I very much enjoyed reading about the Kodak Brownie box camera, and the life of Irish immigrants in 1900-1901. I felt that the discussions of Tammany Hall and its influence could have been better explained. I'll be looking that up. The historical descriptions and the surroundings were very well written, but the characterizations seemed incomplete. It was slow-moving at times, and repetitive. I kept hoping for more in-depth description of Grace's feelings. I did enjoy it, overall. I added a star for a clean story, with intrigue that is resolved at the end. It's great for a light read.
Grace is an immigrant from Ireland who passes through Ellis Island in 1900. A poor young woman with no one to vouch for her in a big city, Grace is in constant peril of succumbing to the city's underside until she meets a young police officer on a mission to keep his beat safe for decent citizens, including Grace.
This book felt long. It dragged. It kept going and going. The plot suffers drastically from a lack of contrast between the emotional highs and lows of the story. Grace is starving, homeless, country-less. She's just escaped the clutches of the evil English work house, only to find herself working for a woman who is emotionally troubled. Her one outlet, a brownie camera, keeps getting her in trouble with gangs. What ought to have been a heart-rending emotional journey of self discovery was less than a series of vignettes featuring immigrant life in turn of the century New York.
Similarly, the police officer who is Grace's potential romantic interest and the other main character suffers equally from poor writing. Yes, I understood what he was supposed to be: a young man of courage and conviction who is willing to turn his back on everything he's ever known as a member of the upperclass to help make life better for others. But again, the writing is so flat, I had trouble believing he actually had the chutzpah to do what was needed to defeat the villains.
Other than that, this book was fairly non-objectionable. Any repercussions from discussing abandonment, child abuse, the affect of an emotionally unstable parent, the drug trade burgeoning at that time in NYC, dirty cops, beatings, harassment, death threats, etc. are practically mitigated by the monotone narration.
This book fails solely to poor execution. I have read other books with similar plots and themes which I enjoyed, and wouldn't mind reading again. But this novel fails to fill its niche. There just wasn't enough emotional content for me to buy into.
Grace McCaffrey leaves Ireland for Ellis Island (early 1900s), and her life changes in ways she could've had no way of expecting. She is there as a nanny and hopes to raise money to help bring her mother to America, but taking a picture with her novel contraption (a camera) puts her in harms way with a gang.
I enjoyed reading Grace's Pictures. The storyline has a nice mixture of history, mystery, and romance. I loved the characters, and their plights were believable. Grace and Owen are easy to relate to and the scenes are so clear that I feel like I've been there.
I almost always enjoy stories of the immigrant/NYC -type, and this story by Cindy Thomson, a new author to me, was no exception.
Newly-arrived Grace, from Ireland, must find her way in this new country, fighting her fears and beliefs that she is a failure. When she sees an opportunity to buy a $1 Brownie camera and prove that she is good at something, Grace inadvertently winds up in more trouble than she ever thought possible.
Everyone has a camera nowadays and being an amateur photographer myself, I thought the story was unique and different from most immigrant stories, weaving in the history of photography and the ensuing issues of privacy.
I thought Grace's Pictures was an enjoyable, light read. I liked Cindy's style and would read another book by her!
*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine.*
"Grace's Pictures" is an Ellis Island Novel written by Cindy Thomson and it is a book that will inspire you and transport you to the bustling streets of New York City in the early 1900's. Grace is trying to find a way to earn money in order to bring her mother to America from Ireland. However, things do not go as planned and Grace is not sure whom to trust and put her faith in. Grace's camera may be a tool that could help and yet also harm her as Grace has a run-in with a gang. This book is an exciting and also touching read that immediately drew me into the story and also in Grace's life and world. The cover is beautiful on this book and sparked my interest before even reading what the book was about. The author writes in such a style that holds the reader's attention, and the writing is filled with vivid imagery and historical details. I am looking forward to reading more in these series!