I was luckily enough to get a copy of this book from Penguin, to read and review as a part of a blog tour, but in my scatterbrained mind, I MISSED THE TOUR! Of course, that always tends to happen when I LOVED the book I’m reading, so I couldn’t let it pass without praising this wonderful, touching story, and letting people know what a good choice this book is!
A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away….
September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her?
September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?
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A+ (Five Stars)
I didn’t plan to love this book, I was drawn to it because of the historical element, having had great grandparents who came over through Ellis, I found that interesting, and having been a young child when 9/11 happened, I’m always interested in the stories, real and fiction, which help me understand the event in new ways.
I started reading, and I was just drawn in, I love historical books, include little to a lot of historical detail is something that really interests me because I have a very big interest in history, but as I was reading these two stories, intertwined by a scarf and two horrible events, I was at a loss, i just kept reading, I kept telling myself, I’d figure out how the scarf was related before the book told me, I tend to do that with some books, but I’m pleased to say I didn’t figure it out correctly, everything I guessed was wrong, and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed the not knowing, because it gave me a crazied urgency to finish the book and really find everything out. I also have to mention how beautiful the cover is, just a bit, because though as reviewers we’re supposed to look beyond the cover, I was drawn in by this. When I picked it up, I had a few other book choices sitting before me, but this one is the one I picked, and it’s partly because of this gorgeous cover.
Clara’s story was beautiful and heartbreaking. I thought she was so lovely in being such a typical female from the time, striking out on her own, but with a bit of naivety left in her. She’s beautiful written, and the character development we see from Clara is something I really appreciated. She’s been hiding out for so long on Ellis making work her life, to avoid living that it’s so inspirational when Clara really starts to live. She’s got so many dreams, and so much to look forward too, as you’re reading you want to shake her, and tell her to get out there and life. I loved the way her story wrapped up and how we saw it finally intertwine with Taryn’s story. It was amazing. She’s a strong woman, with a deep ability to love, and she’s proud of that. I really loved her story, and was so glad for her.
Taryn’s story was hard to read. It might be because 9/11 was so much more recent, or her personal struggles, but I was just so terribly sad when we got to the story of her relationship to 9/11. I thought of both stories, the author did the most beautiful job with this one, weaving it to include those parts we’d rather forget, but delicately in order to preserve the memory, and keep it fresh for the character. She really allowed the reader to feel for the character, and feel what the character was going through. She included you in those moments, and I don’t know about the other readers, but I felt breathless as she did. Her ending was perfect. I don’t think the author could’ve done a better job giving Taryn exactly what she needed. I cried, it was lovely.
Overall this is the book you need to pick up on your next shopping trip to the bookstore. You won’t regret it. Along with the beautiful imagery, the touching emotional situations, and the beautiful woven plot point of coincidence and how things are meant to be. I am still thinking about it after finishing this lovely book, and I urge you to go get yourself a copy, because you really need to experience Clara and Taryn’s stories for yourself, I promise you, they’ll stay with you!
About The Author:
Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses.
Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.
She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with my family, music, reading great books, and traveling.