Buffalo Building of Dreams

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
227 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2021
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Author Biography

Fran has a passion for people and an enthusiasm for their personal histories. In this first novel, FRED: Buffalo Building of Dreams, she uses her storytelling skills to help FRED impart the compelling tales of the tenants and their families who called him their home for over more than a century. It is an imaginative and well-researched slice of history as told by a humble apartment building. FRED’s intimate observations reveal to him (and to us) what it means to be human.
With possible demolition looming, Fran’s goal was to tell the building’s tales before it was too late. Her promise to FRED has been achieved and it has been an extraordinary experience that changed her life forever. She has learned the importance of historical accuracy and the truths it can reveal.
The novel was honored to be selected for a first chapter professional reading on the Novel Writing Festival website (August 2020).
Fran is a retired director of a Buffalo, New York college career counseling center. Stemming from that experience, Fran has authored two well-received job search books, Getting Hired, Handbook for College Graduates and Getting Hired in any Job Market, and several related articles. Once again helping people to tell their stories.
Fran was the past Founder and Coordinator of an all volunteer Back on Track Career Peer Mentoring Program for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul of WNY from 2000-2017.
Fran Schmidt resides in the Western New York region.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

The stories of tenants who lived in a building located in Buffalo, New York for the past one hundred and twenty years come alive in Frances R. Schmidt’s heart-warming historical fiction novel, Fred: Buffalo Building of Dreams. The novel is told through Fred’s voice who explores Buffalo and America’s history via the experiences of its tenants. Fred is a commercial building completed in 1900. The tenants who make the building their home arrive in New York in the hope of finding freedom from political, economic, and religious oppression. To Abigail, the first owner of the building, and many other tenants to come, Fred is a representation of freedom, financial stability, and hope. Alienated by her family, Abigail pays for the construction of Fred where she lives happily with her partner and child.

The story includes multiple themes. It revisits the past and compares it to the present. Freedom is a predominant theme in the novel. Other themes include tragedy, romance, and resilience. The characters and their backgrounds are fascinating. Patricia and Kathleen Duffy are Irish twins committed to the suffrage movement. Russian Jews Samuel and David work hard to establish a life for their families in America and become activists in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America after experiencing heartbreaking loss, and Fred learns of the brutal treatment of African slaves through a tenant’s great-great-grandmother’s journals. The families also stand with and support each other through challenging times such as during the Great Depression and during different wars. Fred: Buffalo Building of Dreams by Frances R. Schmidt is a uniquely told, well-researched novel that recounts events in American history through the experiences of intriguing and brave characters.

M. Karpinski

This is a fascinating walk down Buffalo’s past. The characters are interesting, colorful and historic. The author has taken memorable moments that highlight the Queen City as seen through the eyes of an aging apartment building. It is an emotional read as you follow the lives of its tenants. Full of romance, intrigue, and heartfelt stories. As you read, you become familiar and attached to the residents. Telling the stories through the eyes of the building’s life is creative and imaginative. The building actually takes on a life of its own. Even if you've never been to Buffalo, you’ll feel as if you’ve lived here your whole life. It truly depicts the spirit of the “City of Good Neighbors.”