Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

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Published by: Random House
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Pages: 400
ISBN13: 978-0451499332



An emotionally raw and resonant story of love, loss, and the enduring power of friendship, following the lives of two young women connected by a home for “fallen girls,” and inspired by historical events.

In turn-of-the-20th century Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is an unprecedented beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets by birth, circumstance, or personal tragedy. Built in 1903 on the dusty outskirts of Arlington, a remote dot between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red-light districts, the progressive home bucks public opinion by offering faith, training, and rehabilitation to prostitutes, addicts, unwed mothers, and “ruined” girls without forcibly separating mothers from children. When Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there—one sick and abused, but desperately clinging to her young daughter, the other jilted by the beau who fathered her ailing son—they form a friendship that will see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and ultimately, diverging paths.

A century later, Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian, uncovers the hidden histories of the two troubled women as she stumbles upon the cemetery on the home’s former grounds and begins to comb through its archives in her library. Pulled by an indescribable connection, what Cate discovers about their stories leads her to confront her own heartbreaking past, and to reclaim the life she thought she’d let go forever. With great pathos and powerful emotional resonance, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls explores the dark roads that lead us to ruin, and the paths we take to return to ourselves.


“As this novel powerfully illustrates, the terminology has changed but gender discrimination persists.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Kibler’s poignant story effectively captures the raw pain and anger these women experience, but also shows them moving forward and finding support in other women.”
–Publishers Weekly

“This is a moving, well-researched, character-driven tale sure to be savored by fans of Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours (2017), and Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train (2013).”

"This tale of resilient women has the varied story lines and well-researched historical background to make it a popular book club selection."
- Library Journal

“A world in which young, single mothers had few options—and even fewer advocates—comes to life in Julie Kibler’s skilled hands. Based on the history of the Berachah Industrial Home in Arlington, Texas, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls deftly reimagines the wounded women who came seeking a second chance and a sustaining hope. Their lives are raw and heartbreaking, their struggles an answer to a timeless question: Can friendship heal us after the world has broken us?”
– Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls is a moving tale of friendship and resilience. It is the story of three different women, each of them betrayed and abandoned, and the ways in which they find their way home. Emotional. Raw. Compelling. Julie Kibler writes with skill, compassion, and grace.”
– Ariel Lawhon, New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia

“Julie Kibler explores with splendid insight what it’s like to feel exiled from the very people you thought would stand by you and for you no matter what, and that sometimes home is not the place where you were raised but rather the place where you found the strength to rise up out of despair. Memorable and surprising and hopeful.”
– Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War


Read an excerpt from Home of Erring and Outcast Girls.

Visit the photo gallery from the Berachah Home, Courtesy, Special Collections, UT-Arlington Libraries