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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Lara’s Story is a work of young adult historical fiction and drama, written by author Diane Merrill Wigginton. In a story set initially in the beautiful landscape of Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century, we first met our heroine Lara Flannigan when she is a young child surrounded by a loving family. But when tragedy strikes and Lara finds herself alone, a childless American couple rescues the girl and takes her back to the big city of Philadelphia. Here, Lara must forget her brash roots and try to grow and fit in with the high society of America’s finest, posing as the couple’s new daughter. But it’s hard to let go of the past when it won’t let go of her.
This was a gripping and emotional journey from start to finish, and Diane Merrill Wigginton really knows how to tap into her audience’s hearts. Lara’s Story is a superb novel of class divides, fitting in and self discovery from any angle at all, but what really adds the cherry on top is the vivid and engaging period of history in which it is set. Philadelphia in 1840 is a fabulous world of high society and appearances being put first, very far from the life Lara and most ordinary people of the time would know. Lara’s sense of being an outcast and keeping secrets is highly empathetic and makes her a great heroine to follow as she tries to navigate her own identity within this strange and beautiful new world. Overall, Lara’s Story is a highly recommended read.