Book Review: The Things Lily Knew

The Things Lily KnewFew novels are rich enough in characters to become a series, but the Lily Trilogy belongs in this rare company. The characters around Lily, a woman with Down syndrome who has a profound affect on the world around her, are so vividly drawn, so realistic and multifaceted, that they become friends with whom you want to stay in touch. So when novelist Sherry Boas announced that she was publishing another Lily book, The Things Lily Knew, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

In this book, we learn about Annabel Greeley, the woman whose life Lily indirectly saved from abortion. Aannabel  is a brilliant geneticist and a Rhodes Scholar who has lived a charmed life. As the novel begins, she is faced with an enviable choice, two attractive, successful scientists are in love with her and she must choose between them. One, the gorgeous ladies man, Brad Beauchamp, is a former lover who jilted her for an ex-girlfriend,  is offering her a once in a lifetime career opportunity, and makes it clear to Annabel that his feelings for her will lead to a renewed love relationship.

Annabel fears her past attraction for him well up every time he mentions rekindling their old romance and cause her to forget Brad’s infidelity. The other man in her life is Logan Horne, who, despite being an intellectual snob, is devoted to her happiness and proposes to her at a gala celebrating his greatest accomplishment. Both men have the world at their feet. They are renowned geneticists with prestigious careers and promise Annabel lifelong devotion, yet Annabelle is unable to make up her mind between these men without knowing why.

She, the Oxford scholar, seeks the wisdom to make her decision in two of the most unlikely places; the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, and in the former home of Lily. In the contentment of the poor of Jamaica and the marriage of a woman with Down syndrome, the intellectual discovers the secret to happiness is not necessarily where the world would tell you to find it; success, wealth, fame, physical beauty and intelligence. Happiness is found in love, but the world has lost sight of the essence of true love, and the men who say they love Annabel cannot convince her that they do either. Annabel discovers that Lily knew love within her brief but happy marriage, and by learning about her life through her niece Beth, she is led to someone who can show her the true meaning of love; self-sacrifice.

The Things Lily Knew is edifying, challenging, and as the three novels before it, an absorbing read. Bring it with you on that summer vacation, because you won’t be able to put it down!

Leticia Velasquez is a wife and homeschooling mother of three daughters. Leticia is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Faith and Family magazine,  a columnist for Celebrate Life magazine, and blogger at Cause of Our Joy and at Catholic Media Review. She is the editor of A Special Mother is Born: Parents Share How God Called Them to the Extraordinary Vocation of Parenting a Special Needs Child.