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A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.

For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?

“A Lily in the Light draws you in immediately…the storytelling is sharp.” 


“Anyone who loves a study of human behavior under catastrophic circumstances will be swept away by Fields’s dynamic prose and intense psychological suspense.” 

—New York Journal of Books

“What makes this debut novel so engrossing is that it focuses on those left behind to deal with the trauma of such a tragedy.” 

—Red Hook Star-Revue

“Imagine a book with the propulsion of Dennis Lehane and the emotional wisdom of Anne Tyler, and you’ll have a sense of Kristin Fields’s surprising, powerful debut. I read it in two tense, admiring sittings.” —Ben Dolnick, author of The Ghost Notebooks

“...Fields brings new light and language to the relentlessly terrifying and ever-present subject of lost children and the horrifying fallout that, here, grips the reader from start to finish.” 

—Martha McPhee, Author of Bright Angel Time and Dear Money

“...Heartbreaking and compelling, A Lily in the Light is a revelation of what it is to lose yourself and come home again.” 

—Kimberly Brock, award-winning author of The River Witch

“...Honest, heartfelt, and at times wrenching, Fields’s novel exposes every heartache and raw nerve of her compellingly flawed characters, touching on the many ways we punish ourselves and those we love when life leaves us feeling powerless—and how we must ultimately learn to forgive.” 

—Barbara Davis, bestselling author of When Never Comes

“A Lily in the Light captures family in the throes of chaos. A journey through guilt and suffering, the world of ballet, culminating in the miracles achieved through both. Fields is an emerging literary talent and her debut, deftly written, uncovers the heart of family and forgiveness.” 

—Rochelle B. Weinstein, USA Today bestselling author

“A Lily in the Light is unlike anything you’ve ever read. Poignant and gripping, Fields’s writing will break your heart and put it back together again.” 

—Kaela Coble, author of Friends and Other Liars

“...A haunting and beautifully rendered tale of survival and the careful tending to a wild and desperately needed hope. Highly recommended.” 

—Therese Walsh, critically acclaimed author of The Moon Sisters

“...Magical and gritty by turns, Esme’s story—of family and the search for self—is as radiant as it is unforgettable.” 

—Sophie McManus, critically acclaimed author of The Unfortunates

Thank you to all the readers and reviewers who made A Lily in the Light a magical debut... 


Book no.1
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