The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.
But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.
Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.
I didn’t realize when I first started reading this book that it was the next book in the series that started with Grace’s Pictures. As I started reading and Annie came to live with Mrs. Hawkins and Grace, it all came together. I love the feeling of revisiting old friends, such as Grace, Owen, and Mrs. Hawkins, in a different book. So if you read and enjoyed Grace’s Pictures, this book is a must read.
I enjoyed this book, especially as it took me back to the setting of Grace’s Pictures, but it was a little predictable. There were parts of it that were a bit too obvious, but there were a couple of surprising twists. I have mixed feelings about the plot of the book.
However, what redeems this book for me is the characters. Thomson does a great job crafting characters that reflect feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams that readers can identify with and are sympathetic too. Annie, alone in the world, angry about things in the past, and doubting whether God can truly love her in spite of her flaws, provides the means for Thomson to reassure readers that everyone is loved by God.
If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly those set in the time of the height of Ellis Island immigration, you will enjoy this book. It is a nice look into what life might have been like for young women of that time.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.