In this compulsively readable historical novel, from the author of the critically-acclaimed Two Sisters, comes the story of two young women—one in America’s Gilded Age, one in scrappy modern-day California—whose lives are linked by a single tragic afternoon in history.
1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.
Present day: On her 18th birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a genetic relative—a 19th century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster. Once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?
Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue calls the book “… a fascinating tale of two women…who defy expectations to find their own paths to happiness and purpose. Awash in historical detail, this book is a real page-turner.”
Library Journal called the novel “…An excellent piece of historical fiction…”
And the New York Daily News says, “Mary Hogan tells a wonderful story of two young women coming into their own. There is no doubt that The Woman in the Photo is a beautiful work of historical fiction that pulls you into a distant time and place and makes it feel like home.”
Usually I am not one to read anything historical. I can’t really say for sure why, it’s just hard for me to get into something not set in present times. I have, however, read the Outlander series, which I enjoyed, so I figured I would give this one a go. Pretty much because I thought the cover was pretty (yes, a lot of the time that is one of the reasons I choose to read a book lol)
So, what is this book about?
This is a new historical/contemporary book by Mary Hogan about the Johnstown Flood. The past set in the late 1800’s revolving around one Elizabeth Haberlin, a wealthy young woman who has an easy life. The present, a young woman in search of her past who has had a rough go of things.
Here is where I went in blind-I am not a history buff, in fact….If I am being honest with you guys, I don’t really care about history. My husband does, and sometimes I watch some of his shows with him, however, I am just like…meh….so I literally had no idea what this Johnstown Flood was. So this was a learning book-a little bit anyway-for me.
Anyway, so this book, much like dual POV, goes back and forth, which for me, makes the book move along quicker. I know without a shadow of a doubt I could not have finished it had I been stuck in the past. I have never read anything by this author, so I have no other works of hers to compare it to, but I felt this book was written well, with what I assume, historically accurate descritpions, good story development and satisfactory character development. I love books about strong willed women. I am going to be recommending this book to a few people I work with who don’t normally read the kind of books I tend to gravitate towards, because I am pretty sure this will be of interest to them.
Why only three stars? Well, because this star rating is kinda ridiculous in that 3 stars means I liked it but often times 3 stars is frowned upon. But, I liked it so 3 stars it is.
ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Mary Hogan is the author of the bestselling novel, Two Sisters, as well as the NAPPA Award-winning author of seven young-adult books. She lives in New York City.
Website: www.maryhogan.com Twitter: authorMaryHogan