Book Review: My Sister Dilly
Written by Maureen Lang
Reviewed by M.L. Tyndall
“The prison was in the middle of nowhere; at least that was how it seemed to me” From this first shocking sentence to the very last one of the book, My Sister Dilly grabbed me and held my heart captive for days. Warning: this is not a book for sissies, or for someone who doesn’t want to feel their gut wrench several times during the reading. This is a story of human weakness, regret, pain, and guilt, but ultimately, it is a story of love.
Living the jet-set life in California seemed like the perfect way to escape the hum-drum of the small town Hannah grew up in, as well as the strict-religious rules her parents crammed down her throat since she was young. But there was a price to pay. During the time she was gone, Hannah’s sister, Dilly, became stuck in a horrendous situation which let her to commit an unspeakable crime. Years later, Dilly is released from prison, and Hannah leaves her new life and the man she loves and takes a guilt trip back home to help her sister. Problem is, Dilly does not want or need Hannah’s help. While in prison, she committed her life to God and is much stronger now.
Hannah is mortified that Dilly seems to have grasped the restrictive religion of their parents, not to mention that she is unappreciative of all that Hannah is doing for her. To make matters worse, Hannah’s boyfriend from California, Mac, comes for a visit. His favorable impression of her small boring town, uptight parents, and church astound Hannah. How could this man from the big city see anything of value in the place she grew up? Could the perceptions of her youth been somehow skewed? But during Mac’s time there, Hannah’s realization that she loves him makes it all the more difficult to choose to stay with Dilly rather than leave on the next plane with him to California.
Meanwhile, Dilly seeks visitation rights for her disabled child, now under the protective custody of an angry and fearful ex mother-in-law. How can she prove to the woman and to the townspeople that she has truly changed and that she loves her daughter more than anything?
Ultimately, both Dilly and Hannah are seeking peace and forgiveness. A peace with their past, a peace with their present, a peace with each other, and best of all, a peace with God.
Maureen Lang has a writing style that perches you right inside the characters’ heads. As she switches from sister to sister, I truly understood each one. I felt their pain, their frustrations, their yearnings, as they battled with such important and heart wrenching issues. I label a book great when the characters become like real people to me, just like Hannah and Dilly and Mac have now become. Bravo to Ms. Lang for having the courage to address an issue that most Christian authors would steer away from. If you’re looking for a serious, thought-provoking read that will both challenge you and uplift you, then you won’t want to miss, My Sister Dilly.
M.L. Tyndall is the best-selling author of more than five novels, including The Legacy of the King’s Pirates’ series. She makes her home in Northern California with her husband, six children, and four cats. The Red Siren is a featured book in The Great Escape 2009. You can find out more about her at www.mltyndall.com.