The Life She Was Given
by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Praise For This Book:
"Moving between Julia and Lilly’s stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope. “Wiseman has crafted a can’t-put-it-down novel of family secrets involving two young girls who only seek to be loved. Perfect for book clubs and readers who admired Sara Gruen’s Like Water for Elephants.”– Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

“Ellen Marie Wiseman gathers potent Gothic elements in The Life She was Given to examine the impact of child abuse across generations. A sumptuous plot balances horror and tenderness to reveal lesser-known facets of history… The Life She was Given is a vibrant maze of desires. The sharp divide between expectations and painful truths, mothers and daughters, past and present, culminate in a sensational finale.” – ForeWord Reviews

“A powerful, poignant novel.” – In Touch, Grade A

“Ellen Marie Wiseman is noted for capturing little known pockets of American life and depicting them with heart and insight; her latest novel may be her most harrowing yet…The author’s in-depth knowledge of traveling circuses and “freak shows” of the era is evident. The novel seamlessly blends mystery and history with compelling and well-researched details. The two women in the book, though separated by time, demonstrate resilience in the face of despair. Thematic elements include religious extremism; the many forms of love; and strength under adverse circumstances.” – The Historical Novels Review

“Wiseman has created two equally enticing story lines that gradually reveal the commonalities between them. This well-crafted novel provides rewards throughout.” - Publishers Weekly

“The lives of a 1930s circus performer and a 1950s runaway daughter intersect at an upstate New York horse farm.”– Kirkus Reviews

“A novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.” – Bookbub

“Wiseman excels at creating an atmosphere…Her characters are all vividly drawn and complex, especially Lilly’s abusive mother, Coralline. But at the heart of Wiseman’s tale of loss and redemption are Lilly and Julia, connected in spirit by their determination to overcome years of pain and sorrow. Fans of Karen White and Sara Gruen will be drawn in by the drama and mystery of Wiseman’s novel.” – BookPage

“I loved this book!...The unpredictable ending was gut wrenching, but in a way that made sense, given the entirety of the book.” – Shirley Cagle, Northshire Bookstore

“Wiseman did another wonderful job with her research of this time period, while interweaving some true events from history throughout her book.” – The Red Deer Advocate

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