Author : Vivien Brown
Title : Lily Alone
Pages : 416
Publisher : Harper Impulse
Publication date : June 15, 2017
Lily, who is almost three years old, wakes up alone at home with only her cuddly toy for company. She is afraid of the dark, can’t use the phone, and has been told never to open the door to strangers.
But why is Lily alone and why isn’t there anyone who can help her? What about the lonely old woman in the flat upstairs who wonders at the cries from the floor below? Or the grandmother who no longer sees Lily since her parents split up?
All the while a young woman lies in a coma in hospital – no one knows her name or who she is, but in her silent dreams, a little girl is crying for her mummy… and for Lily, time is running out.
Ruby Baxter is the victim of a hit-and-run accident and ends up in hospital in a coma. With no identification on her, nobody knows who she is or where she came from. And all the while her two year old daughter Lily is home alone.
This scenario is so incredibly scary because it’s sadly all too believable. In this day and age when people mind their own business and a true sense of community like in the old days is long forgotten, it’s perfectly feasible that nobody would notice a child left alone in a flat. These things can and do happen. Lily’s chapters were particularly gripping and tense as the reader spots the dangers but she so very clearly doesn’t. I almost found myself yelling “NO! Don’t touch that!”
The harrowing circumstances Lily finds herself in will change the lives of all those involved and connected to her in some way. But why do they not notice sooner that something is wrong? Where is Lily’s father? Or her grandparents? What about the neighbours?
For some reason I thought this was a psychological thriller. Don’t even ask, I have no idea. It’s not, in case you wondered. It is an incredibly well written domestic drama with a multitude of realistic characters. There’s Agnes, the neighbour, who is old, lonely and suffering from arthritis. Her son William has been at a loss since his divorce. Lily’s father Michael is flying home with his new fiancé Patricia and determined to make sure his daughter is a part of their lives. There’s also Lily’s paternal grandmother, Geraldine. And at the hospital we find Laura, an A&E nurse, Fiona, Gina and also Paul, the hospital chaplain. All these lives will be affected somehow because of Lily’s and Ruby’s circumstances.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story as we explore how one little mistake can have such devastating consequences. The only thing that niggled at me was I sometimes felt Lily sounded older than her years. What two year old knows about scary mummy movies? Feel free to enlighten me. I don’t have children so what would I know?! That’s a small thing though and it didn’t ruin my reading experience at all. Highly recommend!
Lily Alone was published as an ebook on June 15th.