Patti Lacy and I met via the internet. We visited each others blogs. Her warm and chipper personality made me wonder if her novels would have that same lovely heart that comes through so freely in her comments. In her new novel, Reclaiming Lily, I saw all the research and hard work she put into the novel.
Reclaiming Lily is an adoption story peppered with the issues of infertility, difficulty in relating as a Chinese-born teen to white Americans, and searching for home. It’s a story of a parent seeking to understand her adopted Chinese-born teenager who doesn’t know how to express her anger at not fitting in.
Reclaiming Lily starts us in China at a poor orphanage where we first meet Dr. Kai Chang watching from the sidelines as her sister, Lily, is taken away by an American couple for adoption. A life long desire spurs Dr. Chang forward to succeed professionally and find a cure for the disease that took her mother—PKD or Polycystic Kidney Disease; a terminal illness remedied only by a transplant.
Gloria Powell, the mother of Lily or now legally named Joy Powell, is afraid of Dr. Chang’s intentions. Joy is her only child and she expresses her fears through her anger towards Dr. Chang. It’s hard to like Gloria. She doesn’t behave as most characters behave in tame, Christian novels. Gloria is quick tempered and prideful, but you can’t help but like her anyway. You can relate to her reflexes. Her husband is the least likable until he stands up to his wife’s willful ways, but in a way that honors Gloria. Joy is a typically angry teenager going through issues she can’t yet express in words. Dr. Chang is also likable and in the beginning, hardly emotional.
I love the way Patti pulls the story together, allowing the characters to develop and change in the most natural way a 373-page novel could, and the end was a pleasant twist. In truth, I was secretly rooting for that end. The twist she also puts in the middle of the story keeps this novel from becoming predictable. You can tell her trip to China in 2010 was a huge influence. You can read those entries here.
All in all I found nothing objectionable or inaccurate in the story. It’s clearly a culture shock between America and China. I do wonder if in Texas there is truly a racist bent against Asians or if that was just a part of the story to further Joy’s alienation in church. Having grown up in Southern California, Asians were a common sight and wonderful people. I had an Asian friend next door that I loved to hang around. I gave the book five stars.
Bethany House gave me the book to review.