A Lily in the Light by Kristin Fields

A Lily in the Light by Kristin Fields
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (288 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.

For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.
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Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

What do you do when your world is turned upside down? Esme is only eleven when her sister, Lily, disappears one night, changing everything she once thought she knew about herself, her family, and the world around her. How will she manage to move forward, follow her dreams, and be all that she knows she can be when they can’t even find Lily?

Esme is a fascinating character and I immediately liked her. Honest, childlike, but more mature than you’d expect, she grabbed my attention and held it. She’s so torn between being free to live her own life and feeling guilty for not having paid more attention to her sister the night she disappeared. It’s heartbreaking to read at times because you can tell she truly had a bond with Lily. Although I have no doubt that her siblings, Nick and Madeline, cared about Lily, it’s also obvious that they didn’t have the same relationship with her that Esme did.

I loved being able to journey with Esme through the horror of her sister disappearing to her adult life as a dancer. She really grows and becomes her own person and I think a lot of that is because she was able to get away from her family who, in so many ways, stagnates and can’t get past Lily’s disappearance. Even though Madeline and Nick manage to move on, they don’t seem to have found the kind of freedom that Esme does with her dance.

A Lily in the Light is more than the story about a missing girl. It’s about faith, hope, and learning how to cope when you feel like you can’t even begin to understand what’s happened. I was totally swept up in this emotional novel, rooting not only for Lily to be found, but for Esme to find herself and a way to help heal her broken family.

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