cover image Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

Julie Kibler. Crown, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-451-49933-2

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.[em] (July) [/em]