Essie lives a hardscrabble life with her widowed mother and younger siblings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s. The grim specter of poverty always hovers, yet Essie's spirit, her talent for creating beautiful hats, and her bountiful love for her little sister Zelda help to imbue their lives with joy and positive energy. As chapters alternate between earlier and later settings, we follow Essie to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. The plot buildsand so does a gradual awareness of cracks in Essie's grasp of reality. She is in denial about an accident that has taken Zelda's life, and she pursues a friendship with the mysterious Harriet Abbott, who shows up to work at the Triangle but does not seem at all like a typical working girl. Davies weaves two historic eventsthe disappearance of a wealthy heiress escaping family scandal and the catastrophic Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, graphically depictedinto a lively tale of striving, unspeakable loss, and an eventual life-affirming resolution.
Lostby Jacqueline Davies
Essie can tell from the moment she lays eyes on Harriet Abbott: this is a woman who has taken a wrong turn in life. Why else would an educated, well-dressed, clearly upper-crust girl end up in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory setting sleeves for six dollars a day? As the unlikely friendship between Essie and Harriet grows, so does the weight of the question hanging between them: Who is lost? And who will be found?
This is a powerful novel about friendship, loss, and the resiliency of the human spirit, set against the backdrop of the teeming crowds and scrappy landscape of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s.
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I was strolling down the aisles of the teen section at my library when I came across this book sitting on the shelf. It's cover caught my attention at once, the pink feathered hat hanging nicely on a wall. Interested to see what the book could be about, I read the inside flap and deemed it interesting enough to check out. I was at once absorbed into the incredible story of Essie Rosenfeld, a young Jewish girl living in the flats of 1911 New York City. The story was very powerful, emotional, and heartfelt. Jacqueline Davies intertwined history with Essie's story, which made the novel even more incredible. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history and emotionally uplifiting stories.
This book was amazing! I love it so much. It's so sad and exactly what I was looking for. I could reread it over and over...(already read it twice) I definitely recommend it. So touching! Definitely unforgettable.