Monday, September 8, 2008

Ashes of Roses
By Mary Jane Auch
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th graders

As Margaret Rose's boat arrives at Ellis Island from Ireland, she feels ready for a new beginning and a new name. Calling herself Rose, she and her family arrive to make a new life in America, the land where the streets are paved in gold. But when officials discover her brother has a eye infection, Da must return to Ireland with him leaving Rose, her sisters and mother to fend for themselves. They hope to find a home with their Uncle Patrick but his new wife and her daughters are not welcoming. In frustration, Ma declares they will leave America and go back to Ireland. Rose and her sister Maureen escape at the last minute, determined to try to make a life of their own in this country of opportunity.

Life begins to show promise as Rose and Maureen accept jobs at the Triangle Waist Company, sewing shirts together for fashionable ladies. With Rose's paycheck, the girls go to their first movie, enjoy cheap novels about working girls, and dream of buying one of the shirts they make. But one Saturday, as work finishes, fire breaks out in the factory on the 8th floor. Trapped inside, Rose attempts to flee, forgetting about Maureen until it is too late. Will Maureen survive? Will Rose be able to rebuild her life after tragedy?

The horror of the fire at the Triangle Waist Factory that took place on Saturday, March 25, 1911 is the basis for this gripping novel. Readers will find that the action never stops, with one page-turning event after another. The characters are all believable; you'll come to love many, dislike a few, and find your heart breaking as some of your favorites face the fire. If you like historical fiction, try 'Ashes of Roses' by Mary Jane Auch. It will make you think about what's most important to you.

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