Saturday, September 24, 2011
Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch
Rose and her family have come from Ireland in search of a better life. Things get off to a bad start though when her younger brother is not allowed in the country and her family is split up again. Convincing her mother she needs to stay, Rose and one of her sisters continue on in America trying to make a living for themselves. After struggling to figure out how to live in their new country, Rose and her sister befriend a kind Jewish girl heavily involved in the union who gets Rose a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Baffled as to her friend's dedication to the union, Rose tries to find her own spirit until tragedy strikes.
Notes: #6 for the YA Historical Fiction Challenge
I managed to read this book in about a day mainly because it was a fast read. It was interesting from the perspective of looking into immigrant behavior from the early 1900s. The unions are generally difficult for me to relate to teenagers, so Auch does a good job in stressing their importance. The main fault I had with the book was some things just didn't seem believable. I'm not sure if it's just because I don't know the details of whether families really did leave teenage children in America or not, but some things just seemed like a stretch. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the use of dialect in the writing, but that's more a personal pet peeve of mine.
The history seemed very accurate and the story itself was interesting. It's a good addition to any library trying to encourage reading of historical fiction, though it's only going to appeal to girls and the cover art leaves something to be desired.