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 Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories.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.
Seriously -- you say Irish and story in one sentence and I swoon so it was a shoe-in that I'd want to read this book. And, since I've read Thomson's first book, Grace's Pictures, I knew I was going to love this sequel. Be still my heart -- Irish storytelling and children's literature are at the heart of this intriguing read.
Thomson has done a marvellous job of portraying immigrant life in early twentieth century New York City. The good, the bad and the ugly. So many people bent on beginning a new life as they leave the past (and all its secrets) behind. Annie struggles to replace bitter memories with new ones, but unresolved issues keep sucking her back to a dark time. She grapples with trust and finds it hard to picture God in the midst of her tribulations. This is a story of redemption -- not only for Annie, but for other characters as well.
Like Stephen. An erstwhile hero if ever there was one. A heart of gold, but the impulses of an ox. :-) He wants to help everyone he sees and does so with reckless abandon that often leads to unexpected results, not all of them happy. I wanted to smack him upside the head at one particular point in the story. So like a man to want to act before asking. It's the whole Neanderthal must-fix-everything-so-woman-can-be-happy gene at work in an out of control way. Argh!
Needless to say there's heartache and sorrow within these pages but the thread of hope grows stronger as the story progresses. A truly amazing read.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Death Takes a Ride please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 13 2014. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!
My thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.