• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 14, 2016)
The lives of two young women—bound by heritage and history—are changed forever by one epic event . . .
1889: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working-class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (or cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.
Present day: On her eighteenth birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a biological relative—a nineteenth-century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from her hometown in California to Johnstown, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster. But once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan. I’d like to send a big thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher William Morrow for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review of it.
The Woman in the Photo is a historical fiction novel following two young women in two very different time periods that share a connection over time. It is told through the alternating perspectives of these characters and their respective time periods.
I am a huge fan of books with alternating perspectives but this book went even further set the perspectives in different time periods and connects them through a single event. My favorite part about any novel with alternating perspectives is the point in which they meet and this was no different. I just love seeing the way authors choose to do this.
I ended up really enjoying my read of this book although I did have a hard time getting into it at first. For me, the pacing was really slow and there wasn’t much happening in the first half of the book, I didn’t start getting really invested in the book until the second half of it. It was a larger read for me at over 400 pages but it went pretty fast for me as it is written in a way that is easy to read and move through at a good pace.
I really enjoyed the story from the perspectives of each of our main characters: Lee and Elizabeth. Lee’s perspective takes place in modern day California. On her eighteenth birthday she finds clues to her biological family that leads her on a chase to discover more information about her heritage that causes her to find out what happened in Johnstown. Elizabeth, which is probably my favorite perspective of the two, is a young teenage girl on the cusp of womanhood whose family is one of the wealthy club members in Johnstown, Pennsylvania who becomes what I would thought as an unlikely hero. I enjoyed reading about both of these women who are both strong and independent. I love seeing how far their characters come from the beginning of the book to the end. I feel like they were vastly different people from when the book began which was awesome to see.
As with all historical fiction, I love learning new things. Even if the whole of the story is fiction there is still information in them that may be rooted in facts so it’s fun to research events and people during or after reading. I had not previously heard of what happened at Jamestown but reading this book prompted me to want to know more about it and about Clara Barton. I enjoyed learning about something new and having my heart feel in the process. I love what this book said when it touched upon the importance of human kindness. Beautiful. Four stars from me! I recommend to lovers of both historical fiction and women’s fiction.
About Mary Hogan
Mary Hogan is the NAPPA Award-winning author of seven young-adult books. Two Sisters is her first novel for adults. She lives in New York City with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Lucy.