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Reviewed by Patsy Glans for Readers' Favorite
In Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson, Annie Gallagher only has the stories her father told her when they were together. Now he is gone and she is at the mercy of her uncle. She does not like the way he looks at her, it gives her the shivers. When her cousin spouts a lie about Annie, she finds herself in a laundry house, a place for women and children who have no money, no family. It is an awful place, with no warmth from either the building or those in charge. Annie finds herself befriended by a kind doctor, and somehow he gets her out of Ireland. Now she is living at a boarding house with very kind people in New York. Annie is determined to create a library honoring her father and all his unpublished stories, but she does not know who to trust. Everyone seems to think these stories have a grand secret which will make whoever publishes them very rich. Some will try to take advantage of Annie and what she has; some will help her with her endeavor without asking for anything in return. Will Annie's dream of honoring her father become reality so that everyone will enjoy the stories he wrote or will Annie keep them close to her heart for her eyes only?
Annie's Stories, an Ellis Island novel by Cindy Thomson, is a tale of finding your path on your terms, and learning to trust and forgive. Because Annie had been betrayed by family in Ireland, she was determined to make decisions on her own. The mailman character started out looking out for himself, he needed money to pay off his debt. However, he did redeem himself to me with his change of heart when he started helping Annie with her quest. The story takes place in New York in 1901, when the book The Wizard of Oz came out. This made the publishing industry go wild and everyone wanted a piece of the pie. They would do anything to make themselves rich and famous, regardless of who they had to step over to achieve it. At this time, many thousand of immigrants came here through Ellis Island. The treatment they received while waiting to be processed was harsh, and they were detained for weeks, sometimes months. If they were lucky enough to have someone who could vouch for them, their time on Ellis Island was brief. I loved the realistic characters and the historical details. For me, the main theme of this excellently researched and well written book is: everyone hopes their dreams will come true somewhere over the rainbow.