A good historical novel will take you back through the years and let you remember a time you never experienced.
Cindy Thomson's Ellis Island series is doing just that.
A great historical novel won't stop there, though, it will also give you characters to befriend while you're in its pages.
Cindy Thomson's books do that as well.
In 2013, I met Grace McCaffrey, Irish immigrant and boarder at Hawkin's House. Grace's story was one of self-discovery and mystery- including a run-in with one of New York's gangs.
Now, in 2014, I got to go back to Hawkin's House and have tea again with the matron whose keen-eyed compassion earned her the name Hawk. This time she introduced me to another boarder, Annie Gallagher.
Where Grace fell in love with photography, Annie's passion is stories. Especially because the stories are the last physical gift from her departed father. Smooth, faded pages, carefully treasured manuscripts bearing delightful children's tales. That is her one inheritance. Annie keeps them in her desk, and lets them inspire her heart. They wouldn't mean much to anyone else, but they remind her where she came from.
Annie is a dreamer, and she strives to live with confidence in herself and her abilities. She has experienced terribly adverse circumstances and she isn't giving in to despair. Instead, she is channeling her energy: Annie wants to build a library and dedicate it to the education and improvement of young girls like herself.
In the meanwhile though, there are myriad challenges to overcome before that dream can be made of brick and mortar.
A strange man is investigating Hawkin's House, a new boarder is in grave danger, and a postal worker seems quite smitten with our Annie.
What's a girl to do?
Stephen Adams, the postal employee, is a lovable and rather lovestruck character. He's a mailman back when a mailman might deliver three times in one day, and he's proud of his profession. He's also a bibliophile, and it's the shared love of stories that draws them together.
And he's got a few troubles: unpaid bills, a slightly slick opportunist of a landlord, and a terrible case of Tongue-Tie around a certain Miss Gallagher.
Watching Stephen fumble his way around Annie adds some gentle comedy to this novel.
Watching Annie stand up for herself and discover her own capability, that makes Annie's Stories an excellent choice for girls to read. We need as many heroines as possible. Annie Gallagher and Grace McCaffrey are fine ones.
Thank you to Cindy Thomson for the opportunity to be a first reviewer of her new book. I hope it finds an enthusiastic readership!
Cindy Thomson's newest historical novel, Annie's Stories, releases July 2014. The series began with Grace's Pictures, June 2013, published by Tyndale House. She is also the author Celtic Wisdom (Lion Hudson),Brigid of Ireland, A Historical Novel, (Monarch Books) and co-author of Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, (University of Nebraska Press.)
She is also a mentor in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Her interests include genealogy, history, and baseball. Sharing the legacies of faith left by those who went before us is her passion.
She has spoken to book clubs and other small groups and enjoys appearing at several large Irish festivals across the country. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wright State University with a degree in Elementary Education and taught in private Christian school settings for nearly 20 years.