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Home for Erring and Outcast Girls: A Novel…

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls: A Novel

by Julie Kibler

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719264,438 (3.89)4
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.   "Home for Erring and Outcast Girls deftly reimagines the wounded women who came seeking a second chance and a sustaining hope."--Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours 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.… (more)



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In the early 1900's, Lizzie and Mattie met at the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls. In the present day, Cate, a librarian, stumbles across a cemetery, with a placard for the Berachah Home. She uncovers an archives outlining the home's history, and shares this knowledge with a younger student.

I was a bit disappointed with this book. None of the characters seemed to have much of a personality. They all blended together after a while. The present day story line was completely unnecessary and did not add anything to the story. Overall, a bust. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Sep 18, 2019 |
Celebrating this book's BIRTHDAY finishing up my read through of an ARC I won via shelf awareness. Definitely a great example of what historical fiction can be, while the story flits between past and present, the author keeps us firmly rooted in the moment no matter what time period we may be in. You won't soon forget this cast of characters, nor the home that helped them become a family with bonds that run deeper than mere blood, nor their stories anchored in truth yet embellished to more fully form a complete portrait, nor how it feels to be part of a whole. ( )
  GRgenius | Sep 15, 2019 |
The Berachah School was ahead of its time.Built in 1903 the school promised rehabilitationand training to “fallen” women - drug addicts, prostitutes, unwed mothers and women refusing to be separate from their babies. 100 years later university librarian Cate Sutton stumbles upon the schools history and is immediately attracted to two of the women’s stories. Through her research Cate learns not only the schools history but that the emotions she was running away from were what she really needed. ( )
  cdyankeefan | Sep 9, 2019 |
The parallel timeline - with one story from the past and one from the present - is a genre I'm well familiar with and this novel fits well within that genre. What I found different about this novel was the subject matter of women's sexuality through the different periods. The early 20th-century portions of the novel focus on the Berachah Home, which took in women who had "fall", namely women who had had children out of wedlock. Unlike other similar institutions, they allowed women to keep their children, rather than forcing them to be put up for adoption. The contemporary portions focus on Cate, a reclusive woman who feels a connection with the women who found a place at the Berachah Home due to her own past. An excellent read, which combined a good story with food for thought about women, sexuality, and religion. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Sep 8, 2019 |
Does history repeat itself? In a way it does, but it is handled differently, or is it?
We get an in-depth look at a home that was established for women in the early 1900’s, although not all were accepted here, made me think of the poor souls that were turned away.
We look and walk with two of the woman who went to The Berachah Home in Texas, and have a look at what happened to them to bring them here. This is not an easy life for either of them, and it could have been any one.
I did love the author’s notes at the end of this book, the story is fictional, and has literary license, but is based on actual people. I always enjoy these updates!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Crown, and was not required to give a positive review. ( )
  alekee | Aug 5, 2019 |
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"They fell down and there was none to help."

PSALM 107:12
For Heather, Kelly, Emilie, Kristen, Jacinda, and Katherine, all daughters of my heart, whether home to stay or just passing through,

and in memory of my cousin, Ann Lacy Ellison, reader extraordinaire, whose family has loved many generations of erring and outcast girls.
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Even when Maddie's great big dreams had troubled Lizzie, she'd envied her something fierce, for Lizzie came from nightmares, too fearful to dream.
Reverence is critical when working with archival objects.
It was always the man who took what he wanted and always the woman who lost everything.
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