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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Like a Lily Among the Thorns by Karen S. Bell features Gabrielle, a young woman coming from a broken home. She leads a mostly contented life working in a small library and living in her sparse studio apartment. However, her world shatters on receiving an eviction notice. Although her dear friend, Countess Ivanova, offers her a refuge, the sudden change bothers Gabrielle. To her surprise, she soon inherits a bed-and-breakfast in Vermont. Although reluctant to take possession at first, the idea of becoming an innkeeper attracts Gabrielle. However, she soon realizes there is more to the inn than meets the eye. What secrets does the idyllic inn harbor within? Why do the local people consider it magical?
The novel offered a unique premise, something in between magical realism, mythology, and climate fiction. Gabrielle’s character demanded my admiration with her inherent optimism. I rooted for her once I realized that her relentlessly upbeat attitude was a coping mechanism against the depression that had plagued her since childhood. I was overjoyed when she gathered a group of benevolent, open-minded friends who would become instrumental in her life. I loved how Karen S. Bell occasionally backtracked from the storyline to narrate the backstories of these characters, making them all the more realistic. The novel highlighted the climate’s steady decline, fuelled by the mindless actions of selfish humans. Through this enchanting tale, Bell demonstrated how a closer connection to Mother Nature would be the key to preserving the earth. With its lush vocabulary and elegant writing, Like a Lily Among the Thorns was indeed a worthy read.