Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Woman in the Photo

Mary Hogan's The Woman in the Photo is a fantastic novel that blends past and present together, centered around an important event in history.

Lee has always known she was adopted.  Now, as she turns eighteen, she is able to find out more about her birth mother and family.  

Moving from the present to the past, we meet Elizabeth Haberlin, a young woman who is growing up in wealth.  She and her family summer on a beautiful lake resort above the working class town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  

As she lives her life of privilege, she seems unaware of how the working class live, despite their proximity.  And then one day, the town of Johnstown is swept away by a devastating flood that kills hundreds of people.  

Lee becomes aware of her ancestor Elizabeth when she is given a photograph from her adoption folder at the California Department of Social Services. The mystery woman is standing next to Clara Barton. Armed with this information, Lee is able to investigate who this woman was and their connection.

This is a satisfying read about an important event in history. Lee's story was interesting, but I found myself most intrigued by the chapters set in 1889, about the resort where the wealthy spent time and the connection to Clara Barton.  

I can see book clubs enjoying this one, and it's a perfect book to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.

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