A hilarious ode to outcasts, simmering with adorable weirdness. You'll laugh and cringe and root for the oddest of heroes.
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Why I love it
Founder, Sarah's Book Shelves
I usually like my fiction firmly rooted in reality, so I was nervous about a book featuring children who catch fire when distressed. However, I’m a mother, so I appreciate this metaphor. What parent hasn’t witnessed an epic tantrum where your child starts to resemble the girl from The Exorcist?
Years ago, Lillian, a scholarship kid, and Madison, an heiress, became friends at their Tennessee boarding school. Fast forward to the present day, we find Lillian toiling in a low-wage job while Madison is married to a U.S. Senator and fabulously rich. When she asks Lillian to serve as “governess” for her ten-year-old stepchildren, it seems like all Lillian has to do is keep the kids happy—and free of flames—while Senator Roberts guns for Secretary of State. Can Lillian manage the situation without letting their secret get out? Can anyone love these children? And, what will happen to Lillian and Madison’s friendship?
This book is pure brain candy—dark, sassy, and full of heart. I felt for these lonely children and chuckled at Lillian’s filter-free commentary on the eccentricities of rich people. A sweet, warm book with a bit of spice.
Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help.
Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth.
Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison’s buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn’t this be the start of the amazing life she’d always hoped for?