The Garment Maker's Daughter Info

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The Garment Maker’s Daughter is a multigenerational saga of
immigrant dreams and sweatshop realities, labor strikes and women’s
rights. It is the story of Lena Rothman, a shirtwaist-maker and active
suffragette whose plans get derailed when she falls in love with her
best friend’s boyfriend; Jake Brenner, a passionate labor organizer
determined to lead the shirtwaist-makers on a high-stakes strike; and
Daniel Cowan, a brilliant and ambitious night-school student hobbled by a
shameful past. Fate draws them together. Emotions bind them to each
other. But secrets will tear them apart. When a devastating blaze
engulfs the shirtwaist factory, Lena must fight for her life. And in the
chaos of the fire’s aftermath, mistakes will be made with consequences
and secrets that continue into the next generation. Spanning the first
half of the twentieth century, this is a story about unforgettable
characters and the threads of friendship, love, betrayal, and redemption
that form the fabric of their lives. Fans of Adriana Trigiani, Kristin
Hannah, and Christine Baker Kline, will love The Garment Maker’s
Daughter. It's that rare novel you’ll be thinking about long after
you’ve finished it.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for The Garment Maker's Daughter:

5

Dec 29, 2016

This is one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read. The characters are engaging and complex. The writing is polished and lyrical. The plot is delightfully complicated, but never confusing or tedious. Most likely, the best recommendation I can give is that I can't wait for more from this author!! Good work!
4

Jun 10, 2017

Love just happens….. It can’t be planned, neither can it be bought nor sold or even traded; it just happens. When it does, for whatever reason, it is pure magic.
Like millions of immigrants before them, Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Cowan and seventeen-year-old Lena Rothman looked on Lady Liberty as their ship, the SS Pretoria made its way to Ellis Island; the gateway to a new life, filled with hope and promise. These two young people weren’t related or friends. It is really quite strange that they Love just happens….. It can’t be planned, neither can it be bought nor sold or even traded; it just happens. When it does, for whatever reason, it is pure magic.
Like millions of immigrants before them, Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Cowan and seventeen-year-old Lena Rothman looked on Lady Liberty as their ship, the SS Pretoria made its way to Ellis Island; the gateway to a new life, filled with hope and promise. These two young people weren’t related or friends. It is really quite strange that they hadn’t seen or noticed each other on the long trip from war-torn Europe. The year is 1917 and for many their first real chance at life.
With Lady Liberty smiling down on them, a mutual connection is made. Even though no real words were exchanged, these two are destined to develop a close connection through the trials and tribulations of building a new home and life in the Promised Land, known throughout the world as the United States.

This world, just a century away from the one in which we now live, is so different. Immigrants are welcomed to our shores, regardless of their religion or where they were born. Women haven’t convinced their male counterparts of their equality and right to vote. Labor practices are cruel, unfair, and dangerous. Labor Unions are struggling to improve working conditions but are opposed at every turn by factory owners and local politicians that care more about the mighty dollar than their fellow man. Overcrowding in unsafe housing forms the backdrop for a beehive of activity. These new immigrants are in a hurry to settle in, make a decent living and merge with this new society that affords any man, or woman, the chance to succeed and prosper. They will be proud when they are able to call themselves Americans.
The reader is plunged into this strange world. Filled with hope and heartache, success and failure, love and loss, the transplanting process isn’t easy but it is worth all the effort and dangers. I was instantly connected to all of the characters and soon filled with empathy for their struggle. Written in a literary format, made popular by well-known authors as James Patterson, Hillary Stern uses relatively short chapters to give this missive wings. The reader is given the impression that he, or she, is literally flying through the book as chapter after chapter flies under their eyes in short order. Many books have mixed reviews. This story seems to impress everyone who reads it. I highly recommend it for its content and form; a perfect mixture for a perfect tale.
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4

Nov 17, 2017

I very well balanced historical fiction read. The characters are full and lush and the story heroic. I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you Goodreads and author Hillary Adrienne Stern for the opportunity to go back in time.
5

Jan 27, 2017

Great story. The Author writes extraordinarily well and is especially talented at conveying her characters' thoughts, moods and actions. The story moves incredibly quickly. Among other things, We get snapshots of immigrant life, particularly Jewish immigrant culture, the labor movement, and New York City. But, rather than focus too much on the intricacies of the time period she covers, Ms. Stern says enough to place her characters in a context without letting too many details distract from a Great story. The Author writes extraordinarily well and is especially talented at conveying her characters' thoughts, moods and actions. The story moves incredibly quickly. Among other things, We get snapshots of immigrant life, particularly Jewish immigrant culture, the labor movement, and New York City. But, rather than focus too much on the intricacies of the time period she covers, Ms. Stern says enough to place her characters in a context without letting too many details distract from a lovely, poignant story about immigrants who become successful in one way or another. Finally, the book Is enriched by the moral dilemma at the core of the story and it is a good one. ...more
5

Nov 26, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel. I came in with no expectations, so it exceeded them in every way. A very engaging saga with a strong female protagonist. In fact, the entire story is a celebration of women's drive and ambition. The story spanned many decades of the early 20th century so was interesting to read about women in the garment workers union on through fighting for and gaining the right to vote, and starting their own successful businesses -- in some cases in spite of the men I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel. I came in with no expectations, so it exceeded them in every way. A very engaging saga with a strong female protagonist. In fact, the entire story is a celebration of women's drive and ambition. The story spanned many decades of the early 20th century so was interesting to read about women in the garment workers union on through fighting for and gaining the right to vote, and starting their own successful businesses -- in some cases in spite of the men in their lives who weren't always helpful. I haven't read the other reviews yet and am curious if there might be a sequel, as the ending certainly leaves the door open. But it really isn't necessary, as the novel stands on its own very well. Loved it! ...more
5

Sep 26, 2017

I can't' believe this is Ms. Steven's first book!

Wonderfully written story with strong characters. I can't say there was any one person I didn't like. Perhaps Lena was my favorite person because she tried to do what was right in all situations. I don't want to give anything away so I will stop right here and just say that I thoroughly enjoyed this author's first book and hope others will read it too.
1

Dec 06, 2017

I can hardly tell that I have read it. I had read the first part with my full attention, but the second and third I mostly just skimmed/skipped (and I did it only because I was curious whether it would be as bad as I feared - it was).

At the beginning, it reminded me very much The Tea Rose Series, especially wonderful The Tea Rose. But, not only Jennifer Donnelly's storytelling was better, but first of all, she managed better with a historical background.

Writing historical fiction a writer I can hardly tell that I have read it. I had read the first part with my full attention, but the second and third I mostly just skimmed/skipped (and I did it only because I was curious whether it would be as bad as I feared - it was).

At the beginning, it reminded me very much The Tea Rose Series, especially wonderful The Tea Rose. But, not only Jennifer Donnelly's storytelling was better, but first of all, she managed better with a historical background.

Writing historical fiction a writer chooses which historical events have an impact on characters/a plot. It is completely understandable. But one can't write the story taking place in 1917 like there was no WWI at all. Hillary Adrienne Stern chose only historical fact/events that fit her story. So, we heard here about e.g. the 1905 Russian Revolution and pogroms of Jews in Russia but we didn't hear about WWI (I skimmed later parts of the book but I didn't find anything about WWII too).

In my opinion, Ms. Stern invented her characters and their lives and treated it like her precious children. She wanted to give them a meaningful life. Nothing wrong with that, I have my own stories like that. But, when one wants to make from them a book for other people one needs 'a stern father' too. Without him, one ends up like 'The Garment Maker's Daughter'.

The plot was too much predictable. Too obvious. I would have forgiven it, probably, but I couldn't forgive (like you can read in a description of the book) a mistake which consequences continued into the next generation. It was so stupid, so out of character (of Lena and Jack) that I was not going to read the next chapters. (Although, eventually, I skimmed through the rest of the novel.)

Besides, the life of the poor young immigrants described here was too easy, even for a young adult novel.

I think it is enough. I don't want to think of this book anymore.

I can add some fragments of other reviews that I find apt:

Sarah's: Poorly researched, all the characters we[re] one dimensional, overused tropes...

Loni DeRock's: Not so much a historical fiction book but a historical romance with immature drawn out whiny characters.

Katie's: The book has uneven pacing, and the different perspectives make it even more uneven. There are also some big historical inaccuracies. Both World Wars are glossed over. The Depression doesn't keep anyone from pursuing their dreams. Everyone is way more progressive than people in the early 20th century were. ...more
3

Jan 23, 2018

This was a great story line and I loved the way the characters were developed. But the number of typos made this very distracting for me. At one point, the uncle was even referred to by the wrong name. There's really no excuse for this. I would have given this book 4 stars had it not been for the typos.
5

Jun 13, 2017

Excellent book! I rarely give 5 stars.
If you are a lover of Historical Fiction, this book is for you! It is relatively new, but I found it as a FREE Kindle book on Amazon.
5

Jan 22, 2018

Historical Novel Association

"In the early 20th century, three immigrants stand aboard a ship sailing into Ellis Island, each with their own dreams about what coming to America will mean for them: Daniel, a Polish boy with a love of language and law, and Lena and Joe, Jewish siblings hoping for a better life. They are about to meet New Yorkers Jake, a rough labor representative, and his dazzling girlfriend, Sophie. Together, they will change one another’s lives in ways no one could imagine. Over Historical Novel Association

"In the early 20th century, three immigrants stand aboard a ship sailing into Ellis Island, each with their own dreams about what coming to America will mean for them: Daniel, a Polish boy with a love of language and law, and Lena and Joe, Jewish siblings hoping for a better life. They are about to meet New Yorkers Jake, a rough labor representative, and his dazzling girlfriend, Sophie. Together, they will change one another’s lives in ways no one could imagine. Over the next 50 years, these five friends come into and fall out of one another’s lives through joy and pain, tragedy and triumph. But there is one secret that could tear them apart forever.
The Garment Maker’s Daughter is a beautiful multi-generational epic about life, love and the choices we make. The characters are well drawn, and the plot is refreshingly realistic, allowing both positive and negative occurrences to color the characters’ lives, rather than romantically painting over the rough patches. Stern has obviously done her research, and she effortlessly plants the reader in a variety of historically accurate settings, from stuffy shirtwaist factory workrooms to a cozy hotel in the Catskills and the opulent dining halls of the political elite. She keeps the reader on track with a few real-life event tie-ins, but the crux of the story is the relationships of its main characters, and they do not disappoint. The expert pacing kept me turning pages, and Stern’s engaging plot had me hooked until the very last page. I highly recommend this wonderful tale of life, love and the struggle to be true to oneself as a book everyone should read. " ...more
5

Dec 11, 2016

I could not put this book down. Honestly I am not a big reader but once I started the book I had to finish. Each character was so brilliantly introduced and revealed throughout the story. Nothing is predictable and each part of the story flows seamlessly into the next. I don't want to say more and ruin the experience for you...I would put it on a must read list!
4

Jan 27, 2019

I chose this historical novel at no cost through Kindle Unlimited. Without too much thought, I picked it out to read at bedtime. I was pleasantly surprised that the story drew me in and that I looked forward to reading it each night.

Lena Rothman, a Jewish immigrant, arrives in New York City at in the early twentieth century. Only her brother is there in America to greet her. With his recommendation she gets a grueling job in a shirtwaist factory.

At the factory, Lena meets Sophie, who becomes I chose this historical novel at no cost through Kindle Unlimited. Without too much thought, I picked it out to read at bedtime. I was pleasantly surprised that the story drew me in and that I looked forward to reading it each night.

Lena Rothman, a Jewish immigrant, arrives in New York City at in the early twentieth century. Only her brother is there in America to greet her. With his recommendation she gets a grueling job in a shirtwaist factory.

At the factory, Lena meets Sophie, who becomes her best friend. Sophie’s boyfriend Jake, a union organizer, is attracted to Lena, and he and Lena fall in love.

Tragedy ensues with the shirtwaist fire of 1911. Thinking Sophie is dead, Lena and Jake consummate their love. They find out later that Sophie is badly injured but alive. Lena feels a strong loyalty to her best friend. A pregnant Lena leaves town to hide her pregnancy from Sophie and Jake.

This is a book about immigrants, women’s rights, and workers’ rights. The story is intertwined with relationships of friendship and romance. There are historical events such as the 1911 shirtwaist fire that killed so many innocents. The characters are believable and well developed. They come alive on the page.
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3

Jan 01, 2018

Nice storyline

This book had a nice storyline but I found it to be a bit juvenile and redundant. The "uncontrollable" lust/ love was unrealistic, as were many parts of the story, which made it so much like a storybook for a younger person. I thought the mention of the gay relationship to be completely unnecessary and distasteful in this story. Overall, nice story for a girl about 15 that still believes in love at first sight and sees the whole world through rose colored glasses.
3

Dec 06, 2017

Lena immigrates to the United States in the early 20th century, and then the book follows her and those around her for the next 30 years. The book shows the many different paths immigrants took, and how far reaching their contributions to the United States have been. The book has uneven pacing, and the different perspectives make it even more uneven. There are also some big historical inaccuracies. Both World Wars are glossed over. The Depression doesn't keep anyone from pursuing their dreams. Lena immigrates to the United States in the early 20th century, and then the book follows her and those around her for the next 30 years. The book shows the many different paths immigrants took, and how far reaching their contributions to the United States have been. The book has uneven pacing, and the different perspectives make it even more uneven. There are also some big historical inaccuracies. Both World Wars are glossed over. The Depression doesn't keep anyone from pursuing their dreams. Everyone is way more progressive than people in the early 20th century were.
This is petty, but I really think the title is bad. (view spoiler)[ The book really isn't really about Rachel, the daughter. Garment maker seems like a weird phrase to use anyway, and who is it even referring to? Jake was a union leader, but he wasn't making clothing. Lena worked in the factory for a few months, but then has different jobs over the next 30 years; Chambermaid, embroiderer, businesswomen, charity fundraiser. I wouldn't consider either of them to be a "garment maker." (hide spoiler)] ...more
5

May 18, 2017

This was a very engrossing. The characters were very real. I did enjoy the book I had a hard time putting it down as I wanted to get to the end and find out if all of the problems that came up would be solved in the manner I thought they should. The characters in this book are working in a sweatshop sewing shirt waists.....they are locked in and there is a fire. Two friends go in completely different directions and don't see each other again until...........can't say it will spoil the ending. This was a very engrossing. The characters were very real. I did enjoy the book I had a hard time putting it down as I wanted to get to the end and find out if all of the problems that came up would be solved in the manner I thought they should. The characters in this book are working in a sweatshop sewing shirt waists.....they are locked in and there is a fire. Two friends go in completely different directions and don't see each other again until...........can't say it will spoil the ending. There is a boyfriend who is trying to get everyone to strike the factories, one character who is totally involved in the group of suffragettes of the time. History is woven into this story. I really enjoyed reading it and I did stay up really late one night trying to get to the good part at the end. If you like a good romance with history thrown in, this book is definitely for you. The characters are well developed and very complex. Great book! I did receive this book in exchange for an honest review!

Description of the book as found here on Good Reads: The Garment Maker's Daughter is a multigenerational saga of immigrant dreams and sweatshop realities, labor strikes and women's rights. It is the story of Lena Rothman, a shirtwaist-maker and active suffragette whose plans get derailed when she falls in love with her best friend's boyfriend; Jake Brenner, a passionate labor organizer determined to lead the shirtwaist-makers on a high-stakes strike; and Daniel Cowan, a brilliant and ambitious night-school student hobbled by a shameful past.

Fate draws them together. Emotions bind them to each other. But secrets will tear them apart. When a devastating blaze engulfs the shirtwaist factory, Lena must fight for her life. And in the chaos of the fire's aftermath, mistakes will be made with consequences that continue into the next generation.

Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, this is a story about unforgettable characters and the threads of friendship, love, betrayal, and redemption that form the fabric of their lives. The Garment Maker's Daughter is that rare novel you'll be thinking about long after you've finished it. ...more
4

Jan 17, 2018

An entertaining story with predicable problems, misunderstandings and ending. Characterizations were good. However the death of Sophie at the end felt like a "throw in" which didn't really contribute anything, except a possibility which by then was really no possibility.
3

Dec 29, 2017

3.5? 3.75?

A lot of it was kind of jumpy and didn't fit well together for me. A bit hard to follow at times.. and I'm not really sure how I feel about the ending.
4

Aug 08, 2018

Honestly, I had low expectations going in to this, but I really enjoyed the story (-ies) and the characters. I felt like the author did a great job of keeping things in context and accurate for the time period(s) and the dialogue was written very well, too!
5

Mar 16, 2019

4.5 This book had everything ....well written, great character development , love, friendships, family , betrayal and history ....need I say more!!!! must read!!!!
3

Dec 31, 2017

This was an Amazon book. Of course I know there is a reason for the zero price tag but occasionally they do look pretty good and get great reviews so I take a chance. I enjoyed the historical aspect of this novel and the story line kept me interested enough to zip through just to see how it ended. I wondered why I was skimming through so much of the dialogue and realized that was the problem. It seemed like I was reading a script. The dialogue was realistic and I felt for the characters but it This was an Amazon book. Of course I know there is a reason for the zero price tag but occasionally they do look pretty good and get great reviews so I take a chance. I enjoyed the historical aspect of this novel and the story line kept me interested enough to zip through just to see how it ended. I wondered why I was skimming through so much of the dialogue and realized that was the problem. It seemed like I was reading a script. The dialogue was realistic and I felt for the characters but it lacked the prose of a beautifully written story. I love written language but don't have a memory for words so when I read a book and don't have to look up a single word I know it is missing something for me. I think this book would translate into an excellent movie. ...more
4

Mar 26, 2018

When I first downloaded this I wasn't completely sure what to expect other than some kind of historical fiction set across the first half of the 20th Century. What I got was a tale following two generations of the Rothman family, first with Lena as she arrives in America with her brother to start a new life, and the second with her daughter Rachel as she grows up in the Catskill Mountains and tries to find out more about her own and her mother's past. This is as much a love story as it is a When I first downloaded this I wasn't completely sure what to expect other than some kind of historical fiction set across the first half of the 20th Century. What I got was a tale following two generations of the Rothman family, first with Lena as she arrives in America with her brother to start a new life, and the second with her daughter Rachel as she grows up in the Catskill Mountains and tries to find out more about her own and her mother's past. This is as much a love story as it is a historical fiction, which didn't completely ruin it for me but I did find it jarred with the strong characters of both Lena and Rachel as they fell into the same traditions as most women of the time, even if it did take them longer to do so. That aside, the story is really well written and engaging with clear research having gone into the events and attitudes of the time (don't even get me started on Will!). I'm impressed to learn that this is Stern first book given how good the story, characters and writing is, although this could be a double edged sword! ...more
4

Sep 20, 2018

This book covers several years Lena Rothman's life. She comes to America to start a new life and in doing so she becomes good friends with 3 people, Sophie, Daniel, and Jake. She and Sophie become really close almost like sisters. Daniel falls for Lena and wants to take the friendship to a new level. Jake and Sophie are in a relationship themselves. One night a tragic event occurs when a fire breaks out that changes Lena's life overnight. Lena soon has to make a decision in order to protect her This book covers several years Lena Rothman's life. She comes to America to start a new life and in doing so she becomes good friends with 3 people, Sophie, Daniel, and Jake. She and Sophie become really close almost like sisters. Daniel falls for Lena and wants to take the friendship to a new level. Jake and Sophie are in a relationship themselves. One night a tragic event occurs when a fire breaks out that changes Lena's life overnight. Lena soon has to make a decision in order to protect her friend, which she does without further thought. As the years go by, Lena life has taken a paths that she never saw herself going down. Eventually time brings Lena back to where it all started and back to those that she really cared about. Lena gets a chance to say she is sorry but was it soon enough. Lena also gets a second chance at a love that was always there but never realized.
Such a great read. A little historical fiction, some tragedy, some struggles, some achievements, and friendship and love all rolled into one. I was captivated by this story and could easily see it turning into a movie. The characters were real and personable. I become invested in their lives. I highly recommend this book. ...more
4

Dec 22, 2017

Starting with two immigrants arriving at the Ellis Island processing centre this novel looks at how their lives pan out form their inauspicious arrival in 1917. Lena and Daniel's stories become strangely intertwined from his first glimpse of her on the ship to meeting her again at Night School. This is a real relationship so they fall away from each other and reconnect and fall away again - you get the idea.

Whilst the people in this story feel real there is little characterisation. It very much Starting with two immigrants arriving at the Ellis Island processing centre this novel looks at how their lives pan out form their inauspicious arrival in 1917. Lena and Daniel's stories become strangely intertwined from his first glimpse of her on the ship to meeting her again at Night School. This is a real relationship so they fall away from each other and reconnect and fall away again - you get the idea.

Whilst the people in this story feel real there is little characterisation. It very much feels we are outside looking in and only see what they want to show us of their lives. We know maybe the most about Lena but even then I never at any stage felt I knew her or really understood her motives. There are a core cluster of 5 people in this book - Lena Kerner nee Rothman, Daniel Cowan, Sophie Friedman, Daniel Cowan and later in the book Rachel Rothman. We get glimpses of all their daily lives throughout the book and it does jump from place to place and year to year with seeming impunity but this is no bad thing as it keeps you reading to see what next happens to Daniel because this chapter is about Jake and then when that ends you want to know what happens to him and on and on it goes.

There is no real plot as such. This is just the unfolding of the lives of these driven and determined people up to the 1950s. As a social history it has some insights but there are few that we are not already aware of and there is little depth to them. There is an awful lot here about the Unionisation of America and struggles for fair employment and that seems to be the main drift of the authors "agenda". It is quite politically charged but this did not lessen my enjoyment of the book which did surprise me somewhat. Maybe this was because this is offset by moments of genuine warmth and camaraderie between the characters.

The war years are glossed over and so are racial tensions prevalent both now and then. In fact whole years are omitted which means that what could be a boring catalogue of daily events is not given the chance to develop. what I did find jarring was that everyone became if not exactly wealthy they were at least very, very successful in their chosen fields, which simply did not ring true at all and I am sure that it is not an indicative representation of life for Jewish Immigrants to the United States except in the opening chapters when they work for little pay and live in shoddy accommodations.

It is a tale of hope though and a tale that makes you believe no matter what happens the power to change your lot in life lies your hands and yours alone. It is not an easy read and does challenge your preconceptions about life then and, thusly, life now. With single motherhood, working conditions, homosexuality, thwarted affections and friendship being discussed. Told from a third person perspective it tells us how the character feels without that character narrating directly to us and I think this is why it is so hard to connect with the people as they inhabit the page. Much of what I read now is very much first person and it feels a little odd to read this more traditional form of story telling. In fact it was almost refreshing to step back to an earlier form of the novel.

I do think describing it as a sweeping saga has the touch of hyperbole about it and although I would not hesitate to recommend the book I would do so with the caveat that you do need to engage brain before reading - if only to keep up with everyone and their fast diverging lives from a joint starting point. ...more
5

Dec 19, 2019

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its characters. One review mentioned Rachel as the garment maker's daughter and felt that not enough was written about her. I think they missed the fact that Lena was, in fact, the garment maker's daughter. It was mentioned that she was able to do well in the shirtwaist factory because of her experience in her father's shop in the old country.

The first world war was brought up in the story that Lena told everyone about the father of her daughter Rachel. She I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its characters. One review mentioned Rachel as the garment maker's daughter and felt that not enough was written about her. I think they missed the fact that Lena was, in fact, the garment maker's daughter. It was mentioned that she was able to do well in the shirtwaist factory because of her experience in her father's shop in the old country.

The first world war was brought up in the story that Lena told everyone about the father of her daughter Rachel. She said that they had a hurried wedding because he was going off to war and that he died in the war. It was not made a major issue because her characters were not directly impacted by it. She chose other historical areas to emphasize, most especially, union issues and, to a certain extent, suffragette issues.

The trauma of the shirtwaist factory fire caused Lena and Jake to let down their guard and indulge in risky sexual behavior. The fact that they were sexually attracted to each other before the fire made it even more likely to happen. The fruit of this moment of passion is what brings the story into greater areas that will make for plenty of material for a second book dealing with the next geneeration,

I also loved Daniel, a late bloomer, who has an everlasting love for Lena. He was an example of the hardworking, intelligent, successful immigrant who never gives up. It's through his eyes that we first meet our garment maker's daughter. He is true to character in never giving up on his love for Lena along with everything else. He even has a couple of romantic opportunities along the way, but he seems destined for the woman he feels is his soulmate.

Sophie was perhaps the character I felt the least connected to. She seemed like she was trying too hard. She allowed Jake to take advantage of her good nature all through her life. Perhaps there was an insecurity that caused her to always be "on stage" to try and please those around her. She over reacted to things like she was talking too much, too fast out of nervousness. I'm thinking, in particular, about her arranging for a celebration when they did not have to go to court. Sophie was pretty ill toward the end of the book. it was more than shock that had her in bed. It's mentioned that she does not look well and she was happy to leave the gala early. Her death was not unusual for someone who's experienced as much bodily trauma as she did from the fire. It was, however, disappointing. I had hoped that Sophie and Lena could have had a full reconciliation.

Jake is not a man I would have wanted to be with the rest of my life. I was happy when it didn't work out for Lena to stay with him. He was too interested in his own way and needed a woman like Sophie who was constantly trying to please. This didn't keep Lena from making the mistake of marrying a man who was selfish and controlling. It did surprise me that she gave up control of her business so easily. She seemed like a woman who did not meekly follow the ways of the obedient wife that were so prominent at the time.

Rachel is developed later in the book because she's our main character for book 2. She has her mother's and her father's strength. She did not give up easily while searching for information about her father. She proves to be just as intelligent as her parents and tenacious, as well.

The gay relationship that Lena's brother Joe is having, seems to be rather easily accepted. I'm not sure if that's historically accurate because, at that time, there were laws on the books against such relationships. It's only more recently that society has come to accept that not all relationships fit the same pattern.

The other thing I questioned while reading the novel was that Lena seemed to have no problem at all with communication even though she said that English class was very difficult for her. No mention was made of the necessity for translators when she was being arrested and brought to jail. She seemed to understand everything the hecklers were saying and doing while she was picketing in front of the store. I decided to just let that breeze by and suspended disbelief to just enjoy the story.

There are a number of typos etc. in the book. I just highlighted them and sent them off to be evaluated. It didn't cause much of a problem.

Hillary A Stern is an interesting writer. It will be interesting to see if she continues this saga, which would make for an interesting play or movie. ...more
4

Aug 28, 2018

Even though I rated it a 4-star, I have mixed emotions about book. With a title like it has, I was expecting the plot and the story line to circulate around Rachel and we all know that that did not happen. In total, I doubt the daughter got more than the equivalent of one chapter throughout the entire story! And honestly, Lena was only a garment maker for less than a year in a story that spans 30 - 35 years or more! So right off the hop, the book was mis-named!
It started out as books should, Even though I rated it a 4-star, I have mixed emotions about book. With a title like it has, I was expecting the plot and the story line to circulate around Rachel and we all know that that did not happen. In total, I doubt the daughter got more than the equivalent of one chapter throughout the entire story! And honestly, Lena was only a garment maker for less than a year in a story that spans 30 - 35 years or more! So right off the hop, the book was mis-named!
It started out as books should, introducing the characters and the main players To build the plot and the story line but then it started getting jumpy! There was a few times when the time lines didn't quite align - one was a reference to ".. then the war broke out.." talking of something that happened in 1917, when in actuality, the war had begun more than 3 years prior. (I admit, I did not go back and verify the dates but I do know that WW1 began in 1914) and as one other reader alluded to, huge spans of time from one chapter to the next - little to no dialogue until part three, and then it seemed that each of them had been harboring pent up anger and emotions and unspoken words for 30 years.
I would have to say that the most confusing part of all, was when Sophie suddenly passed away, virtually days after they had all been at the ball. There had been no mention of her being ill, other than a quick reference to her off mood and poor coloring, but the average reader would have put that down to the fact that she had just met Rachel and then had to confront Lena with the ugly truth she had discovered.
The last couple of chapters seems as if the author had a time line and suddenly had to finish the book, rushed through a bunch of predictable drivel and then of course the star of the story gets to meet her daddy!

On the plus side, I appreciated the references to historical events and geography. I could feel the pain of the factory workers as the were trapped on the fire escape as the building burned around them. More than once I could see the beauty of the country side or feel the angst that the immigrants were dealing with. For all the confusion and mixed story lines, I did find myself unable to put the book down. Like the author rushed the last few chapters, I speed read the same, hoping for some brilliant conversations, or reassuring conclusions, neither of which happened!

Will I read another of Hillary's books? probably not. At least nor for a long long time! ...more

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