A few years ago I read a wonderful debut novel called When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt. I have been waiting since then for another novel from her and it’s here! Swimming in the Moon is another fantastic novel that transported me to another time and place. It’s a story of a mother and daughter immigrating to America and it is so vividly imagined with the history of the time period expertly woven throughout. Swimming in the Moon is a beautifully written story of love, loyalty, and the determination to have a better life.
Lucia is fourteen years old in 1905. She and her mother Teresa work as servants for a Countess in a villa on the Bay of Naples in Italy. However Lucia’s mother has always been a little off balance and can fly into rages at little provocation and ultimately this causes them to flee Italy and move to America. Luckily Paolo, the majordomo, has a soft spot for the women and he sends them to stay with his cousin Roseanne in the immigrant quarters of Cleveland.
In America Lucia must go to school and she thrives in this environment. Her one wish in life is to attend college and thankfully a kind donor comes forward and she is finally able to do that after high school. It isn’t long though before her mother falls apart once again and Lucia is called home to care for her. Her dreams of college are all but shattered. Thus begins a different kind of life for Lucia. One that is filled with unions demanding decent wages and better working conditions. She is passionate about this cause and the fight is not always easy landing her in trouble more than once but she keeps going. This life fulfills Lucia in ways she never imagined as do all the people she meets along the way just struggling to survive as she is.
This was such an interesting read from a historical point of view for me as I really enjoy immigrant stories. The novel brought alive the struggles of the immigrants and the horrific working conditions they had to endure. From the devastating factory fire in Cleveland to the atrocious medical treatments that existed in the early 1900’s this novel is one engrossing read that I could not put down!
Those so enjoy stories of immigrants coming to America are sure to enjoy Swimming in the Moon! It’s another winner from Pamela Schoenewaldt for me! Please pop by tomorrow as Pamela will be joining us with a great guest post and a giveaway of her novel!
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.