This is first and foremost a book about history, and how our life narratives parallel those of people born decades earlier. Alternating between the present day and the early twentieth century,Home for Erring and Outcast Girlsexplores the lives of fallen women who desperately seek refuge from their struggles, and whose only hope is to find a place to call Home. I found myself laughing, smiling, and shedding tears with the characters in this book. This historical fiction novel is a touching tribute to the Berachah Home, and all the women who lived there.
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.
About the Author
Julie Kibler is the author of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls and the bestselling Calling Me Home, which was an IndieNext List pick, Target Club Pick, and Ladies' Home Journal Book Club Pick, published in fifteen languages. She has a bachelor's degree in English and journalism and a master's degree in library science and lives with her family, including four rescued dogs and cats, in Texas.
Advance praise for Home for Erring and Outcast Girls:
“A world in which young, single mothers had few options—and even fewer advocates—comes to life in Julie Kibler’s skilled hands. Based on the history of the Berachah Industrial Home in Arlington, Texas, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls deftly reimagines the wounded women who came seeking a second chance and a sustaining hope. Their lives are raw and heartbreaking, their struggles an answer to a timeless question: Can friendship heal us after the world has broken us?”—Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours
“Home for Erring and Outcast Girls is a moving tale of friendship and resilience. It is the story of three different women, each of them betrayed and abandoned, and the ways in which they find their way home. Emotional. Raw. Compelling. Julie Kibler writes with skill, compassion, and grace.”—Ariel Lawhon, author of I Was Anastasia
“Julie Kibler explores with splendid insight what it’s like to feel exiled from the very people you thought would stand by you and for you no matter what, and that sometimes home is not the place where you were raised but rather the place where you found the strength to rise up out of despair. Memorable and surprising and hopeful.”—Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War