“…inspiring and poignant historical fiction novel that will engage readers that are looking for an insightful, yet entertaining read.” 5/5 stars, Luxury Reading
“Gang violence, raucous carousing, sex, accidental pregnancy, and crime–not what most will expect from Victorian-era historical fiction. But that’s exactly what they’ll find in this tightly plotted novel…” – Booklist
“lends credence to the millions of historical and contemporary girls who dare to dream in the face of extraordinary challenges.” Kirkus Starred Review
NEW YORK, 1883: Gamblers and thieves, immigrants and street urchins, Do-Gooders and charity houses, impossible goals and impossible odds. The Bowery is a place where you own nothing but your dreams. And dreams are the only things that come cheap for pickpocket Mollie Flynn and prostitute Annabelle Lee.
Pleasure is fleeting – and often stolen. Nights at Lefty Malone’s saloon, sneaking into the Thalia Theatre. Then it’s back to their airless, windowless tenement room and the ongoing struggle to keep a roof over their heads and bread in their stomachs.
The Brooklyn Bridge is nearing completion, and things are changing in New York City. The two women fantasize of starting a new life across the East River. Nothing but a flight of fancy, perhaps, until wealthy Do-Gooder Emmeline DuPre, who has opened the Cherry Street Settlement House, steps into their lives with her books, typewriters, and promises of a way to earn a respectable living. Despite Mollie and Annabelle’s fascination with the woman and what she offers, is Emmeline helping or meddling?
Is it really possible to be anything other than a Bowery Girl? Mollie and Annabelle will have to decide exactly who they are, and what sort of women they want to be.
Author’s Note: To research 1883 Manhattan is to conjure ghosts, to dig through contemporary and historical accounts that sometimes exaggerate both rich and poor, both goodness and evil. The specifics in research, beyond dates and places and streets, came from studying the photographs of the time. To look for the dimness of the gaslights, the children playing in the street and blithely unaware of a dead horse laying ten feet away, the thick layer of grease on a tenement wall, a momentary smile. To walk, for a moment, with two young women who only wanted a bit of sunshine and a chance for something better.
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