I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Woman In The Photo by Mary Hogan
Pages: 432 pages
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 eighteenth 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?
The Woman In The Photo is a beautiful story that blends the past and present seamlessly and had me thinking about the characters long after I finished the last page.
Elizabeth Haberlin of the Pittsburgh Haberlins is a feisty young society woman who wants to live life on her terms that may not conform with her parents. She is also expected to marry someone of her class and while that may be, she will do it on her terms.
Her family spends summers at an exclusive club located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania When she meets Eugene Eggar a Johnstown steelworker, who gives her an ominous warning about the poor maintenance of the dam that can burst at any time sending 20 million tons of water to rain down the mountains and onto the townspeople of Johnstown. That warning and subsequent action or inaction of the club owners change the lives of everyone, forever.
Lee Parker, is now 18 and the records from her closed adoption are open to her, and she can’t wait to look at them! Looking at the information about her birth, she sees an old photograph of two 19th century women, one she learns is Clara Barton the founder of the American Red Cross and that sparks even more questions. In looking for the answers, she wants to make sure she doesn’t hurt the feelings of the only mother she has every known.
I loved this story that blends the history of the horror of the Johnstown disaster and the research of Lee Parker to find her heritage. Mary Hogan writing is flawless in the way she writes, and I hope there is an option in the works to bring this story to the big screen.
I recommend you buy and read this book because it is excellent!
Reviewed by: Linda C