Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
“You always told me I was smart, important and able. I’ve been able to do much more in America that I ever imagined I could. You’re right, I did not cause this.” Grace confides to her mother in Cindy Thompson’s Ellis Island novel, Grace’s Pictures.
In this three hundred and eighty-nine page paperback book, the author hones in on the massive influx of immigrants living in New York in the early nineteen hundreds through a series about what happens to them after going through Ellis Island. Concentrating on the Irish migrants, the story is targeted toward those interested in those finding a new way of life in America during the turn of the century with a Christian undercurrent. With no profanity or any sex scenes, one learns about the oppression of newcomers, the roughness of gangsters, the individual struggles and heartbreaks of relationships and the trust in God. This reader wishes all pronouns related to Deity were capitalized for reverence.
After spending a rough childhood at the workhouse in Ireland, eighteen year old Grace is sent by her recently remarried mother to start a new life in America. When the young, naïve girl enters Ellis Island, she is captivated by a man taking a photograph of her, wishing someday, somehow, she can take her own printed images too. In the care of an Irish reverend, she lives at the Hawkins House, a respite for single women, and she secures a housekeeping job with the nearby Parker family.
With Mr. Parker’s own similar despondent upbringing, pregnant Mrs. Parker’s aloofness to her children and three wee ones to care for, Grace feels just as inferior, inadequate, and unimportant as those that surround her until she purchases her own Eastman Kodak Brownie camera, that states even a child can use.
With camera in hand at Battery Park, she is mistakenly assumed photographing Goo Goo Knox, a kingpin drug dealing gangster. With her past childhood fears of the police, Grace has nowhere to turn until cop Owen McNulty’s beat keeps crossing paths with her as he and his partner try to take the infamous thug and his gang down.
With a slow storyline of Grace’s insecurities at every turn involving the Parker family and Owen’s questioning his lot in life, the reader keeps expecting something on the next page but it only materializes at the very end, with plenty of opportunity for a second book.
Follow Here To Purchase Grace's Pictures (Ellis Island)