Oct 22, 2016

Book Review: The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan

The Woman in the Photo, a novel published June 14, 2016, begins on a Memorial Day in present time and flashes back to Memorial Day in 1889. 
The Woman in the Photo
Synopsis: A modern day adoptee tries to find her birth parents and finds only a picture of her 19th century ancestress, the woman in the photo, which she uses to try to trace her family. The opening paragraphs foreshadow the terrible flood that is to wash away the town of Johnstown, Penn. in the as yet unknown future.

My thoughts: The disastrous flooding of Johnstown in 1889 is brought to light with harrowing detail in this historical/modern novel. The story of the flood is told by Elizabeth, a young woman who escaped but took part in helping the victims and survivors. The modern story is told by an adopted woman, a biological descendant of Elizabeth, who researches the flood to find her roots.

The novel was intriguing and so detailed, I felt the disaster happening all around me. The characters are believable and engrossing in their responses to their situations. I recommend the book. 
First chapter:  
The previous day Memorial Day May 30, 1889
"Elizabeth, please!"  Mother looks away from the train window long enough to eye me sharply. "Why do you test me?"
I frown as she grips the gloves in her lap and returns her gaze to the branches flickering past. It's Memorial Day. Yet the weather matches my mood: stormy. It rained all morning. More is on the way. 
Thanks to William Morrow for a galley of this book for review.


Brian Joseph said...

Te plot of this book sounds so intriguing.

The general concept of a person digging into the past tends to be a good one in terms of storytelling. The actual history involved in the plot also sounds like it is something that I would like to know more about.

Meredith said...

Historical novels have a way of bringing the experience up close and personal. I like them for what they have to teach me, for the opportunity to perceive history in a more personal way.

Suko said...

"The novel was intriguing and so detailed, I felt the disaster happening all around me." Excellent review, Harvee! This sounds well written.

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