Lilly Jean

The Cedar Cove Chronicles, Book Six

Fiction - Drama
279 Pages
Reviewed on 05/14/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Lilly Jean is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, family saga, and emotional writing genres, and is the sixth novel in The Cedar Cove Chronicles penned by author Cynthia Ulmer. The plot follows the titular character, Lilly Jean, as she navigates the challenges of coming of age in a small town in 1956. Haunted by a childhood tragedy inflicted by Horace Hammond, Lilly Jean grapples with fear and uncertainty as she prepares to embark on a new chapter in her life by attending nursing school. However, her plans are complicated by overprotective parents and lingering trauma, leaving her torn between her desire for independence and her need for familial support.

Author Cynthia Ulmer uses drama and emotion to craft a heartfelt journey through the complexities of adolescence and the quest for self-discovery. I found the narrative presentation around Lilly Jean very well-crafted, offering a wide-angle view of her place as a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, then homing in on key moments so that we can see her grow and strengthen as she grapples with past traumas. The challenge of forging her own path in a small-town community is palpable, and the dialogue and presentation of the other characters in her family and community were authentic and engaging. The narrative is infused with a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era, capturing the essence of 1950s America with vivid detail and authenticity, but also a keen sense of the differences in attitudes at the time. Ulmer's storytelling is both charming and poignant, drawing readers into Lilly Jean's world with suspenseful moments and heartfelt emotion. Overall, Lilly Jean is a captivating addition to The Cedar Cove Chronicles, offering a timeless tale of courage that I would certainly recommend.