Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

This is a beautifully written and poignant story, based upon a real home built for  young women caught in very bad circumstances. The characters are very well drawn and the descriptions spot on. It was overly long but still a worthy read.
Was this review helpful?
Julie Kibler is such a talented author, and I loved her previous book, and this new book does not disappoint.  She addresses difficult topics, but with grace, and she draws you into her characters.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to preview this book.  I will be recommending it to many!
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for this book, because I'm a sucker for historical fiction. It was a decent read, but there's a twist that just didn't seem necessary.
Was this review helpful?
Home for Erring and Outcast Girls
A Novel

by Julie Kibler

Crown Publishing


Historical Fiction

Pub Date 23 Jul 2019

I am reviewing a copy of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls through Crown Publishing and Netgalley:

Built in 1903 in the dusty outskirts of Arlington in the dusty outskirts between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red light district.  The Berachah Home for the protection and Redemption of Erring Girls is a beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets, either by birth or personal tragedy.  The home bucks popular trends by offering faith, training and Rehabilitation to Prostitutes, addicts, and unwed mothers without forcing the removal of children from parents.  Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there, one is sick and abused, but desperately clings to her young daughter, the other jilted by a beau who fathered her sick son.  These two form a friendship that see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and in the end diverging paths.

Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian discovers the truth about Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride a century later as she stumbles upon the cemetery of the former grounds and begins to dig through its history in her library.  Cate was pulled by an indescribable connection, there Stories lead her to face her own painful past and to reclaim the life she has thought was gone forever.  Home for Erring and Outcast Girls show the dark roads that can lead to ruin, and how we often fight to get back to the right path.

I give Home for Erring and Outcasts Girls five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
Was this review helpful?
This is a very moving story and beautifully written. The narrative moves back and forth between Cate in the present, and Lizzie and Mattie in the early 1900's. Mattie and Lizzie immediately appealed to me as characters. As the story opens, both are in desperate situations with no resources to draw on. Cate took me a little more time to warm up to because she has closed herself off from people so completely. In the end, I think I enjoyed her part of the story the most because of the depth of the transformation her research leads her to. Having lived a stone's throw from Arlington, TX, where the Berachah home was located, I was very drawn to the historical aspect of the story. In the historical records there is mention of a Lizzie and a Mattie and the author has incorporated what is actually known about their lives into the this fictional account. I loved everything about this book, the setting, the characters, the historical setting and recommend it to anybody who wants a good story.
Was this review helpful?
Home for Erring and Outcast Girls is an emotionally powerful trip through history, inspired by historical events and real people, this book tells the story of fallen women and their struggles to find a place to call home both in early 20th century and now.  Highly recommended for all! 

* I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I have very mixed feelings about this book.  It's beautifully written and a powerful story about the choices women make and have had to make for centuries, and how they are judged by society for their choices or lack of options.  I wanted to love it, but I found the first half to be quite slow- I was more interested in the present-day story line than the historical one.  It did pick up towards the end, and again, it's an important story and novel- I just wished I had enjoyed reading it more than I did.  Rounding up from 3.5 stars because of the subject matter and excellent prose.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, what can I even say other than this blew me away? I knew from the title, alone, that I would fall deeply in love with this book but it still took me by surprise just how much I loved it. 

I struggled with the first chapters. Lizzie's dialect threw me off in her first few chapters. Enough so that I was beginning to think this book wouldn't be for me, after all. But then, before I knew it, Mattie was introduced into the plot and Lizzie's dialect stopped and read more freely. I felt like her story would pull me out of the moment in the beginning by a phrase randomly inserted, to give it more of an authentic old time feel. But those phrases never felt right where they were. Thankfully, though, they ended by the time Mattie showed up and I began to fall in love with all of the characters of the Home for their quirks and heartaches.

I also loved the story of Cate and was so blown away by River a little more than halfway through the book. I wish I had had a physical copy in my hands so that I could go back through because who I thought River was, definitely wasn't. I can only remember one instance that would have hinted to that, and that was the description of the hair. Otherwise, this totally blew me away and made me love them even more than I already did. Their story was so interesting and I was heartbroken to see Cate just up and leave River. 

The back in forth between two women, hundred of years apart yet so similar was mesmerizing. I'm so glad to have gotten to read this and step back into a time where a girl like me could have easily been cast out, with no where to go and no one to turn to.  This is the kind of book that will stick with the reader for a long time.
Was this review helpful?
I was intrigued when I read the summary of "Home for Erring and Outcast Girls" and became fascinated more and more as I was reading it. As frustrating as it is to hear how people treated and viewed these poor women and children, I do love that there was a place for them, although it was open to them only once they reached the point in which the worst has already happened, and not when it is inevitable that it will. I loved reading about the relationships of those years ago at the home as well as the ones from the present. I personally liked the alternating points of view and changes in time periods, and found that the connection and links added more to the story. If anything, I think that is what made me enjoy the book even more. I haven't read any books by this author before and was very impressed with her writing style, her apparent knowledge of the history, and her knack of capturing the essence of the times perfectly. I will definitely read more by her!
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed reading this book and learning about The Berachah Home.  The experiences in life for some of the women were heartbreaking. I was captivated by Mattie and Lizzie’s stories. I will be reading more by this author in the future. 
Many thanks to Crown Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Narrated by three women: Cate (2016-2017  & 1998), Lizzie and Mattie (1904-1933), all with secrets in their pasts. Cate's new home and job are near the former site and cemetery of the Berachah Industrial Home in Texas.  Her job as assistant librarian in Collections leads her to the archives of the Berachcah Home. She becomes fascinated with the lives of the women. Cate hires an undergraduate assistant who begins to break through Cate's carefully guarded emotional walls with both women revealing themselves to each other. . 
Unwed mother's Lizzie and Mattie come to live at Berachah in 1904. As the it stories unfold, there are many parallels - sexual abuse by a family me,bet or close friend, pregnancy, and abandonment. The home uses commitment to religion as a way to start a new life with strict adherence to biblical laws and mores. 
As I read it this book, I was reminded so often of my own strict, religious upbringing. I wondered if my own knowledge and baggage were impacting my interpretation and enjoyment. I have concluded that like so many books set in religious communities, this book has an important message of empathy. I will be recommending this book. The characters are well-developed and sympathetic. 
Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the eARC in return for an hones review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was an amazing book, and I finished it so quickly, but didn't want it to end.

Each chapter is a different character and different time period so it kept it interesting.

Lizzie and Mattie are "fallen" girls during early 1900's - when no one else wants to help them, they find refuge in the Berachah Home which protects girls like them, and welcomes them and their children with open arms.

Cate is a librarian who, a century later, comes across their story and is fascinated by what happened to them. Cate also has a secret of her own, and reading about their stories helps her face the demons in her past.

This was such a lovely story of redemption and how to reconcile our pasts with our present and future.

Highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
3.75 Stars* (rounded up).

The Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is a place in Texas where unwed mothers were sent to live and to raise their children.  In the early 1900’s, it was unprecedented.  Some women stayed and some learned skills which would eventually allow them to find employment outside of the home.  All women became a family of sorts.
Lizzie and Maddie both arrive at the home with different stories.  Lizzie with her daughter Docie in tow.  Desperate and desolate, had she not found a place at Berachah, she and her daughter would most likely have died.  The home softens her and gives her something to live for.  It also gives her a best friend: Maddie.  Maddie is a spitfire.  Full of zest for life, Maddie makes the most of everything she learns and doesn’t take anything for granted even when people try to knock her down.  Through pain, suffering and tears, Lizzie and Maddie have each other.
In 2017, Cate, a Librarian and her assistant Laurel, come across the archives of The Berachah Home and begin digging into its history.  What they find bonds them together, in more ways than one.  

The timeline in “The Home for Erring and Outcast Girls” switches back and forth between the past and present day, though personally I preferred the historical timeline (which seems to be par for the course when I read historical fiction).  The characters of Lizzie and Maddie evoked more emotion out of me and made me feel what they were feeling while Cate and Laurel’s story was a bit lacking in my opinion.

This is now the second book that I have read by Julie Kibler (“Calling Me Home” being the first (which I adored)), and I can now say that I am most certainly a fan of her writing and look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.   
Thank you to NetGalley, Crown Publishing and Julie Kibler for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads and NetGalley on 7.3.19.
Will be published on Amazon on 7.23.19.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars 

The Berachah Industrial Home for Erring Girls in Arlington, Texas that is depicted in this novel was a real place. A cemetery is what remains of this institution founded by a minister and his wife . They were dedicated not just to helping girls and women who “erred” but also their babies, a different approach from other homes for unwed mothers at this time . A quick internet search will lead you to a number of articles and photos of the place which provided a safe haven for so many. The story is comprised of three narratives, two from the early 1900’s, one 2017. 

Lizzie Bates and her baby girl, Docie, are living a horrible life after unspeakable treatment and a drug addiction brought on by an evil man. She is hanging on to her life by a thread but hanging on to her daughter for dear life when she is rescued by Christian women and brought to a home. Maddie Corder is living her own hell is trying desperately to save her sick baby boy Cap. She makes her way to the home and the two connect and we see the beauty of friendship and caring as their fate over the years is revealed. Cate in the current story, is a university librarian working on archives whose research connects her to these two women. In the process of piecing together their lives, she finds herself. While Cate’s story was moving in its own right,  it really was Lizzie and Maddie’s stories that captivated me more. Perhaps because their stories were based in fact, but also because it took me a while to see how the narratives  were connected other than because Cate was researching them.

The author’s note at the end lets us know how well researched the novel is. Many of the characters were based on real people and the Kibler lets us know the places where she has taken liberties. While I admired the strength of these women and appreciated the historical significance of the home, I had a hard time making the connection between the past and present stories, thus the less than four star rating. Having said that, I enjoyed the writing and hope to read [book:Calling Me Home|15793184] as it has been on my list for quite a while.

 I received an advanced copy of this book from Crown through NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
As much as I know about Texas, I was so surprised I had never heard of The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls that was operating from 1903 to 1935.  This book is based on some of the people connected to the home and some that were buried in the adjoining cemetery.

Much of the book is based on Lizzie and Mattie, two women who were rescued by the home.  They become close friends, but eventually Mattie leaves the home to make her own way, while Lizzie stays there and works within the home.  

There are two timelines presented in the story, one from the 1920’s through the 1930’s that presents the lives of Lizzie and Mattie and a more contemporary version that tells the life of Cate, a librarian that researches the history of the Berachah home, but also has a traumatic past.

I found the historical timeline much more interesting and feel like I would have enjoyed the story just as much without Cate’s present day timeline.  Even so, I enjoyed reading and next time I find myself in the area, I’ll be looking for the graveyard with the historical marker.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls in Texas is the basis for this historical fiction novel. The home provided a safe place for women and their children, for the women to turn their lives around and for the children to be safe and cared for. Two of the main characters, Lizzie and Mattie, are based on real "fallen" women during the period 1903 to 1935. The other two main characters, Cate and River, live during the present day. 

The book is filled with both the physical and emotional struggles of women. Their vulnerability and courage - mostly when treated badly by men and by society. The book was fascinating, although a little slow at times. It is definitely an eye-opener to the past as Kibler paints an interesting glimpse into the lives of these women.

Thanks to Crown Publishing through Netgalley for an advance copy.
Was this review helpful?
I was drawn to this book by its cover and a synopsis that sounded intriguing.  Stories around real historical events are a favorite of mine and this one appears to have a unique twist.  Rather than having unwed mothers separated from their newborn they were offered a place to recover, build a new life that included their infant. Usually, babies were separated, adopted out and moms told to forget about them. This home changed that and I was curious to read about it.

Told in dual time periods, it's 1904 when Lizzie and Mattie are introduced and tell of how they ended up at Berachah Home.  Their friendship takes off as they get closer and go through a lot together. 

Current day we have Cate and I was really interested in her story.  Her fascination with the Berachah Home and her mysterious past kept me reading.

The first half of the story had me intrigued but after that, it kinda flattened out, not for lack of plot but maybe because the characters just didn't talk to me anymore or a plot while still interesting but not enough to keep me glued to the pages.  It doesn't usually take me 2 weeks to finish a book but I didn't have that burning desire to know the outcome.

I did love the author's descriptions, the amount of research is evident as she vividly portrayed the times at the turn of the century, the poverty, struggles, and hardships that women went through. I know I am going against the flow here, it started out as 4 stars read but even though I am giving it 3 stars still means I liked it.  I have heard good this about Julie Kibler's previous book Calling Me Home and will read it at some point.

My thanks to the publisher (via Netgalley) for an advanced ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Following the stories of Lizzie and Mattie, two residents of the Berachah Home in the early 20th century, and Cate a woman in her late 30s in modern times who becomes obsessed with the stories of the women at the Berachah Home. I love historical fiction and I enjoyed reading the stories of Lizzie and Mattie, how they came to the home, the friendship they shared that sustained them through the rest of their lives. Though each took a different course, they were proof that you can turn your life around and start fresh.

Less compelling was the story of Cate. Cate has isolated herself in the world as a result of her own traumatic past  and finds a connection in the stories she discovers of the Berachah women. For much of the book, it felt like I was reading two separate books when the narration shifted. Though the link is revealed in the end, it felt weak and almost as an after-thought. I would have enjoyed the story more if it had focused solely on Lizze, Mattie and the other Berachah women and dispensed entirely with Cate.
Was this review helpful?
Ai was initially drawn to this book because it takes place near where I live I. A suburb of Dallas, Texas .  In the early 1900s, the two main characters meet at a home for fallen women, where they are allowed to keep their children. Quite unusual for the times.  The other thread is a modern woman researching the home where they lived and what happened to it and the girls who resided there
Was this review helpful?