Grace's Pictures is about a young Irish woman who immigrates to America. She arrives in New York City trying to fit in a busy city. She finds herself buying herself a Brownie camera. Which leads her to trouble.
I liked Grace's Pictures. I liked seeing what my Irish ancestors went through when they first come to their new American home. I love the historical value of the story. I found I really like the character of Grace. Such a strong young woman. I would give this book 4 and half stars.
Plot: The plot of this book was actually interesting. It had so much in it that I wasn't expecting. It had several dimensions to it that gave the story depth.
Characters: You really did get to see Grace transform throughout this story. From the little girl in Ireland to the confident woman in America, she literally transforms as you read this story.
Themes: The main theme in this book is trust. Grace had to learn how to trust the police even after her experiences as a child. She also had to learn how to trust God and that He would make a way for her.
Emotion: The characters themselves had a lot of emotion, however, it didn't really translate off the pages of the book.
Overall: I have to admit that I didn't think I was going to like this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. There were so many elements to it that it was enjoyable to read and it wasn't overly romantic and predictable. It was actually, quite unpredictable and kept me guessing the whole way through.
---I received this book for free from the publisher for this review.---
Cindy Thomson in her new book "Grace's Pictures" Book One in the Ellis Island series published by Tyndale House Publishers takes us into the life of Grace McCaffery.
From the back cover: "Listen to me," her mother had said. "I don't care what lies your father once spoke to you, darlin'. . . . Remember instead this: You are smart. You are important. You are able."
Grace McCaffery hopes the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader.
A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.
I admire all that came to America as immigrants. They gave up their homeland and came here to start over mostly not knowing anyone over here and never having been here before. They certainly had a spirit of adventure. Despite the fact that Grace is timid she is an immigrant and has that sense of adventure. We take pictures left and right now practically everywhere we go but back in the 1900Ã¢â¬Â²s taking pictures was an entirely new thing and not everyone wanted their picture taken. Grace takes a picture of a gang leader and, since this is the only picture ever taken of him, the gang wants to destroy it. Owen is the cop who wants to help Grace however she has a distrust of cops and wants nothing to do with him. "Grace's Pictures" is about friendship, love, betrayal, healing from past wounds and finding your place in the world. This is a fun read filled with adventure and romance. I do not recommend starting this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will not want to put it down. Ms. Thomson has given us an excellent beginning to this wonderful series and I am looking forward to the next one.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In her novel "Grace's Pictures," Cindy Thomson highlights the plight of the Irish immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century. As a young woman being sent to America to escape the workhouse in Ireland, Grace McCaffery has never known anything but poverty, and finding herself taken in by a charitable group is one of the best things to happen to her in her life. Thanks to the kind help of her landlady and a minister, Grace finds employment as a maid in a middle class household, earning a decent enough wage to afford one of the new Brownie cameras and film. However, while practicing with her camera, a gangster suspects her of having photographed his mobster boss, a man the police have yet to identify. After several suspicious - but innocent, on her part - encounters, Grace finds herself in increasing danger, and it is only with the help of Officer Owen McNulty, a rich man who has given up his wealth to keep the peace, that Grace has a chance of saving herself and those she cares for.
The widespread prejudice against the Irish, the horrible tenements for the thousands of immigrants, the corruption in the police force, the rampant crime - all these sad aspects of the early twentieth century are clearly depicted in the book. However, Thomson does a good job of balancing the bad with the good - charities that take in immigrants and help find them employment as they settle into a new country, police who are true to their calling and actively work to clean up the dangerous parts of town. While she does not paint a particularly rosy picture of New York City circa 1900, neither does she depict it as a place beyond redemption and hope.
To my surprise, there was relatively little romance to the novel, but it fit better this way. While some interest is quite evident, Thomson takes it slow and does not push Grace and Owen into a sudden relationship. Over the course of the book, Grace has to overcome her deep-seated fears of the police before she can look beyond Owen's uniform and see a person, and only after that would she be able to see a candidate for a romance, so I applaud Thomson for taking the more sensible and realistic route. There is sufficient excitement in the tale anyway to hold the reader's attention.
A major theme in the book is separating truth from lies. Grace spent her childhood with an abusive father who would have her believe she is incompetent and worthless - lies abounding from the evil one. However, her Mother impresses the truth that, "You are smart. You are important. You are able." Even if no one else cared - and a great many people prove they do - Grace truly is important to God, and he made her smart and able to perform any task laid before her. As Grace proves, it is a choice to be made daily which she will listen to: the lies or the truth. How often do we fall for similar lies? Half the time no one has to say them out loud - we just assume that "no, I'll never be able to do that," or "I'm not smart enough," and we let those lies keep us from trying in the first place; the truth is that God has equipped us in so many ways, and how will we know what we can do until we try?
Since this is the first book in the series, it is hard to say if Grace's story will continue, or if hers is done and another heroine will take the stage - the ending leaves potential for both, I feel. Not knowing a lot about immigration during that time, I found it an interesting read with a clever premise, and there is much to think about and apply. 4 out of 5 stars
Grace McCaffery is an Irish immigrant in 1900 New York City. She was unexpectedly sent to America from the Irish workhouse by her mother's new policeman husband. She mistrusts policeman and worries about if she can make it on her own. She finds lots of friendly, Christian people who genuinely want to help her succeed in her new life in America and she isn't sure how to deal with that.
Grace McCaffery is a wonderful, complete character that I immediately fell in love with. She has an interesting and sometimes dramatic journey in her faith and new life in America in this book. I really enjoyed this story. Cindy Thomson did a wonderful job setting the scene of immigrants in 1900 New York in Lower Manhattan. The details were wonderful and helped me feel as if I was there. I enjoyed reading this book and was able to sit and read it mostly in one day as I found myself desperately wanting to know what would happen next. This is the first book in a new Ellis Island series by Cindy Thomson and I eagerly await the next book in the series!