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Book Review: My Sister Dilly by Maureen Lang

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Hannah Williams couldn’t wait to put her parents' hog farm, the small town of Sugar Creek, Illinois, and God behind her. As soon as she was able, she fled towards the coast of California, pursuing higher education and a career in financial consulting. Her younger sister Catherine — nicknamed Dilly — is content to stay home, marry and raise her intensely special needs daughter. But then the unthinkable happens.

Dilly is incarcerated for six years, and Hannah returns home upon Dilly’s release to provide all the support she failed to give before it was too late. Hannah has prepared for this day for six long years, putting her personal life on hold, focusing on the day when she can make things right, make it up to Dilly for letting her down. Now if only Dilly, her parents, the man who loves her and everyone else would cooperate.

An experienced author, Maureen Lang has penned, with My Sister Dilly, an issues-based, character driven novel  that brings God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and redemption into sharp focus. Dilly has fallen far, and though she has emerged from her trials a new creation, changed forever by accepting Jesus into her heart, her past actions will cause others to judge and condemn her for the rest of her life.

Dilly is a sweet, lovable character who pricked my heart. I found myself guilty of judging women in similar situations in the past; being shocked by them, being disgusted, being unforgiving. I’m convicted of my own shortcomings and I am reminded that God’s forgiveness brooks no exceptions – all of our sins are washed away by Jesus’ blood, no matter how heinous.

Lang’s writing is full of emotion that carries the reader from one scene to the next. The stories of the two sisters are two disparate cords twisted tightly together. Dilly is strong in her new found faith; Hannah is still running from God. Dilly is full of love that she longs to pour out on her daughter. Hannah is desperately avoiding her feelings for Mac back in California, feelings she has ignored for Dilly’s sake – or so she tells herself.

It’s rare that a title published by Tyndale House fails to drive me to self-examination. Their editors have a fine eye for Christian fiction that both convicts, encourages and entertains. Within the context of family ties Lang clearly establishes the truth that Christianity is a relationship with God, not a set of restrictive rules and regulations.

Lang gently leads readers into contemplation of their own lives and relationships with God while never descending into trite, moralistic writing. Though dealing with intensely emotional and difficult issues, Lang doesn’t allow us to slip into despair or loathing, but keeps our eye on God and His redemptive nature. She also provides readers with welcome moments of brevity; if you’ve ever lived on a farm or in a rural town, you’ll be able to relate.

My Sister Dilly packs a full serving of introspection, love, hope, and faith within the pages of this well-written, smooth reading contemporary novel. Relationships shift, new insights are gathered, individuals grow – and so will the reader if willing to examine his or her own life.

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About Jennifer Bogart

  • Hi, Jennifer –
    Thanks very much for the wonderful review. I’m so glad you enjoyed My Sister Dilly.
    And I have to say I entirely agree with you about the Tyndale editors. They’re top notch!

  • Thanks for stopping by Maureen. This is really a moving story, thank you for writing it!

  • Maureen Lang

    Thanks for posting this wonderful review! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. This was a plot I was afraid to explore, but found myself growing through the experience. Reviews like yours certainly make me glad I ignored those early fears, so thank you.