by Patti Lacy

Bethany House, $14.99, 380 pages

Reclaiming Lily depicts the conflicted identities of a Chinese girl raised in America and the estranged sister dedicated to finding her. Lily’s name changes to Joy when an American couple adopts her at the age of ten, leaving her Chinese heritage behind with her name. As a teenager, Lily struggles to belong and rebels against her mother’s smothering concern. When her sister Kai Chang unexpectedly appears, the reunion propels all three women into a journey of faith and self-discovery. Fabricated events force transformation in the predominantly flat characters, but by the twist ending, some of the changes become credible.

Author Patti Lacy’s efforts to move readers beyond the American worldview are admirable. Glimpses into Kai’s upbringing by counterrevolutionary parents in China provide a unique perspective and help carry the story. Lacy adds necessary substance by developing Kai’s mental, emotional, and cultural struggles more fully than those of other characters. Yet, even Kai shrinks to a simplistic formula at the close of the novel. Stilted language and cliché metaphors at times also rob the book of potential impact. Though analytical readers may want to look elsewhere, Reclaiming Lily provides a simple, feel-good read.

Halley Greene