particularly since my family adopted a baby girl from China and experienced very similar emotions of excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty. But “Reclaiming Lily” quickly turned into a story that was difficult to follow and visualize. Before I go into the reasons for this, let me quickly summarize. Lily, a young Chinese girl, is adopted by an American pastor and his wife. Renamed Joy, she is an answer to prayer for this infertile couple that dreams of having a child. There is no focus on what Joy experienced as she left the Chinese orphanage at nine years of age and became part of a Texas family. Rather, the focus is on Joy’s elder sister, Kai, who becomes a successful doctor in Boston and sets out to find Joy, both to fulfill a promise to her mother and because of a genetic disease that Joy might be a victim of. When Kai does find Joy, she is able to quickly develop a connection and relationship with her that Joy- an outcast and rebellious teen- desperately needs. The storyline is engaging, emotional, and in some respects very real – author Patti Lacy skillfully develops characters that are true-to-life. But there are some issues that make this book difficult, rather than enjoyable, to read. First of all, there are frequent, sudden shifts in voice and time. For example, the story starts from the adoptive mother, Gloria’s, perspective, but shifts to Kai Chang’s perspective with no warning. There are several flashbacks that the reader will eventually appreciate, but initially be confused by. The series of events and the time span in which they unfold is also generally unbelievable; within a matter of hours Kai meets Gloria and her husband, explains some of her life story, goes on to meet Joy (in less than favorable circumstances) and forms an instant bond with her under those circumstances while at the same time surviving a tornado. There’s more to add to this incredulous chain of events, but I don’t want to be a spoiler. It was just too much too fast in my opinion. Once over that hump, however, the read is less tumultuous. The point-of-view is more consistent, and events unfold in a much more realistic way. The end result is satisfying, and I did feel it was worth my time in terms of being an encouraging Christian novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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