Author: BJ Hoff
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2646-1

Click Here To Purchase American Anthem

What is the American dream?  To many of us it represents wealth and comfort, but in the 1870’s, it often meant simply having food for the children and a good roof over the whole family’s head.  This book, American Anthem, is actually three books in one.  The books tell about the lives of three immigrant families, how they lived, and how they finally meet up together and help each other achieve the American dream.

Susanna Fallon is an Irish girl who is coming to America with a mission.  Her much elder sister died in unusual circumstances as the wife of a wealthy Italian immigrant conductor.  Her sister had desperately reached out to the younger Susanna, telling about the misery of her life under Michael Emmanuel’s roof.  Filled with righteous anger, she accepts Emmanuel’s offer to come live with him and the motherless daughter her sister, Deidre, left behind.  She arrives into what appears to be a loving home, grieving for her sister but unwilling to share details of Deidre’s death.

Andrew Carmichael is a doctor from Scotland who practices in New York.  Thought he could have treated only society’s elite, he chooses instead to tend to the poorest of New York’s poor, most of who were immigrants.  When he is about his work, he finds another person in need.  Bethany Cole is a talented female doctor in a time when ‘lady docs’ were not respected and Carmichael takes her on as partner, then begins to love her as well.  Suddenly, an old secret is reveled and threatens to destroy all Carmichael has achieved.

The Macgovern family are ready to leave Ireland in search of a new life in America.  Parents Conn and Vangie are determined that their children Aidan, Nell Grace, twins James and John, and Emma will have the chances they never had living in poverty in Ireland.  It is only at the last moment that an adult Aidan refuses to come and they are saddled with a street waif, Renny Magee, instead.

They soon find that the streets of America are not paved with gold.  They struggle to survive in a hovel on a few cents a day as Conn desperately searches for a job.  It would take a chance encounter to change their situation.

American Anthem gives a vivid portrayal of life in America in this time period, both luxurious and horrid.  Michael Emmanual’s family lives in splendor outside the city due to his God-given gift of music, but they are compelled to help those without.  It is in the storylines of Carmichael and the Macgovern’s that the reader experiences the horror of old New York.  Off the fancy streets of the well-to-do, there was nothing but dirt, disease, and despair.  Here immigrants suffered and died, shivering in shacks where parents had to watch their children to starve to death. 

This book shows how much the people of today own to their hardworking ancestors.  With blood, sweat, and tears, these people built the American we live in today.  It also reminds us that while much has changed, we still have poverty and suffering in our country and we must work as hard as our ancestors to better the country for the sake of us all.

             Click Here To Purchase American Anthem