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Healing Lily Cover Image
Book Cover
Lilly in Shadow Image
Lilly in Shadow
D. Stephenson Bond Author Photo
Author Photo

Publication Data

  • Author: D. Stephenson Bond
  • Release date: April 15, 2010
  • Price: $23.95
  • Pages: 221
  • ISBN: 978-0-9823079-0-8
  • Formats: 6 X 9 quality paperback, Kindle edition, EPub edition

Book Description:

How do you go on your first date after losing your husband on 9/11? It's been three years and yet, even with her widow's support group rallying around her in a vice-grip of caring, Lilly wonders whether she'll ever escape the 9/11 widowhood forced upon her. She struggles with hope and courage to meet the right kind of man who can help her find herself as a woman again. Kind of tall and kind of shy, Daniel is from another world in Lilly's Boston, a Beacon Hill psychoanalyst with issues of his own. Daniel finds himself also confronted by Laurel's thesis on The Secret Garden. Laurel is intellectual and provocative, determined to pull Daniel out of his shell for reasons of her own. What to do? Three people reaching for each other, reaching for love they are too hurt to find. But with patience, born of grief, Daniel and Lilly bloom together, learning to love again in their own private secret garden, although how two people so frozen in the winter of their grief can love again always remains a mystery. Love and grief, two women and a man, the story brings the reader to an emotional conclusion balancing hope and pain.

Healing Lily, a fully developed character novel set in Boston, features a 9/11 widow as the central character in a unique love story. The novel humanizes the 9/11 meta-story by weaving the documented experiences of the widows into the storyline and creating a context of larger experiences--the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Hungarian Revolution--in the characters lives. Sensitively written, this probing novel explores the aftermath of 9/11 on an intimately personal scale reaching deep into the human psyche to touch on themes of the healing power of Jungian psychoanalysis rarely seen in fiction, and utilizes Francis Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden as the literary background for a penetrating exploration of grief and healing.

Reviews of Healing Lily:

  • Healing Lily review by Gordon Hauptfleisch, in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on May 2, 2010: "Blending Jungian imagery with elements of The Secret Garden, Bond's debut novel is an evocative look at personal loss and growth..."
    "...Lilly: levelheaded 9/11 widow and blue-collar budding singer/songwriter with, understandably, some emotional baggage... who stumbles into Daniel's life when neither thinks the time is right for a relationship. And prompt the sprains and strains of Football games and Classical strings: Each finds that something's gotta give in the way of easier-said- than-done compromises and the conflicts to be found in big-lug brotherly hugs and standoffish habits dying hard...Bond, who himself is a practicing psychoanalyst, has turned in a debut novel that in its references and allusions to myth and Jungian psychology floats and flows over fascinating and unique undercurrents..."

  • Healing Lily review by Midwest Book Review in March, 2010: "...well worth considering..."
    "9/11 tore lives apart, and finding the way to heal was never easy. Healing Lily is the story of Lilly, a woman who lost her husband to the tragedies of that fateful day. Trying to find love once more, author D. Stephenson Bond uses his expertise in psychoanalysis to provide a thought provoking story of recovering from life changing disasters. Healing Lily is a worthy investment, well worth considering."

Digital Footprint for author D. Stephenson Bond:

Healing Lily Excerpts:

  • Sample Chapter (Chapter Four)
  • Opening Paragraph: "Character is destiny," wrote Freud. "The supreme and only lasting limitation on a man is the wall that ensures he cannot in the end go beyond himself." Daniel hoped devoutly that this were true. For if it were not true, then he would most certainly fail." (page 7)

  • On 9/11 widows: "As Daniel took it all in he pondered. Nothing in his analytic training had prepared him for this. The difference was that their grief was so public they could not escape it. So public and so endless. Neighbors came to their door. Then the F.B.I.. Then the insurance adjusters. And then the endless flood of relief agencies promising help. Catholic Charities. The Red Cross. N.O.V.A. (National Organization for Victims Assistance). All of them promising help. And yet, for all of that, very little help was forthcoming in the early days...These were women who had to stand in line with volunteer guides through a bizarre supermarket of disaster-relief trailers presenting receipts for their husbands memorial services, for mortgage payments, phone bills, and heating costs as they drifted from trailer to trailer, agency to agency, death certificate and marriage license in hand...They endured the clinging grasp of a traumatized nation, boarding buses at South Station for the long trip to New York and the service of national mourning. It was the first time, the only time, they were ever to venture to Ground Zero. Issued respiratory masks, protective glasses, and white hard hats they were led past the Memorial Wall, still aching with its candles and teddy bears, its flowers and fading pictures; across an unsteady catwalk under the outer buildings draped in black netting, and finally a steel ramp ascending toward the incomprehensible reality of what happened there...Daniel knew that grief was like a quilt, patterns stitched from fragments of memory, and so the work is always in putting things together that have been torn apart. As they talked he sensed he was hearing a story told over and over in their time together, a stitch repeated again and again until the seam was strong. This repetition they allowed one another as the necessary work around their quilting circle for last three years. It was understood...Each woman had her own version of bottoming out. For Donna and Paula it was what they grimly called the Second Death. Families and grief therapists counseled closure and in the two to three month range out from the tragedy hundreds of memorial services were held. But, in the relentless cadence of consequences one by one over the months, the widows heard a knock at the door from the local police departments with news from New York that positive identification of remains had been made. Whatever patchwork seams had been woven were now undone, unraveled by cruel choices about what to ask and what to leave unspoken. Every recovered wedding band came at a cost." (pages 81-82)

  • On Big Events: "The big things, in retrospect, are inevitable, whether we like it or not. They have their time. A big event like 9/11, a big ringing bell that tolled, foretold the cultural end of the Twentieth Century as clearly as the sinking of the Titanic had heralded its fearful beginning. The big turns are like that. Something gives way from underneath and the great large expectations of how life should be lived give way with a shudder and the sound of breaking steel, assumptions, assurances, appearances crushed under the weight of inexorable forces that must have their way when set loose in calamity. These great large things shape us because like it or not we do not live our own lives only; we must also endure the life of our times. We do not seek them. They find us out of their own." (page 149)

  • Final Paragraph: "A woman is such a beautiful thing. Beautiful in line and form and curve. Essential. Like a fine charcoal drawing of the archetypal form. Complete in itself with nothing more needed. Beautiful in receiving all that yearning desire can imagine and beyond the imagining offer to her out of its deepest heart, fully given, without fear, without any holding back at all, but unrestrained empty itself in living as it is only meant to do. Life spending itself entirely to create more life. This is life fully lived. There is nothing more essential." (page 221)

News and Story Ideas:

  • Tie-in with follow-up interviews from 9/11 widows and widowers in your area talking about their own post 9/11 experiences.
  • 9/11 was about what counselors call reactions to "sudden violent death." The grief dynamics and healing are different than the normal grief processes. Good mental health issue follow-up.
  • A lot of sensitivity remains about reactions to 9/11. Healing Lily is one of very few novels to bring it to the surface. What are your readers reaction's to seeing 9/11 lives portrayed dramatically?
  • Healing Lily deals a lot with psychoanalysis and psychoanalysts. The HBO series "In Treatment" is a popular show that goes inside the consulting room. Is psychoanalysis making a comeback?

Typical Interview Questions for D. Stephenson Bond:

  • How did you find out about the 9/11 widows?
  • The widow's support group in the novel is like a Greek chorus commenting on things. Did these 9/11 support groups really happen?
  • The Secret Garden, both the book and the musical, play a large role in the novel. What is the literary connection to The Secret Garden in Healing Lily
  • How is the grief process different with "sudden violent death?"
  • Was there anything different about writing a novel on such a big, controversial event like 9/11?
  • How did you get interested in psychoanalysis and Jung? What's it like to be a psychoanalyst writing fiction? Does it change your fiction in some way?



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