Synopsis (TLC Book Tours):
A tale rich in color, character, and vivid historical detail, it chronicles the tumultuous life journey of a young immigrant seamstress, as she travels from her isolated Italian mountain village through the dark corners of late nineteenth century America.
My heart goes pitter patter when I think of this book. So I guess it's pretty apt that my review posts on Valentine's Day then...love, hearts, endearment...that sort of stuff. My Valentine is this book. It's a treasure of love and if I could send the author a million Valentine's I would!!! O.K. so now after that little love fest I will proceed to try to put my thoughts down in a coherent fashion and explain to you why I absolutely adored this book.
- I loved reading the experience of being an immigrant through Irma's eyes. She's so young and naive, but she knows that there is nothing for her in the small mountain village where she lives. It takes so much strength and courage to pack all of your personal belongings, leave everything you know, and cross the Atlantic Ocean in search of a better future.
- Irma is too trusting and expects the best of people. It's heartbreaking to see how immigrants were taken advantage of when they were fresh off the boats. What I loved the most about her is the way she would pick herself back up, dust off her dress, and continue to live. She is dealt some unfair cards during her life in Chicago and I'm amazed at how resilient she came to be and that she actually allowed her heart to trust people again.
- The story came across so true and authentic. This was a very well researched piece of work and it shines through in the pages. I actually could envision those first images of America that Irma took and the nights when she was allowed to sit on the deck of the boat, I could hear the waves and taste the salt of the sea in the wind. I also felt that the author captured the melting pot of the various places that Irma lived. I could quite literally hear the accents, smell the people and their strange food cooking, and listen to them as they tried to acclimate and become an "American."
- I'm currently researching my own genealogy and while reading this story would often wonder if any of my relatives ever had the same experiences. It has further pushed me to continue on where I have hit dead ends...I would love to know the rest of their stories!
Rating: 5/5- loved it!!!
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Published: February 1, 2011Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Pages: 336Genre: Richly written Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780062003997*Uncorrected Advance Copy
Disclaimer:Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel
© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Wow, sounds like you loved this book!!! Isn't it fun to stumble upon a book that makes you feel that way?ReplyDelete
High praise. Can you imagine making a trip across the Atlantic to something so unknown?ReplyDelete
I think it is cool you are researching your own genealogy and wish you luck finding you family tree.
Happy Valentine's Day
Wowwwwwwwww! This sounds GOOD!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)ReplyDelete
Sounds like a wonderful novel, Staci. Great review!ReplyDelete
Wow, talk about high praise! Your enthusiasm for this book is contagious! I want to run out and buy it right now.ReplyDelete
Your review really makes me wish I had a copy of this one -- sounds fabulous. Nice job Staci.ReplyDelete
SOLD! I love your enthusiasm for this book.ReplyDelete
perfect post for Valentines Day, have a good day.ReplyDelete
Great review Staci. I'll keep my eye out for this one!ReplyDelete
If you loved it this much, I HAVE to read it. I have a hunch I will love Irma too. It's on my list.ReplyDelete
Oh no! I keep hearing good things about this book, but no I can't lust after books right now...I want to buy an e-reader ;)ReplyDelete
I loved your review "I could hear the waves and taste the salt of the sea in the wind". I loved that and I could just imagine it!ReplyDelete
Sold! Sounds like a book I would enjoy.ReplyDelete
Now THAT is what I call a glowing review! I'm thrilled that you were on this tour and that you enjoyed the book so much.ReplyDelete
Oh, this sounds really good!ReplyDelete
Aww your review makes me want to rush out and read this right now Staci. It sounds beautiful and it's going straight on my wishlist.ReplyDelete
I have to agree with Kathy, I want this book NOW! When authors put you right in the characters' shoes and you can feel, see, almost hear the surroundings, I love it! Excellent review, simply excellent.ReplyDelete
I absolutely agree! I loved this book as well. I'm sure glad I never had to immigrate to another country and especially with not being able to speak the language. This is just a beautiful book.ReplyDelete
Making the journey with Irma to write When We Were Strangers was long and sometimes difficult, sometimes thrilling and for sure there were many long nights, but to think of her story touching people is such a joy. And as many of you say, let's remember the incredible courage of all our people who came to new land!ReplyDelete
Love historical fiction and immigrant stories...plus if you love it this much I know I'm going to have to pick it up soon!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you loved this one - I will be ready for some lighter fare soon and will have to add this to my list. I picked up some dark/super serious books in Aus.ReplyDelete
It sounds like an amazing book, from the cover to the story. A different historical fiction from those I usually read. Added to the TBR list!ReplyDelete
I've added this book to my wishlist after reading wonderful reviews like yours Stacoi. I love to read historical fiction and books on immigrants so this is one for me.ReplyDelete
I could not agree more with you. We think so alike. So glad you loved this one like me :)ReplyDelete
I am just finishing this now and LOVE it! I love immigrant stories (and am hosting a challenge focusing on them) so this was just perfect for me!ReplyDelete
There will be a guest post of my blog on Monday from the author on the topic of immigration.
I have this is on TBR list and am extra excited to get to it now. It's wonderful when a book can bring so much joy!ReplyDelete