Finished on May 28, 2019
Eleven-year-old Esme loves ballet. It’s her safe place. It’s where she feels like she belongs. But when her four-year-old sister, Lily, disappears, nothing feels the same anymore.
She feels out of place. Everyone she cares about is suddenly suspicious. The world is no longer safe.
When she’s offered a position at an elite ballet academy across the country, she takes it to escape. She hopes she can leave the shell of her family — of life after Lily’s disappearance — behind.
Eight years later, Esme is on the verge of her big break. She’s in Paris to dance for the role she’s always held dearest. Then, her other sister, Madeline, calls with earth-shattering news: Lily has been found.
Will all the unanswered questions they’ve carried around for years finally be answered? Will the guilt Esme has shouldered finally be relieved? Could things ever really be like they were before?
I chose this book as one of my Kindle First picks, and I’m glad I did. ‘A Lily in the Light’ is a beautifully written story about how loss affects us all differently. Of how an ungraspable uncertainty plays hell on our psyches, and how guilt eats us alive.
Esme and her family react differently to Lily’s disappearance. Her father searches desperately, sometimes letting anger overcome him while trying to hold his wife together. Her mother falls apart, losing herself completely to her grief. Her brother folds into himself, not knowing how to reach out and connect. Her older sister fights against her guilt with attitude and by trying to control anything and everything she can. And Esme loses herself in dance. All of them are like planets orbiting each other — orbiting Lily’s disappearance — lonely and confused but unable to connect.
Fields is undoubtedly a fan of flowery simile and metaphor, and sometimes they were a little overwhelming in their intensity and frequency. I’m as big a fan of them as anyone else, but they’re easily overused. That’s how I found myself feeling periodically throughout this book. When overused, they can be tiring.
Other than that, I enjoyed this book. I liked how honest and raw this story is. What the family goes through is unimaginable to most of us, but Fields does a good job of making it feel real and relatable.