Life Entwined with Lily's is the last installment in the Lily Trilogy penned by experienced fiction author and journalist Sherry Boas.
In the first book, Until Lily, Ms. Boas introduces the reader to the trilogy's main character, Lily Eagan, born with Down syndrome. After her mother Jennifer dies, Lily and her siblings are cared for by Beverly Greeley, Jennifer’s only sister. Narrated from Aunt Bev’s point of view, we learn how the lives of the Eagan children and the Greeleys are changed forever.
In the second book, Wherever Lily Goes, Lily is living at a group home in Seattle mourning the death of Aunt Bev. Her sister Terry lives in Minnesota with her husband Jake Lovely and their three daughters: Laura, Katie, and Beth, an extremely disturbed and troublesome teenager. Through Terry's narrative, we learn about the Lovelys’ relocation to Seattle to give Lily a family and a home. Terry also recounts Lily's dilemmas, developmental issues, and unique family dynamics, including Lily's special bond with her dad, Pablo.
In Life Entwined with Lily's, the trilogy’s masterpiece, we get to know a more grown-up Lily, a young woman who dreams of marriage and motherhood. On her way to visit her dad in California, Lily meets Frank Stillwell and it’s love at first sight. Lily and Frank get married and live in a guest house in the Lovely's backyard. As the story unfolds, the reader will rejoice at Lily's marriage and be pleasantly surprised at her excellent mothering skills. But Lily's life will have its share of trials too.
The book is narrated by Beth, whose style is a sweet and sour mix of deep concern toward others and a search for self-worthiness. With this character, the author brings to our attention some of the issues facing adolescents: peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, and abortion. It also explores how wrong decisions and actions can affect a teen’s self-esteem.
After reading the trilogy, Beth became my favorite character. The author discloses Beth's darkest secret, haunting remorse, and how her tormented soul finally found peace. She emerges as a strong and notably caring young woman.
Writing a trilogy is an enormous amount of work and a great challenge for an author. It requires a skillful hand to maintain each character's uniqueness throughout the story. Ms. Boas takes it a step further with the Lily Trilogy, the chronological story of Lily and her significant influence on others. She writes from three completely different points of view without distorting her characters’ idiosyncrasies.
Although they were written as part of a trilogy, each book could be read individually. However, to fully appreciate Lily's transformation, the trilogy should be read in its entirety.
I highly recommend the Lily Trilogy to readers who delight themselves in fiction based on real-life events and Catholic values. It not only tells a good story, but it could also bring hope to people dealing with a shameful past by demonstrating that all wounds are healed through God's redeeming love.