Reviews of The Mending of Lillian Cathleen

“The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, by Linda Brooks Davis, is an historical fiction novel that tells a realistic and emotionally poignant story of one woman’s journey through serious loss, rejection, and grief. At times the story is heavy with extremely raw emotions and very painful truths.

Yet, this journey through and beyond despair and heartache is significantly strengthened and uplifted by meaningful moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, restoration, healing, and reconciliation are made possible through God’s mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love. 

The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, the second book in the Women of Rock Creek series, may not always be an easy, light-hearted read because of its serious themes and content; however, it is an extremely meaningful, relevant, and thought-provoking novel. The author, Ms. Davis, is exceptionally talented at telling the story through the first person perspective of the main character, Lillian.

Throughout the story . . . 

. . . it is Lillian who must bravely pursue the answers to tough questions, while also fighting desperately to grasp the healing and the hope that might be found within her heartbreak. And it is within her search for hope and healing that the significant themes of this novel manage to encourage and inspire.

Lillian perseveres. She carries on . . . accepts help when needed . . . chooses courage and selflessness . . . finds faith . . .  fights for freedom and redemption for herself and for others. And in so doing, she becomes an inspiration, and her story becomes one of encouragement and hope.

Lillian’s story shows that even though life can be very hard, and trials can befall anyone, God’s strength, grace, and forgiveness are always available to make the process of healing and restoration possible. 

Ms. Davis is truly a gifted storyteller.

She seems to be unflinching when it comes to crafting relevant stories that need to be told. In The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Ms. Davis has written a compelling work of historical inspirational fiction that I can certainly recommend to all late-teen and adult readers who enjoy stories that include history, mystery, romance, and faith.

I found The Mending of Lillian Cathleen to be interesting and authentic. It is a deeply moving and thoughtfully written novel that touched me through its skillful use of relatable characters, historical settings, and meaningful themes. This powerful novel deftly explores issues and emotions that are related to very difficult experiences, including child abuse, child abduction, and even sexual abuse.

Those who are sensitive to direct or indirect references to these issues may find certain scenes in this novel tough to read.

However, these difficult scenes are never presented without also referring to the mercy, hope, and healing that is made possible through the abundant love, forgiveness, and grace of Jesus Christ. Above all, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is a story of redemption and new beginnings made possible through the unconditional love of God.”

“I have to tell you about a book that might rip your heart out.  I’m always drawn to these stories of abuse and violence, perhaps because I have known these women, these kids myself.  I’ve seen firsthand God’s power to overcome bitterness and replace their scars with his scars.  Every time their stories tug at my heart

You start to overcome bitterness when you share your story. 

You overcome bitterness when you place your story in God’s hands, over and over, while he does physical therapy on your heart.  It’s not an instant change.  It takes time.  But here’s the kicker – you don’t even have to be ready to believe to start healing.

This was a beautifully told story of healing in the midst of mystery and suspense 

I would definitely recommend this book. There’s a romance element but it doesn’t take a front row seat, and I think man or woman, romance lover or suspense lover or mystery lover, you’ll be tugged into this story the way I was.  Maybe God will overcome bitterness in your heart along the way too.”

“The Mending Of Lillian Cathleen by Linda Brooks Davis is a marvellous Christian historical novel set in 1914.

The main theme . . .

. . . searching for the lost, reminding the reader of the parables of the lost coin, sheep and  son. God relentlessly pursues us. He does not give up because He loves us.

The novel is about the fight for emancipation for women. For too long the world has been dominated by men. Men who abuse and use women. There are the difficult themes of prostitution and trafficking of women and girls. There are some strong female characters determined to make a difference.

Life can be hard.

Sometimes in our hurt and pain, we turn from the One who can give us peace. “Are You watching, Ma’s God? Do You care?” God cares. He never takes His eyes off us.

Or we may drift from God. “I let life come between Jesus and me.” We must never take our eyes off Jesus to focus on the world. Sometimes we do not realise how far we have travelled from God until we look back.

Life is a spiritual battle.

There is evil in the world. We must fight it by standing on the Word of God and with prayer. “Bathe yourselves in prayer. The forces of evil are forever on the prowl.”

There is the theme of fathers. Earthly fathers may let us down. Our heavenly Father never will.

Love conquers all. Love puts others first. Within the novel selfless souls take care of vulnerable women and children.

A powerful read with life lessons for us all.”

“Lily is a character that will remain with me for a long time, along with her story and overcoming multiple obstacles while discovering the secret to inner peace, joy and love through Jesus Christ as her Savior. Cade, the hero, and other secondary characters added dimension and realism to the story. The vivid descriptive words placed me right there with the characters and kept the pages turning wondering what is going to happen next.”

“Lillian Cathleen’s heart desperately needed mending, like so many people who live in reality today, this fiction tells of a young woman who endures unimaginable horrors at the hand of her drunken father. Thankfully, a godly woman took pity on her and took her to be a part of her family. Lillian was drawn to a trunk that her mother kept for her. Some great history was in it.

An awesome story relating to the items her mother left was entwined in the story. Her mother’s legacy of following the Lord, prayer, loving God continued to shine a light in Lillian’s life.

An dark story of abduction, and child trafficking was also woven throughout.

It was one of those stories that when it was over, I had to take a day or so to rest from reading, it was incredibly intense, but such a good one.

Sometimes I do a “What I liked” “What I Didn’t Like” thing, but this time, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like. So, I’ll do what I liked and then a warning.

What I described above is why I liked the story so much. The writing style was very good. The narrative was quick moving and first person, which I really seem to enjoy. The story teller can paint a very clear scene in just a few words. I definitely got the feel for the era it was supposed to take place in – written in the voice of an old-time news reporter, I could hear the clipped, fast spoken voice in my head, as I was reading.

“The Mending of Lillian Cathleen takes the reader on a journey back into a time in the world when women were in a desperate fight for fairer treatment. Be prepared for your temper to flare as the tangible injustice seeps from the pages … 

This book has a remarkable ability to move the reader’s heart to compassion towards the situations that the women faced …

. . . a moving novel and one that was well worth the read. It reveals the danger of being a woman in 1914 America, and gives a better understanding to why women needed to fight for more equal treatment. I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction.”

“This is the first book I have read by Linda, though I look forward to reading more of her stories! Lillian’s story was a fascinating one that dealt with some hard subjects, like abuse and standing up against it. The story also has a mystery and intrigue. This story drew me in from the very start! I enjoyed getting to know Lillian.”

“What a beautiful & yet heartbreaking story our author has written for us! Can I just take a minute to appreciate the cover, and how beautiful that is?

The treasure found within the pages is one that is truly emotional, eye-opening, and heartfelt. The weaving of the Lord within the circumstances our characters face reminds us of the hope we have in the Lord at all times and in all places.

The author so clearly depicts the good vs. evil . . .

. . . and really makes us cringe at the villains found within. The conflicts the characters find themselves in are truly heart-pounding, emotional, and sometimes just simply heartbreaking … the plot certainly was one that kept me glued to the page until I finished the story in one sitting. 

Our heroine is truly that in every way, and yet a totally relatable and down to earth character. The history contained within was also artfully portrayed.

I feel that any fiction reader should give this masterful story a read!

“… I was soon caught up and page-turning as it kept getting better and better.

The author gives us a glimpse into the dark side of something that was happening back in the early 1900’s, and unfortunately it is still going on.

The world Lillian is embracing is about to enter into a worldwide war, but she is supporting rights for women, and the vote, all the while dealing with missing her mother and newly found treasures from her.

Don’t get too comfortable, there seems to be bomb shells fall around every corner, and you never see what is coming! One thing I did see was love for fellow man, and those that are less fortunate, heartwarming and scary at the same time, and you won’t want to put it down until there are answers.”

This novel was not as light-hearted as I was expecting. Instead, it deals with abuse, adduction, human trafficking, and suffering. Lillian is a well portrayed heroine, taking up the cause of woman everywhere by becoming a suffragette. Its an interesting read and I’m interested in reading more of Linda’s novels in the future.”

“The story gripped me—held me fast. Horrors that no one wants to think about played across the page and all without giving the kinds of details that readers don’t need. For that, I was grateful.

“. . . a fabulous story . . . 

In The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, Linda Brooks Davis writes a compelling tale of family secrets, miscarriages of justice, the threat of what would become “The Great War,” and the horrible reality of sex-trafficking.

Too often, we like to think of those beautiful, glorious days of the Edwardian period as too genteel for the horrors of modern life, but sin lived and thrived in the “good old days” just as it does now.”

“I found this historical novel, set during World War I, intriguing. It deals with some tough topics and included plenty of suspense—holding the reader’s attention, with increasing eagerness to find how all the threads weave together to complete the whole story. The author skillfully regales the account in first person present tense, which is hard to do well and usually turns me off. I hardly noticed this point of view since the tale pulled me in. Lily seemed so real and really made me care about her and the ones she holds dear.

 The secrets from Lily’s mother’s ancestors added another captivating element. This book would make a good one for discussion in a book club or high school.”

“This is quite a story. Lily was such a strong character, she wanted to find the truth and nothing will stop her . . . A lot of surprises. The more I read the more exciting the book was. 

I have not read any books by the author before, I always recommend reading books by new to you authors. I loved the spiritual aspect of the book. Actually I think this would make a good movie.” 

“I cannot even imagine being Lily in that court room. Things were so different back in the early 1900’s, and think today a lot of women forget that. As much as we might complain, we have it pretty good today ladies. This book will remind you of the hardships that women used to go through simply based on their sex. I think the outcome of the trial was exactly that – based on that fact that Lily’s testimony was basically worthless because she was a woman.

The book also brings to light some issues that not happened back then, but happen today too and the world probably doesn’t even realize it. There were some parts of the book that were difficult to read because it just breaks your heart. Linda Brooks Davis is not afraid to bring all the horrid things that happened back then to light, and I have to be honest that this book is not for the faint of heart.

. . . an emotional and wonderful read.

Lily’s journey to rely on and love her Heavenly Father was a pleasure to read. I think sometimes when someone has a horrible earthly father (which struck a chord for me in a very personal way), it’s hard to remember that we still have a father who cares for us. We have someone we can call Daddy, talk to, cry with, and even laugh with. With this faith element woven throughout the entire book, it made it easier to read read the parts that broke my heart. Because in the end, God is in control. Through all the good and the bad.

This is a book that will move you.

Yes there are difficult topics presented, however it is such a touching story that you cannot help but read on to see what is going to happen next . . . Historical fiction lovers will most likely devour the book once they start reading.” 

“This is an amazing historical women’s fiction book.
 
The characters were incredibly well developed. Many times my heart broke for what they were having to deal with and go through. I wanted to step into Ella and Abbie’s place and take Lily in and protect her. She had so much thrown at her in her life.
 
This story was much heavier than most of the books that I read. The depth of evil that was perpetrated against others was appalling. I was completely engrossed by it though.
 
I loved the fact that so many of the characters we strong Christians. They continually prayed about things and tried to encourage others to do the same. I was overjoyed when the need for Jesus Christ in a person’s heart and life was brought forward.
 
I’m giving this wonderful book a 5 star rating. I’m highly recommending it.”

“What a story! The main character, Lily, faces so many challenges.  She is abused as a child, and the emotional and physical scars accompany her into adulthood. Throughout the book, she wrestles with the question of how a loving God could allow such suffering and cruelty, a question which most people have to confront at some point in their lives.

Her journey to faith is inspiring.

Although Lily’s father was evil embodied, her mother was a shining example of the love of Jesus. Lily was rescued from her horrible environment by a neighbor who loved her as a dear friend and gave her a home, an education, and a future.

This book follows Lily’s journey to discovering her ancestry and rescuing a child from slavery and destroying a slave ring. This book is intense at times. While the author does well at describing the circumstances discretely, I would recommend that parents read this book before giving it to their children. The author wrote this story in first person which gives better insight into the thoughts of the main character . . .”

“Linda Brooks Davis is one of those authors who evokes a feeling that you have personally known them all your life. Her writing brings you the feeling of family, of a legacy that you truly feel a part of. Her stories make you want to be a part of the past, of history and gives you the all-knowing first hand feeling that you are there, with her characters as you follow through their lives along with them.

Lillian Cathleen has been abused most of her life. She has never really known love. Her father hated her. Her Mother wasn’t able to truly love her because of her father’s abuse.

Lillian’s friends see the beauty in her, and the kindness in her soul. Their love surrounds her. Can they help Lillian mend herself or is the damage done and is it too late to save this young girl’s soul, to lead her to a life of love and happiness? The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is a wonderful book and one you surely do not wish to miss!”

The Mending of Lillian Cathleen by Linda Brooks Davis turned out to be quite a surprise. I was expecting a simple historical romance. Instead, what I read was a novel set in the early twentieth century, involving some romance, but more importantly delving into the taboo world of human trafficking of young girls. Nearly beaten to death by her no-account father, Lily goes to live with a rich, generous neighbor. When her benefactor leaves for Europe, Lily also chooses to leave behind the town that rejected her testimony because she was female.

When the job Lily expected to take in Ft. Worth is given to another . . .

Lily finds herself following a circuitous path to assisting in the fight for women’s rights to vote, as well as helping the despised avoided women of Texas.

I loved that Ida, Cade, Maggie, and others each lovingly urged Lily to consider how God could influence her life. Lily’s question throughout much of the novel is, ”where was God when…” Davis deals with this question realistically, without giving pat answers, yet shows that God indeed is present and caring, even in the midst of unspeakable evil.

One of my favorite characters is Maggie.

She has such wisdom amidst her personal heartache. One such evidence: ‘But you’ll never plow a field by turning it over and over in your mind.’ I used to believe if I thought on something long enough, I could figure out a solution. Now I finally have realized that is just stewing. Plowing the field in my mind only.

Another ”Maggie-ism:”
‘If I dwell on what’s passed me by, I’ll not enjoy what’s hovering near.'”

The Mending of Lillian Cathleen by Linda Brooks Davis is a really wonderful book about allowing God to heal our past and not allowing it to continue to define our future. It is the second book in “The Women of Rock Creek” series and can read as a standalone but I recommend reading the first book first to get Lily’s background.

This book is about sex trafficking and abuse, but it is done without alot of graphic details. It is also three great love stories; Jesus and His love for His children and the love between a man and a woman and a mother’s love for her children.

This books shows heartache and triumphs.

If nothing else persuades you to read this story, I encourage you to read it to find out how items in a sewing machine comes to save the day!

This is a book that you will want to keep reading once you start it.

I have added her other books to my to be read list.

This quote is from Linda Brooks Davis’s guest post on the tour and it is so true that I’m adding it in the review, “‘Lily’s story captures some of the heartache of domestic abuse, but it packs a powerfully joyous punch at the end.'”

“A poignantly-written, at times haunting story full of a certain depth and breadth of subject and characters. The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is a story of soul-searching and pain, and one well worth reading as a strong reminder of the powerful struggle against injustice for generations of women (a struggle that isn’t truly over).

Not an especially light read but very powerful, visual and important nonetheless. This new to me author has certainly caught my attention with her style and subject matter. Highly recommend and encourage readers to be prepared to consider deeply the issues raised within this book’s pages.

“The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is not only an inspirational story for faith but for women being strong characters. It is inspiring what our character comes across, and how she faces it. Lily has faced more than anyone could imagine, the terror, the grief and how to move forward are all challenges that we as readers experience with her. This character had me in tears and had me smiling in more chapters than I can recall, her story was one that I truly enjoyed.

Not only is the world holding its breath for women’s rights, but we as readers will be holding ours through the growth of this character. I was perfectly content to lose myself in this book for a weekend and experience this story in my mind. The trials and reality of the time speak volumes to the author’s ability to take history and paint it into a fictional story but keep the traits intact.”

  1. “The ending was so emotional I cried until the end. God does care about each one of us. He sees our scars and wraps us in his arms to heal them. It was important in 1914 to stand up and be heard as a woman and that still stands today. This is one story that will linger with me forever. It reminds me that I am a survivor and just like Lilly, I realize that God was right there beside me through everything. Lilly and others like her will have to learn how to forgive, know that they are beautiful in God’s eyes and loved unconditionally.”
  2. “From the tumultuous start and all the unexpected twists and turns with never a dull moment, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen was one powerful magnificent novel even with all the heart wrenching events. Set in 1914 and filled with historical eventsbeginning of WWI, women suffrage, Hell’s Half Acre and the unthinkable events that happened outside of Ft. Worth, TX area, child trafficking and the heroine’s own abuse by her drunken father was difficult to read at times but definitely an outstanding worthwhile novel to read.

    Lillian Cathleen treasuring her mother’s hidden trunk, caring for her malnourished brother, Donnie, caring neighbors who took her in after her abuse and unforeseen connection of her deceased mother gave way too many moments of heart pounding, tears and eventual smiles with her resilience and determination to stop the ring of abductions.

    Lily is a character that will remain with me for a long time, along with her story and overcoming multiple obstacles while discovering the secret to inner peace, joy and love through Jesus Christ as her Savior. Cade, the hero, and other secondary characters added dimension and realism to the story. The vivid descriptive words placed me right there with the characters and kept the pages turning wondering what is going to happen next.”

  3. “The Mending of Lillian Cathleen is a gripping novel set in 1914 Oklahoma and Texas. Lily is a woman who does not know her own strength after growing up with an abusive father who eventually kills her mother. Even though she was rescued from the abuse by loving neighbors, she wasn’t able to save her mother and brother. Now Lily must learn to use her story to bring about much needed change in Women’s rights.

    I am the Great Granddaughter of Sharecropper, this novel gave me glimpse into the poverty and despair that could be found in the situation, thankfully my family, even though poor was filled with love. I loved this book, it gripped me from start to finish. It was a suspense, mystery and sweet romance all rolled into one.

    The characters face challenges that tug at my heart, I found myself wanting to rescue them. This in not a light read, it does not shy from the topics of child abuse, sex trafficking and prostitution, however it does it in a way that is not too detailed if a younger teen were to pick up the book. I hope to read more of The Women of Rock Creek series.”

  4. “The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, by Linda Brooks Davis, is an historical fiction novel that tells a realistic and emotionally poignant story of one woman’s journey through serious loss, rejection, and grief. At times the story is heavy with extremely raw emotions and very painful truths.

    Yet, this journey through and beyond despair and heartache is significantly strengthened and uplifted by meaningful moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, restoration, healing, and reconciliation are made possible through God’s mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

    The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, the second book in the Women of Rock Creek series, may not always be an easy, light-hearted read because of its serious themes and content; however, it is an extremely meaningful, relevant, and thought-provoking novel. The author, Ms. Davis, is exceptionally talented at telling the story through the first person perspective of the main character, Lillian.

    Throughout the story it is Lillian who . . . 

         . . . must bravely pursue the answers to tough questions, while also fighting  
         desperately to grasp the healing and the hope that might be found within her
         heartbreak. And it is within her search for hope and healing that the
         significant themes of this novel manage to encourage and inspire.
 

         . . . perseveres. She carries on . . . accepts help when needed . . . chooses
         courage and selflessness . . . finds faith . . . fights for freedom and redemption
         for herself and for others. And in so doing, she becomes an inspiration, and her
         story becomes one of encouragement and hope.

         Lillian’s story shows that even though life can be very hard, and trials can befall
         anyone, God’s strength, grace, and forgiveness are always available to make the
         process of healing and restoration possible.

         I found The Mending of Lillian Cathleen to be interesting and authentic. It is a
         deeply moving and thoughtfully written novel that touched me through its
         skillful use of relatable characters, historical settings, and meaningful
         themes. Ms. Davis is truly a gifted storyteller. She seems to be unflinching
         when it comes to crafting relevant stories that need to be told. In The
         Mending of Lillian Cathleen
,

         Ms. Davis has written a compelling work of historical inspirational fiction that
         I can certainly recommend to all late-teen and adult readers who enjoy
         stories that include history, mystery, romance, and faith.

         **It is worth noting that this powerful novel deftly explores issues and
         emotions that are related to very difficult experiences, including child abuse,
         child abduction, and even sexual abuse.
Those who are sensitive to direct or
         indirect references to these issues may find certain scenes in this novel tough to
         read.

         However, these difficult scenes are never presented without also referring to
         the mercy, hope, and healing that is made possible through the abundant love,
         forgiveness, and grace of Jesus Christ. Above all, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen
         is a story of redemption and new beginnings made possible through the
         unconditional love of God.

   5. “From the tumultuous start and all the unexpected twists and turns with never a
         dull moment, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen was one powerful magnificent
         novel even with all the heart wrenching events
. Set in 1914 and filled with
         historical eventsbeginning of WWI, women suffrage, Hell’s Half Acre and the
         unthinkable events that happened outside of Ft. Worth, TX area, child trafficking
         and the heroine’s own abuse by her drunken father was difficult to read at times but
         definitely an outstanding worthwhile novel to read.” 

         Lillian Cathleen treasuring her mother’s hidden trunk, caring for her malnourished  
         brother, Donnie, caring neighbors who took her in after her abuse and unforeseen
         connection of her deceased mother gave way too many moments of heart
         pounding, tears and eventual smiles
with her resilience and determination to
         stop the ring of abductions.

         . . . a character that will remain with me for a long time, along with her story
         and overcoming multiple obstacles while discovering the secret to inner
         peace, joy and love through Jesus Christ as her Savior.
Cade, the hero, and
         other secondary characters added dimension and realism to the story. The vivid
         descriptive words placed me right there with the characters and kept the
         pages turning wondering what is going to happen next.”

Linda Brooks Davis divider