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.
Kibler (Calling Me Home) tells a heartbreaking story of women a century apart who have experienced trauma and attempt to move forward. Cate Sutton is a university librarian in 2017 Arlington, Tex., and she becomes fascinated by archived records of the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls. Cate and her work-study student Laurel Medina bond over their own murky struggles as well as the story of Lizzie Bates, which is part of the home's archives. In 1903, Lizzie takes her baby daughter to stay with her at the Texas home as Lizzie recovers from sexual abuse and drug addiction. There, she befriends another woman, Mattie Corder, and embraces the religious messages and safety provided by Brother JT Upchurch and his staff. Lizzie eventually stays on to continue helping troubled girls. As Cate and Laurel study the archives, they find strength to confront their own traumas together. Kibler's poignant story effectively captures the raw pain and anger these women experience, but also shows them moving forward and finding support in other women.
Time Split Fallen Women
Home for Erring and Outcast Girls by Julie Kibler tells a heart wrenching story in Split Time from 1900 to 2017. It is a story of a sin sick world and the effect of sin in each character‘s life. It is based on the history of a Christian Mission home for women and children in Texas. While not traditional Christian fiction, this book does offer a message of Christian compassion and grace. I found this book slow and difficult to get interested in especially Cate’s story which did not seem to fit well and thought some of the characters‘ stories were incomplete in that timeline. I enjoyed reading the historical story with all the details of the Berachah Home.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from First to Read. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.