Lilli de Jong

Lilli de Jong

by Janet Benton

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525563327
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 82,731
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

JANET BENTON’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has cowritten and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and for decades she has taught writing and helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

1883. Third Month 16
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Lilli de Jong"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Janet Benton.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

1. How do you think the death of Lilli’s mother affected the course of Lilli’s life?

2. What role do you think Lilli’s religious background played in her willingness to suffer for her choices?

3. Does her faith remain the same or change in the course of the story?

4. How did the diary form of the novel affect your experience of the story?

5. Are there challenges Lilli faced that women still struggle with today?

6. How do you think Lilli’s story might be different if it was set today? In what ways might it be the same?

7. What messages about motherhood will you take away from the novel?

8. Are there choices Lilli made that you might have made differently, in her circumstances?

9. Johan tells Lilli he won’t pry into her secrets. But her mother warns that secrets will corrode bonds. Whose approach do you agree with?

10. What affected you most when you were reading Lilli’s story, and what do you think will remain with you?

Customer Reviews

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Lilli de Jong: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 8 months ago
This was a pleasant surprise! The writing is so beautiful but I was not expecting to be on the edge of my seat while reading this one. I was so worried for Lilli and her baby! Highly recommend if you love historical fiction!
teachlz 11 months ago
Kudos to Janet Benton , Author of “Lilli de Jong” for writing such a captivating, emotional, intriguing and compassionate novel. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for this story is around 1883, and the location is mostly Philadelphia. I appreciate the historical research and the resources that the author has used to create this novel. The author discusses that during this time in history, one of the worst crimes that a woman can do, is to conceive a child out-of-wedlock. Often these young women were forced to leave their homes and disowned by their families, and were outcasts. They were encouraged to give up their babies. The survival of these “bastards'” as the children were called was very slim. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. There is a difference shown between wealth and poverty. Lilli de Jong , a Quaker who grew up in Germantown believes that her lover will marry her. She winds up pregnant, and abandoned. In 1883 a single, unwed mother to be had very few choices. Lilli does find an institution for unwed mothers, and lives and works there. Like most of the young women there, it is expected that Lilli will give up her baby. These women feel shame , guilt and are frightened. Lilli notices that after the women give birth, they often have to nurse more than one child. Their babies are taken away, and their prospects are very slim. When Lilli gives birth, she finds herself in love with her little girl, and can’t give her away. In order to survive, Lilly has to find work. She works for a wealthy family nursing their little boy, and cleaning their home. While Lilli works, she has to find someone to nurse and take care of her baby. Often these wet-nurses would feed several babies in terrible conditions. I love that the author discusses that women have to work hard to survive, despite prejudice and being ostracized from their homes and community. These women have no rights, are discriminated against, and yet to survive they have to be brave, relentless, and courageous. This time period shows no regard or equality for women. I highly recommend this novel to readers who appreciate Historical Fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PIcked it up because I was intrigued by the name. Loved it! Beautifully written, full of insight and observations without being overbearing. Gives a clear picture of the realities of American city life in the late 19th century and the struggles of women, especially mothers. Must read if you love fiction.
R_Wagman More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely breathtaking novel that immediately got under my skin. Beautifully written, Benton expertly evokes the experience of new motherhood: the radical shift in identity, the sudden responsibility, and the intense love. I was rooting for Lilli from start to finish, and couldn’t wait to return to the book whenever I had to put it down. The book is also relevant to many of today’s cultural conversations about female sexuality and women’s rights. The writing is excellent; think Geraldine Brooks.
R_Wagman More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely breathtaking novel that immediately got under my skin. Beautifully written, Benton expertly evokes the experience of new motherhood: the radical shift in identity, the sudden responsibility, and the intense love. I was rooting for Lilli from start to finish, and couldn’t wait to return to the book whenever I had to put it down. The book is also relevant to many of today’s cultural conversations about female sexuality and women’s rights. The writing is excellent; think Geraldine Brooks.