"Annie's Stories" by Cindy Thomson is the second in the Ellis Island series. These are historical novels that do not necessarily need to be read in order. The novel centers around Annie, an Irish immigrant in 1901. Her father died before she left for the US and her uncle, who was then her guardian, placed her in a Magdalene Laundry. If you don't know what that is do a quick google search. There is also a movie I would recommend. It will appall you. She then immigrates to the US and stays with Mrs. Hawkings in her boarding house working as a house servant. Her cousin (whom she does not like) soon follows her. Annie also has what is probably PTSD from her time in the Laundry. The story follows her as she deals with her past, her cousin, her mail delivering friend, and the women in the boarding house. The women in the house live in a constant fear of being bullied by men. And bully they do; whenever it benefits them. I have never read a book about women either in the past or in another country that did not make me grateful to be an American born during my own time. This book does the same. The book is well written and researched, but because of the anger I felt when I read it, it was a hard book to read and found myself not really wanting to read it because of that. I am not sure how to rate this book. It is good, but not pleasing to read. You will have to see for yourself. I receive this book in exchange for my review from Tyndale House Publishers.
This is the second book in the Ellis Island collection by Cindy Thomson. It can be read as a stand-alone novel. Set in New York during the early 1900's, the book tells the story of Annie Gallagher, an Irish immigrant who has come to America to begin a new life.
Annie has terrible memories of her life in Ireland. All was well in her life until her father died. After his death, Annie lived with an uncle who sent her to the Magdalene Laundry, a horrible prison-like institution for unwanted girls. The primary reason she was sent away was because her cousin made false accusations against her. When Annie is finally rescued from the laundry, she arrives in America with only her father's writing desk and the treasured stories he wrote during his lifetime. Annie feels alone and abandoned by God.
Annie moves to a boardinghouse run by Mrs. Hawkins. She is a kind woman and treats Annie well. Still, Annie feels that nobody truly cares about her and she dreams of moving on and opening her own library one day. When Annie's cousin arrives from Ireland, she moves into Mrs. Hawkins' house and Annie is faced with old memories from her past. Memories she wishes to forget. She can never forgive her cousin for the misery she caused Annie back in Ireland. Where can Annie turn for love and support? She has friends, but longs for a deeper relationship.
Stephen Adams is a postal carrier who delivers mail to Mrs. Hawkins' house. He is quite attracted to Annie, but is also quite shy. Stephen loves books, as does Annie, and that seems to be the way Stephen can get closer to Annie. Stephen longs for a family, but he is deep in debt and has nothing to offer a woman. He also has issues from his past which he struggles to rise above. Annie and Stephen are both reading "The Wizard of Oz" which is very popular at that time. They enjoy discussing the book with each other. However, Stephen still has a difficult time winning Annie's affection.
While Annie is trying to rebuild her life, the boardinghouse is suddenly being investigated due to the behavior of another boarder. If Mrs. Hawkins' house is shut down, what will become of Annie? Will she realize the dream of having her own library? Circumstances seem to forever defeat Annie. Her father's stories seem to be the only things left to Annie. Could they be the key to fulfilling Annie's dreams? How can she overcome her troubles? Will she finally turn to God and find the hope and peace she seeks?
"Annie's Stories" is a book filled with history, mystery, and suspense. It is also a story about second chances and forgiveness. I enjoyed it very much!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.
What a wonderful story! This book is proceeded by Graces Pictures but stands alone as well. It has mystery, romance and history all in one book. Annie is a new immigrant to the United States and has been hired as housekeeper at a boarding house. Mrs. Hawkins, the owner, treats her as a daughter. But will the Pinkerton detectives shut the house down for the supposed illicit activities of one of the boarders? And what secret is Mrs. Hawkins keeping? Annies stories are the stories her dead dad has left her and pose quite a problem for Annie should she seek to get them published or keep them for herself? After all, with the publishing of The Wizard of Oz , which everyone seems to be reading, there is a demand for childrens stories. But Annie is not the only one with a dilemma Andrew, the mailman, does not seem to ever be able to pay his debts. But both learn to listen to Gods still voice and learn from their mistakes. It was also very enlightening to learn about times that morality seemed so very high, yet so many abuses occurred by people who ought to be trusted, with the truth then kept very quiet. Very good book and I really enjoyed it.