Today I'm featuring
The Forgotten Girl
by Heather Chapman
About The Forgotten Girl:
It is 1906, and sixteen-year-old Stella's life in Durliosy, Poland, is bleak. Her only hope of surviving is to travel to America, a land of freedom and opportunity, and reunite with her brother in Baltimore. There she'll find new challenges, and perhaps, if she can put her painful past behind her, a new chance for love and lasting happiness.
My brother shakes his head, and I see his shoulders rise. His eyes are dark, a faraway look in them. "You forget," he says, his voice growing deeper. "Poles are not welcome in America."
I wipe my cheek with my sleeve, praying Jozef did not see the tear roll down it. Not welcome?
My chest feels like it is on fire, and it is as if only my rebuttal can quench it. "We are not welcome in our own country," I say, my eyes falling to the floor.
Jozef lets out a deep grunt, so deep that it rolls throughout the room, bouncing along the floorboards and between the others seated at the table. I lift my head to see his hand twist around the back of the chair as if meant to crush the wood between his fingers. "At least tell me you have not forgotten your Polish pride," he whispers, his voice cracking like a whip against a mule.
I shake my head, too angry and stubborn to say anything in reply. I do not forget. I cannot forget.
My Book Review:
I enjoyed this book very much. Although this novel has its roots in the author’s own family history, it reads like the novel it is, one full of intrigue, challenges, conflict, trials and love, one that touched me emotionally at every turn. Told in the first person, the main character, Stella, is a strong-willed young woman unwilling to accept a life of an impoverished orphan subject to the abuse and control of her older brother and his wife. Although it breaks her heart to leave behind a beloved niece, she yearns to go to America to join another older brother where she hopes to enjoy some freedom and work towards a better future.
Once she arrives in America, finds her brother is not what she thought he was. He and others again threated to take away her freedom for their own benefit. Instead, she finds she must make her own life in a society and subject to laws where women do not have as many rights as men.
The author wrote her characters in a way that was believable and engendered empathy—even for those characters that were less than admirable. The story was a window into a past society. She brought to life the difficulties of a society of lower-class immigrants who spoke very little, if any, English. She touched on the deplorable working conditions and the few enjoyments of the era. Her characters never forgot that as bad as they had it in America, their family members back in the old country had it worse. At least in America, there was hope for a brighter future.
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About Heather Chapman:
Heather currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.
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