When a Red Bird Flies by Karen Evancic


Karen Evancic
Front Porch History (2015)
ISBN 9780985596996
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/15)

“When a Red Bird Flies” by Karen Evancic is the story of Lillie Mae Woodard. After years of pain and hardship inflicted on her by her husband Clay, Lillie Mae is unceremoniously dumped outside the doors of the local sanatorium, where she will spend her final days, alone and dying from untreated diabetes. It is also the story of Catherine Otera. Catherine escapes her roots on a Kentucky farm for life in a big city, but will the deepest longing of her heart ever be fulfilled?

Wow. Just wow. I have not read such a heart-wrenching story in a long time, if ever. “When a Red Bird Flies” is a historical novel written by the granddaughter of one of the women in the story, and it will forever leave a mark on my heart. The writing is superb, with careful attention to details, and I felt like I was with these women on every step of their journeys, even though there were many scenes where I wanted to be anywhere else. The horrifying tragedy that is Lillie Mae’s life brings pain to my heart and tears to my eyes if I think about it too long. The utter yearning of Catherine to be a mom and the desolation she feels as she is brutally denied that experience time after time is almost too much to bear. However, I was compelled to read, the story demanding nothing less than my complete devotion. The way the author brings the stories of the two women together is almost magical and there is no denying the hand of a higher existence touching the lives of everyone involved with these courageous women.

I highly recommend “When a Red Bird Flies” by Karen Evancic. This book is definitely not for the weak at heart, as it defines the absolute best and the absolute worst of humanity. Readers will definitely walk away from the experience in awe of the inner strength and character of these two beautiful women.

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