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Lilies of the Bowery

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  35 reviews
After an arduous voyage from Napoli in the summer of 1914, eighteen-year-old Joan Passerini arrives in New York City with her mother and brother in hopes of building a better life. Finding neither the milk or honey America had promised, Joan is quickly disenchanted with the city; the heat and noise and poverty are oppressive, and her father, who journeyed ahead to find ...more
ebook, 325 pages
Published February 14th 2015
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Diane Wallace
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read! an emotional period piece shows the journey of a family from one country to the next,written in great detail...having the author include her disability was a plus to the story..everyone needs to read this book! (paperback!)
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. It doesn't sit in the same category as her book Taking the Long Way but not much could. Historical fiction, I would think, would be terribly difficult to write. The dangers and pitfalls of being queer in 1900 is waaaaaaay different than it is today. All in all I liked the story well enough. I did kind of get a bit bothered with the Italian language part. If I didn't have an internet connection on my kindle it might have been more bothersome. As it stood, I had to look up like a ton ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Nice enough. I liked the descriptions of New York in the early twentieth century and also the info about Italian immigrants and their culture. It made me think of my great-grandmother, who also emigrated from Italy at the same time. I think the author must have done a great deal of research, because the portrait of Joan's family is very much like the stories my grandmother used to tell me about growing up in an italian tight-knit circle, especially regarding the excessive catholic devotion.

I found this book super boring. The first person POV kept us almost solidly inside the protagonist's head with, in my opinion, not enough dialogue to avoid it being a whole lot of telling and not much showing. The narration was filled with so many mundane descriptions that I lost all interest in what was supposed to be happening with the characters. I think there was a lot of potential for a great story but so much time was spent on discussing Joan's inability to walk without falling down and ...more
I was a bit torn about this one, as it starts so strong, with a tumultuous journey to the New World with a family searching for a better life. However, the middle third of this book gets bogged down with overly repetitive descriptions of daily life with mysterious clientele without it building to anything particularly substantial.

I see a lot of potential in the author, as she engaged all five senses admirably, and developed good chemistry between Joan and Paloma. But the family members that
Gilda V
Aug 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A heavily catholic lesbian romance is NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA.

Sweet baby jeebus, this book was so boring. So repetitive. So badly executed.

But this is what I get for impulse-buying something that was recommended on AfterEllen. So yeah, that one's on me...but you, sweet reader, you darling innocent creature, can learn from my mistakes and run the other way.
Elsa Fragoso
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was really amazing. You just not only wrapped me with the plot of the story, but also amaze me with every beautiful history detail from that time. And it was awesome because on December I flew to NYC for a Dental meeting from my college and (obviously)I visited the Statue of Liberty and the Immigration Museum on the Ellis Island, thanks to that, your words were more magical. After seeing again all the pictures that I could take in the museum, I could literally see Joan on my mind thanks to ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book from a fantastic author, she provides a fresh and positive attitude to the world of writing which comes through in her book. She proves to be a positive role model and supplying to a demand for more queer oreintated books for women. Beautifully crafted and engaging throughout Lilies of the Bowery is a fantastic representation of a 1900's romance, whilst not appearing to be an easy time to live it shows the relationship the characters find is time shattering. The characters and ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read historical fiction, but after enjoying Mason's other work so thoroughly, I decided to give this book a shot and I'm so glad that I did! Although the book takes place around a century ago, the way Joan falls for Paloma felt so relatable and was reminiscent of my own experience in falling for my best friend. My only complaint was that the last chapter or two felt a bit rushed, but that could also be because I wasn't ready for the book to end! I had a hard time putting this one ...more
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lilies of the Bowery is yet another good work by Mason, the author seldom disappoints! In the footnote, Mason mentioned that she came down with a sudden mysterious illness, I hope she's better now. I look forward to more works by this author.
Gloria Flamenco
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EVERYONE! This book...I cannot begin to explain how beautiful this story is. Lily R. Mason has an ability to perfectly capture the grace, beauty, and charm of the love between two women in words. This book-Lilies of the Bowery-is no exception. It's the story of two women who have a connection and discover themselves in each other. It takes place in a the early 1900s in New York City. A time when women were not considered as sexual beings, a time when women were not considered to have many ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read the full review here:

This book was so cute! I don't normally read historical fiction, but I love a good romance and Paloma and Joan were simply adorable. I would highly recommend reading this book.

The descriptions of New York are absolutely beautiful and it was fascinating to read about immigrants that came to this country around the same time that my family did.

Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guilty
A pleasant enough book, but terribly slow and drawn out in the middle. And then when things actually happen in the end, it's hurried and undeveloped. A bit unsatisfactory, in my opinion.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was just something I've come to expect by this author. Always Amazingly Worth it...
Think....A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but with a lesbian twist.

1914. Neapolitan immigrants on their way to New York, imagining life is going to be amazing, suddenly find out they're living in tenements and struggling to make ends meet. Joan (her chosen American name), the protagonist, struggles with some kind of leg condition that causes her to walk differently and less stably than most people, which also makes her a pariah when it comes to anyone being associated with her. She ends up finding work
Willow Kovalo
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read! You really feel turn of the century New York vividly, and the romance is sweet and genuine. Very well done. Lily, I was at your panel at ClexaCon and I hope you come back next year. I enjoy all your work immensely!
Kathleen Kelly
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction fans, gay and lesbian readers
Recommended to Kathleen by: author
Life in the Bowery Lilies of the Bowery tells the story of a young woman and her journey with her mother and brother from Italy to New York City. JoanPasserini, her mother Francesca and her brother Luca leave Italy to come to America to be withGiovanniPasserini, father, and husband, who came to America to find work and a place for them all to live. When they arrive Giovanni is not there to meet them and they end up going to a church for refuge where a place to live and jobs are obtained for ...more
Gloria Flamenco
Words cannot describe how good this book is.

This is SUCH a good story. It's set in the early 1900s in New York City. The story follows Joan and her family as they land in America from Italy. You grow close to Joan and root for her throughout the struggles of daily life as a new immigrant. Love finds its way into the storyline, forming deep roots with each new chapter. I laughed. I cried. This story is beautiful. It's the kind of story that stays with you forever. It's the perfect story to
This was a very good story that needed about 100 more pages. The author jammed the first half of the book with description and charactization, then looses footing midway. The 'intimate' scenes are a bit pg, I had thought the time had gone about 6 months but the author had to fit in the mothers pregnancy time so cut it to 2 months and that made it feel unbelievable.
I wish the author had stretched the storyline, there were 'things' totally ignored after they seemed more top priority in the
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read. If you're into history and queer women, then you'll love it. Hell, you will probably love it even if you aren't. Lots of rich description. It was obviously throughly researched, and will transplant you right into the era. Who doesn't want to find a place where they belong? Where they can feel both loved and safe? The tale is timeless, these themes resonate even in the 21st century. Not to mention the sweet love story that you can't help but root for. Definitely a ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lilies of the Bowery tells the amazing story of two young women falling in love in the most innocent way possible, proving that love is not something you can force on someone but rather something that happens especially if you don't expect it to. The characters are extremely well written and never feel flat or boring or unreal, which is another one of the reasons this book should be read by everyone. Huge recommendation even if you don't usually read this genre--Lilies of the Bowery is ...more
Lauren Ricciardella
I enjoyed reading this book. The details that went into showing how new immigrants to America lived was excellent. Their struggles made me think of my own grandparents and great-grandparents who came into America around the same time as the characters in this book. Excellent background research.

Speaking of the story line, I liked the characters, and believed in their love story. Sometimes their innocence was jarring, but once I remembered the time of the story and the background of the
May 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
Overall I liked this book though it is not without its flaws. Anybody who likes historical fiction and/or lesbian romance should give it a try. I think Mason does a good job describing the immigrant experience and her main characters Joan and Paloma are richly drawn. Their romance was beautiful and has a sweet innocence.

My main issue was that the writing felt a bit tedious. I am all for description but sometimes it felt extraneous and frankly just boring. I started skimming towards the end.

Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely read! Once again another great story from Lily. Absolutely loved the overall description of New York back in that time period and how it weaved into the story seamlessly. The overall development of Paloma and Joan's relationship was relatable even though it was placed in a different era. All of the characters were extremely well written and I found myself falling in love with all of them. Had a hard time putting this one down. Would highly recommend this book.
Absolutely lovely. The kind of queer love story that I needed. I fell in love with Joan and Paloma almost from the first; it made me so happy to see them get their happy ending. And I loved that there was no miracle cure for Joan's disability.

4.5 (and only because the plot was pretty slow moving at times, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all).
Katrina K
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodreads-win
Goodreads win. Will read and review once received.

This book is really worth the read. I loved the way the author wrote this book. The plot of the story was really interesting. I thought it was pretty cool how the author was detailed in the time the book was set. The book was fun and I was so happy how much I enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend this book to friends and family.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing author and a fantastic book! I look forward to pretty much anything Lily writes. She captivates the readers and keeps readers like me on the edge of their seats. This book did not disappoint. I loved the relationship between the two girls and their back stories. It's amazing how Lily can bring an era like that to life.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book. Its very beautifully written and exciting until the end. Actually Im not really into historical books/stories but I gave it a shot and Im glad I did. Lilies of the Bowery is one of the best and realistic books Ive read in a while. Wonderful. :) ...more
Raquel Mañas Baisaneque
This book is, as everything Lily writes, amazing. Best book I've read in a while.
Patty O
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
A story about a friendship between an unlikely pair. Unique perspective, given the era of the piece. I didn't want to put it down and I was sad when it ended. Love the imagery the author creates.
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Lily R. Mason is an author from California. She has written novels about queer women in many genres: coming of age, domestic drama, multiple realities, and historical romance. Her goal as a writer is to give voice to the women who are often written out of other stories.