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Review by Suze
In the 1870s life is hard when you're a miner. Joe's father works for little money and his older brother is destined to do the same. Joe doesn't want to work in the dark and hates the idea of being underground. He loves being outside and farming is in his blood. Chinese men are working in the mines as well for less money and Joe's father is having a tough time earning enough to support his family. The last thing they need is another mouth to feed, but when Joe finds a Chinese baby he convinces his parents to take her in. He calls her Charity and he promises to be responsible for her.
When Joe is old enough for a regular job he starts working as a farm hand. The work doesn't bring him the freedom he craves though and he decides to leave home to herd cattle. That also means he has to leave Charity behind and Joe is the only friend she has. She's been raised as an American, but she's being told she isn't one of them on a regular basis. When Charity finds a Chinese friend she has the chance to learn something about the country her ancestors are from. Is Charity Chinese or is she American and why does it matter so much? Will she ever find her place in the world?
The Lost Girl is a beautiful story about a girl who doesn't belong anywhere. Joe's parents are raising Charity, but she's never a real part of their family. Hate for the Chinese people in the town they live in makes it hard for Charity to be with Joe's family. The Chinese people don't see her as one of them because of her American upbringing. Charity craves friendship, but that's hard to find when most people don't want to have anything to do with her. She works hard, she's always friendly and she's a wonderful girl, but they only see the color of her skin. That was heartbreaking to read about. Charity deserves so much more than she gets, but she never complains and she accepts her fate. She's an admirable girl and I kept my fingers crossed she'd have a better future. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to her and loved every aspect of her story.
Liz Harris is a great narrator. She perfectly captures the atmosphere of the time she's writing about, she writes honestly about the political situation and she clearly researches her topics well. When I'm reading her books I'm always captivated by the magic of the past. I really enjoyed reading The Lost Girl. Charity's mixed heritage is interesting and her search to belong somewhere is something many people can relate to. Everything in her world is complicated, love included. It was fascinating to see her grow up. Her friendship with Joe is special and I loved the way Liz Harris describes his care for the little girl he rescued. There are a lot of complex relationships that kept me intrigued. The Lost Girl is a fantastic romantic story and I loved it from beginning to end.