Shop by Category
Shop by Author
Shop by Publisher
A brilliant Rhodes Scholar and accomplished geneticist whose love life is torn in threes, Annabel Greeley is not lacking in wit or intellect. But when she is faced with a decision that will change not only her life, but the future of humanity, the answers elude her. She is hounded by the ever-present and unavoidable fact that she would not be alive if it weren't for her Aunt Lily, who happened to have Down syndrome and, seemingly, all of life's answers. Annabel's life is about to change in profound and paradoxical ways as she sets out in search of the things Lily knew.
Few novels are rich enough in characters to become a series, but the Lily Trilogy belongs in this rare company. The characters around Lily, a woman with Down syndrome who has a profound affect on the world around her are so vividly drawn, so realistic and multifaceted, that they become friends with whom you want to stay in touch. So when novelist Sherry Boas announced that she was publishing another Lily book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy..."The Things Lily Knew" is edifying, challenging, and as the three novels before it, an absorbing read. Bring it with you on that summer vacation, because you won't be able to put it down! - Leticia Velasquez, blog contributor at Catholic Media Review
I agreed to read The Lily Trilogy by Sherry Boas with some misgivings. The promotional literature asserts: The books have a pro-life thread throughout and also deal with other problems perpetuated by the culture of death including the breakdown of marriage, promiscuity, euthanasia, sterilization, post-abortion trauma, withholding of medical care, drug abuse and social justice issues. My inner voice warned me that the author probably believes that a certain preachy moral rectitude is the key to a successful novel.
My inner voice was wrong.
The Lily Trilogy consists of three relatively short novels (160 to 186 pages each) which trace the impact of Lily, a child with Down Syndrome, on the three generations of family members who care for her. The first of the trilogy, Until Lily, finds Lily and her two adopted siblings being taken in by her mothers sister, Beverly, and raised to adulthood after Lilys mother dies. Lilys aunt Beverly, now the caretaker, had hoped for a life completely independent of children. The first person voice in this book is Beverly herself.
The second book, Wherever Lily Goes, explores Lilys middle years, in which she is cared for by her adopted sister, Terry, who also tells her own story. The third, Life Entwined with Lilys, follows through and beyond Lilys final years, when she lives with Terrys troubled daughter. The narrative voice is again that of the caretaker, Beth.
All three of the women who care for Lily struggle with conflicting desires, and experience both the sacrifices and the rewards of their decisions. They are imperfect caretakers, definitely works in progress spiritually, but in each case Lilys presence transforms them in unsuspected ways, and brings them to a deeper appreciation of the meaning of life, and of what it means to be good, and to be open to grace.
What makes the novels work is their sheer unaffectedness. By this I mean that these books provide a thoroughly natural, and so thoroughly believable, look at life, aspirations and family through the eyes of three women who have made a commitment to Lily in spite of their own imperfections. The authors perceptiveness and wit are present on every page, but without diminishing each characters own persona. The stories of their lives, their relationshipsand the spiritual strengths and shortcomings which enhance or restrict themunfold easily. The writing is altogether natural; nothing is forced and there is no preaching. The reader is drawn in without reservation. Sometimes this reader cried.
Many situations and passages in the book are quite moving, but I prefer to put one passage on display here not because it represents any sort of climax, but because it demonstrates the refreshing concreteness of the novels and their easy flow, through which the author manages to capture many things about life without falling into the trap of writing an essay. It is also a passage conveniently near the end of the third book, making it easy to find and quote. Here, then, chosen (apart from convenience) almost at random, are some of Beths reflections after discussing her upbringing with a romantically interesting man who has taken her out to dinner:
I told him I am not complaining about my upbringing, but that wasnt true. Every eldest child lodges complaints about the inequity of birth order. The oldest child in the family never enjoys the same carefree existence as the youngest. This is because new parents are neurotic lunatics, and seasoned parents are tired lunatics. When you are a new parent, every small and large thing is viewed as a large thing. This is why I was never allowed to eat a donut in the grocery cart. It was too sticky, too sugary, too fatty, too crumbly and it would set a bad precedent for wanting a donut every time we went to the store. Seasoned parents are too tired to tell the child that the donut is too sticky, too sugary, too fatty and too crumbly and will set a bad precedent. So the seasoned parent gives the child the donut and enjoys a messy, but peaceful shopping trip. I got the idea of wanting a donut in a shopping cart from another kid I saw enjoying a pink frosted jelly-filled with sprinkles. Her face looked like a battlefield. I couldnt figure out why her mother didnt notice that the donut was too sticky, too sugary, too fatty and too crumbly. What I didnt know at the time was that the little girl had older siblings who were at school, putting her in the proper birth order to get a donut while grocery shopping.
The books, of course, are not all donuts and sprinkles. Beverly loses her husband largely because of her commitment to her sisters children, including Lily. Terrys marriage is already slipping away, but the experience of caring for Lily puts her on the right course to recover it. Beth has deeper wounds than either of her predecessors. Yet she spends her last teen years with Lily in their family home, and she brings Lily to live with her when she establishes herself in her own home. Then, on Beths watch, Lily dies. How are their lives entwined? When and how will healing come?
This trilogy is self-published by Sherry Boas through an entity called Caritas Press. There is a website at LilyTrilogy.com. Sherry and her husband have adopted four children, including one with Down Syndrome. Based on considerable experience, then, the author warns that, while you do not have to be Catholic to enjoy the books, you probably cannot be artificially closed to authentic life and love. It is perhaps typical that a prominent Catholic bookseller, Aquinas and More, first told Sherry they did not deal with self-published authors or small presses. Then their product manager read the books, changed his mind, and took them on as a favored staff pick. I completely understand this sequence.
Another reader who was deeply impressed was Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix. But on Facebook youll find that the most deeply moved readers are women. Remember, this is a trilogy about relationships, with family life at their very heart. If youre a guy who cant sit through a Jane Austen movie, Lily is not for you. (Now, me, I happen to like Jane Austen.) But if you are a girl in her late teens or an adult woman of any age, trust me: You will be entranced, you will experience the joys and sorrows of the characters, you will cry, and you will not be able to put Lily down.
Review by Dr. Jeff Mirus
In your stories, Lily is considered a central character, but not the main character because she does not change. The people around her change. How much of this reflects your own experience within your family and the people who come in contact with your daughter?
I think it is probably impossible to spend time with another human being without having that person change you. I'm sure Teresa's life means something huge that I, even as her mother, won't be able to fully know in this lifetime. But what's so great about fiction is that the reader can get a glimpse into the profound changes that take place in the characters, revealed in a tidy 60,000 words, that don't require a lifetime of living to understand or appreciate. -- National Catholic Register
Click link for full interview
"In a story that could easily have read as saccharine or manipulative in a lesser writers hands, Boas shows life as it really is: messy, hurtful, but also filled with supernatural grace and heroic love." -- Andrew Junker, media critic, The Catholic Sun. (Reviewed Until Lily only)
Click link for full review
I was enthralled by such exquisitely detailed characters who ... resemble people around us, whose flaws hurt and whose love heals us, and the hope that turns despair into love through the power of pure intentions ... How many times can it be said that a novel makes you a more grateful, loving person, who reenters life from the world of the novels to embrace the challenges which sent you running into the pages of the book in the first place? -- Leticia Velasquez, Catholic Media Review
"What makes the novels work is their sheer unaffectedness. By this I mean that these books provide a thoroughly natural, and so thoroughly believable, look at life, aspirations and family through the eyes of three women who have made a commitment to Lily in spite of their own imperfections. The authors perceptiveness and wit are present on every page, but without diminishing each characters own persona. The stories of their lives, their relationshipsand the spiritual strengths and shortcomings which enhance or restrict themunfold easily. The writing is altogether natural; nothing is forced and there is no preaching. The reader is drawn in without reservation ... Remember, this is a trilogy about relationships, with family life at their very heart. If youre a guy who cant sit through a Jane Austen movie, Lily is not for you. (Now, me, I happen to like Jane Austen.) But if you are a girl in her late teens or an adult woman of any age, trust me: You will be entranced, you will experience the joys and sorrows of the characters, you will cry, and you will not be able to put Lily down." -- Jeffrey Mirus, President of CatholicCulture.org.
"Perhaps because of her own experience mothering a Down Syndrome child, Sherry Boas manages to be realistic in an understated, vivid way about the small but piercing aggravations as well as the small, ordinary grace /s ... I am very glad I got the chance to read these books; beyond my identification with the circumstances and themes of the trilogy, I found them to be a well-written take on some of the issues and difficulties of our modern times. The books deal with situations from adoption to single motherhood to abortion to troubled marriages; not with a view to pat answers, but with an eye for realistic detail and grace in the little things." -- Willa Fortuine Ryan, The Quotidian Reader.
Until Lily (The Lily Trilogy, Book 1)
Wherever Lily Goes (The Lily Trilogy, Book 2)
Life Entwined with Lily's (The Lily Trilogy, Book 3)