Lili’s Gift: A Civil War Healer’s Story
This Civil War coming of age story packs a wealth of historical information in a slim volume. Lili’s family, part Cherokee and part Irish, has just learned their father is missing in the Battle of the Wilderness. They were barely surviving on odd jobs and this forces desperate changes. The mother places the children into an orphanage to search for the father they refuse to believe is dead. The family struggles with unequal working conditions, class war, and racial prejudice along the way but also meets up with Clara Barton at her “flying hospital” and embarks on an astonishing but plausible quest between the lines at the Siege at Petersburg. A compassionate exchange of the reunited family from Confederate to Union battle lines is the heartfelt climax.
The thread of Lili’s gift of healing suggested by the title is not pushed so strongly as to overwhelm the exciting action, but it is based on Irish and American Indian spiritual gifts so could potentially be troublesome to the most fundamental Christian sects. Historical photographs, a glossary and questions about the historical background are included in the book.