REVIEW – Lily Rose by Deborah Robinson

Lily Rose is a debut novel based loosely on the author’s real life experiences. The premise intrigued me and while this book is pretty interesting, it might be a little too matter of fact for the story presented.

We start with Jeff, a teenage girl living in Kentucky. She’s very naive and VERY materialistic. I’m not sure if we’re meant to dislike her from the start, but it’s hard to sympathize with her.

We skip ahead to meet Lily Rose, a young girl that’s been adopted by very loving parents. Tragedy strikes Lily Rose at a young age, and she spends her teen and adult years coping.

What I found difficult about this book: the time period is VERY hard to nail down. We know that our “present” day is 30-some years before the chronological beginning of this event (meeting Jeff as a teen) but we don’t have a concrete decade to refer to when it comes to attitudes about…well, everything. The pacing is also a little inconsistent, until you realize that the story has jumped ahead a few years at some points.

There are a lot of “rich people problems” in this book. One character comes from a relatively privileged background, ends up inheriting a fortune and marries rich. The other acquires a substantial amount of money prior to graduating high school and, surprise surprise, marries rich.

And maybe the toughest part: Lily Rose doesn’t really seem to have her own voice. She seems naive, even as an adult. When someone tells her something is right or something is wrong, she just shrugs and believes them. She’s a little bit like a cardboard cutout that’s becoming sentient.

There’s a great story at the heart of Lily Rose, but the execution is a little off.

Content warnings: mention of suicidal thoughts, brief mention of abortion, parental death, toxic relationship/marriage, infertility, domestic abuse.

Thank you Emi Battaglia PR and Skyhorse Publishing for sending me a finished copy of this book.