Cover image for Looking after Lily
Looking after Lily
Bonner, Cindy, 1953-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1994.
Physical Description:
326 pages ; 19 cm
Reading Level:
940 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 12.0 17256.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.4 17 Quiz: 07074 Guided reading level: NR.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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Looking after Lily is a burden Haywood Beatty didn't bargain for. Only twenty years old himself, he's been charged with the welfare of Lily, a sixteen-year-old mother-to-be and wife of his outlaw brother. But Lily keeps coming up with what Haywood needs. A horse. A gun. Money. Common sense. And before long Haywood recognizes that he has fallen in love with his brother's wife. "Good stuff . . . an intelligent, humane story about a guy with too much energy and too little sense. It rates an A."--Entertainment Weekly.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

/*STARRED REVIEW*/ Bonner's first novel, Lily (1992), a love story set in Texas circa 1880, was a winner. It told the story of hardworking, 15-year-old Lily, who shouldered her deceased mother's responsibilities but fell wildly in love with a dashing, red-headed young outlaw called Shot. Lily won many accolades and awards and will soon be made into a movie. Bonner is riding this wave of success with a sequel, but it has none of the shortcomings associated with the form. Her prose is, once again, lustrous, specific, and resonant, and she has boldly switched points of view. As the new novel begins, Lily's husband, Marion ("Shot") Beatty, has been sentenced to two years in jail just as his one surviving brother, Haywood, is being released. Shot begs Haywood to take care of Lily, who is pregnant and has nowhere to go. Haywood is appalled. A loner with a taste for whiskey, gambling, and whoring, he wants nothing to do with a pregnant sister-in-law. But gradually, after a series of disastrous misadventures and the near-disastrous birth of his niece, Emmaline Eliza, Haywood begins to grow into his role of guardian. The trouble is, he also falls in love with Lily. As these two tough, laconic, brave, and, yes, noble individuals struggle with the conundrums of passion and the demanding work of pre-industrial daily life, Bonner does more than hold us rapt with her storytelling skills; she also reveals the transforming power of love. A third installment of Lily's saga is in the works. (Reviewed Feb. 15, 1994)1565120450Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

After a succinct and colorful recap of events in the well-received Lily , this sequel set in 1880s Texas plunges into its own series of rousing adventures. Twenty-year-old Haywood Beatty knows he's been called a murderer, coward and thief; at the very least, he admits that ``nobody had ever said I was a good man.'' Still, Woody succumbs to his jailed brother Marion's pleas to look after his pregnant, 16-year-old wife Lily until he has served his two-year sentence. But who is looking after whom? Lily is feisty, independent and fearless, and as the two start a 400-mile journey in a rickety wagon to a north Texas farm, an uneasy alliance develops in the face of challenges that might have undone a lesser couple. As the harsh countryside drifts by, Lily barely escapes a rape attempt, Woody slits a man's throat and an impoverished but generous Mexican family helps deliver Lily's baby girl. A finely evoked Texas landscape, a wide variety of mesmerizing and frightful villains, an absorbing story tempered with sweetness and good humor all triumph over the inherent predictability of this romantic western. Lily's fans will be glad to know that another sequel is in the works. Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Bonner's first novel, Lily ( LJ 9/1/92), has done well--to put it mildly. Both School Library Journal and the American Library Association chose it as a Best Adult Book for Young Adults; it was a Literary Guild selection and the runner-up for the Western Writers of America Medicine Pipe Bearer's Award for Best First Novel of the West. MGM has bought the movie rights, and a paperback will be released soon. All the praise garnered by Lily can be applied equally to this freestanding sequel. Here, 16-year-old Lily, who is pregnant and whose husband is in jail, continues her adventures in late 1800s Texas--this time with her husband's brother, who falls in love with her. With the resurgence of interest that the movie and paperback will bring, readers will be requesting this novel. And there's more good news: Bonner is working on the third in this series.-- Dorothy Golden, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-Bonner, a gifted storyteller, doesn't let this sequel to Lily (Algonquin, 1992) serve merely as a bridge to the final installment in the proposed trilogy. Instead, she has produced a ``standing tall'' book. Haywood ``Woody'' Beatty is acquitted of murder charges stemming from the gunfight in which his two older brothers were killed. He agrees to ``look after Lily'' for her husband, his remaining brother Marion, who is serving a two-year jail term for his involvement in the fight. Footloose since his mother's death when he was five, Haywood doesn't know what to make of this pregnant young woman who doesn't shy away from hard work, but who is quick to scold when he cusses. Changing the viewpoint of this book from Lily to Haywood ensures a strong independent narrative rather than a mere continuation of the first book. Seeing Lily through another's eyes reveals her gutsy determination offset by normal fears of pregnancy without her husband nearby. Ne'er-do-well Woody grows with the charge he's been given and tries to mend his irresponsible ways, though not without a little backsliding. Readers will be amazed and charmed by the transformation as he adjusts to his changing feelings towards Lily while remaining a gentleman. This powerful, moving tale with its strong characterizations and eye for detail will win Bonner many new fans.-Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.